TLR #5

So I don’t suppose looking at things like Homestuck counts as having made progress for a Technical Learning Report, does it? It’s the thing Addison mentioned when we first started the Interactive Fiction group, and while I can understand what he meant when he said that Homestuck is an example of interactive fiction, I doubt this is what we will end up trying to go for, at least I hope this isn’t what we are trying to achieve.

The interactive fiction idea we are going for seems more inline with the wikis that are made for basically every fandom in existence. I’ve been looking at wikis of things that are familiar to me such as Star Wars or Game of Thrones and it looks like every detail, major and minor, of these things gets recorded on these wikis and while you can change it at any time, if the information is inaccurate, someone else on the website is quick to come in and fix it. I mention all this as the idea that Addison and the rest of us discussed for interactive fiction is to create a wiki for a fictional world and  move backwards from there, so I just wanted to see and experiment a little with previously established wikis.

As for the coding which I have been doing this semester, I have been going over both HTML and CSS off and on over the past few weeks just to make sure I don’t forget everything I got out of going over them the first time (It’s only been a few years and I remember next to nothing about coding with C++). I think I’ll be establishing a consistent schedule to use both HTML and CSS once the semester is over, as I think that knowing both could be very useful in the future and one the semester is over I will have much more time to do with them as I wish. I mentioned in my last TLR that I had also started trying to learn Java just to add to a potential coding arsenal (I wish). Since my last TLR, while I have gone over some more Java related tutorials, I have not done as much with it as I had previously intended to. Due to the work over the past couple weeks, both in and out of school, my progress on Java has been very slow. Like with HTML and CSS, however, I intend to spend more time learning Java once the semester is over and I have a chance to breathe. The way that we are planning out the Interactive Fiction group project at the moment, it looks like I won’t need to use a lot of coding for that, at least not advanced coding. Even so, I would like to continue learning and practicing with these coding languages even after this class is finished. Though I had briefly considered trying to learn Python before this class had ended, the way it stands now it would probably be best to save that for much later.

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Stephen Kelley TLR #4

Well it took me long enough, but I think I’m finally done with HTML and CSS, at least for now. It seems silly that I’ve stuck with only the two of them for so long, but I’m not exactly a computer person and I wanted to try and get those down as much as possible before moving on to something else. Either way, I went through the advanced tutorials for both HTML and CSS numerous times and while I don’t think I am exactly adept at either of them, I think I have learned quite a bit. I am hoping that what I have learned sticks with me, but just in case I’ll probably still practice with both codes a bit in my off time. I messed around with both of them enough to know that I am really not a fan of CSS and HTML is only better because it seems like it matters a bit more where it counts. I keep thinking back to learning C++ and I think that learning HTML has been a better experience over all than that has been, but CSS is still a mixed bag.

So with HTML and CSS finally (more or less) behind me, I decided to look into another programming language to try and learn. I decided to go with Java since that seems to be a fairly popular code to use. What the ultimate difference is on when you use one over the other I’m still not 100% sure, but I’m getting the gist. I briefly considered choosing Python over Java, but I know enough people who have taken the time out to learn Python to know that if I am going to learn it, I should probably save it for later.

So I started on the Java tutorials that I found online. My first impression: it feels like learning HTML all over again. In short, while I am getting the general feel for it, it’s still too unfamiliar for me to just jump right into. My first instinct when dealing with any kind of code nowadays is to think of it like it is HTML, which might be why my progress in CSS was so slow. In Java however, I feel like I need to just completely start from the beginning on my learning experience. I am looking at it with (sort of) a clean slate mindset and while I’m still not getting it as quickly as with HTML, I am messing around with Java and going through the basic tutorials enough that I think I will be able to make some progress on it pretty soon. If I keep up actually practicing with it and move on to the advanced tutorials faster than I did with HTML while keeping myself in the code more than a couple times a week then I think I’ll be able to make enough progress on Java to move onto something else by the end of the semester. A part of me still kind of hopes I’ll be able to learn Python for whatever reason, but I’m going to get through this first.

TLR #3

So I admit that going over the various tutorials has not been as frequent lately as it should have been. Basically, while I went over all of the tutorials that I mentioned in my previous Technical Learning Report and progressed to the advanced HTML tutorials which I had planned to talk about in my next report, I did not keep the practice and reading of those tutorials as consistent as I should have. I have spent the past couple days trying to catch up on the tutorials that I should have maintained a more consistent schedule with, but what’s done is done. At least I’m not giving up on it.

For the past few days I have been looking over the advanced HTML tutorials a second time and I realized that even the second time around I am having trouble understanding everything that I am supposed to be learning. I have gone back to the intermediate HTML tutorials a couple times in order to get reacquainted with the material that I learned weeks ago. It is taking some trial and error, as well as a lot of jumping back and forth between the intermediate pages and the advanced pages, but I think I am getting the hang of the coding of HTML if little by little. On the downside of things my computer has not been exactly cooperative lately, so when I try to toy around with HTML and something doesn’t work the way it should I honestly can’t tell if it’s because I did something wrong or if my computer just decided that it had had enough for the day. Either way, I am gradually learning HTML better and with the tutorials mostly done I’ll probably be spending a lot of my time experimenting with the code itself while using the HTML tutorial pages as a reference for when I want to try something new.

On the other side of things, CSS hasn’t made as much progress as I wanted to by now. Since I have been spending the past couple days catching up on HTML, CSS has kind of been left by the wayside. I have gone over the advanced tutorials for CSS, though in my experience with the code already I need to practice with it more than read the instruction pages. I have gone over both the advanced and intermediate tutorials on CSS again and I will probably need more time to actually figure out what they are talking about and how the code is actually supposed to work. While I have looked over the intermediate tutorials more than once and am getting familiarized with them again, the advanced tutorials are still a bit alien to me and to make matters worse I haven’t had the chance to experiment with the code that the tutorials talk about as much lately as I would like to.

HTML is coming along, slowly but surely, which is more than I can say for CSS. While I slacked off a bit with HTML, I am getting back into it and improving and will do so more with more practice and experimentation with the code. CSS on the other hand is going to take a while for me to get used to it.

TLR #2

My progress on learning HTML is, I guess, going slow. I’ve never been much for programming, I said that in my last TLR, and it hasn’t changed in the past week. I have been going over the tutorials for both HTML and CSS and while I am learning gradually, I find myself frequently going back to the tutorials in order to remind myself of something I have not completely grasped. Just like in my high school learning experience with C++, though I know the basics for HTML I find myself not always remembering what does what and when it should be used. Sure, I’m getting it slowly, but while I mess around with the tutorials and their suggestions it is proving to be irritating and probably something I’m not going to master anytime soon.

I have been looking at the tutorials provided on the ENGL 435 page to learn how to use HTML. I have been looking at the tutorials a couple times a week and trying to work with their suggestions on practicing, but my own inexperience with technology makes it difficult for me to always understand what it is that I am supposed to be doing. After the past week I have realized that I need to go over the tutorials one or two more times a week than I have been doing.

I have been focusing more on the HTML tutorials than anything, but I have also looked at the CSS tutorials since the two seem to go hand in hand. In my last Technical Learning Report I said that while HTML was being something of a pain to learn, I was getting it, gradually. I also said that CSS was being much more of a pain as it seemed more complicated. Over the past week little has changed. HTML is still an easier code to learn, at least for me, than CSS. Perhaps it is because I can grasp the content coding of HTML better than the presentation of CSS or maybe I just have not been looking at the tutorials enough. I admit that I have looked at, read, and practiced with the HTML materials than I have with the CSS ones, but still it feels like CSS is coming along much slower than it should. I am convinced that while I need to go over HTML more to look at the increasingly advanced material in the tutorials, with CSS I need to practice even more just to get to the point I am at now of grasping HTML. Again, I am still not sure just how much CSS should be learned in comparison to learning HTML, perhaps I shouldn’t bother with CSS as much as I am, but it seems that the two go hand in hand enough that I really should learn both at the same time as it would probably be more useful in the long run.

Overall, again, I am learning the codes bit by bit, it is simply taking longer than I wish it were. I will go over the tutorials further over the next week and see where I am by the time I make my next TLR.

TLR #1 Stephen Kelley

To put it simply, my experience with any sort of coding is kind of laughable. I’ve never been friendly with computers and my use of technology tends to be less than my peers. I’ve gotten multiple computers to crash and never start again and to this day I don’t know entirely how and my use of computers nowadays tends to be limited to my phone or using a library computer if I need to work on something, so understandably the concept of learning a kind of coding is a bit intimidating to me.

I took a year of C++ when I was in high school I think just because I thought it might be good to know. That and this was back during the days when I thought making video games might be a potential career for me to look into. My experience with C++ was an overall positive if forgettable one. I learned quite a bit and wasn’t bad at it, but I wasn’t good or interested enough to keep at it after that year ended.

During college I have often acknowledged that learning coding like HTML or Java would be very useful, but I have resisted until now. If I ever needed to do something involving HTML I would ask my roommate for help. However, now it looks as though there is no escape. I will have to learn HTML.

Ok, so it’s not that bad. I’ve been looking at the tutorials provided on the ENG435 page and it seems fairly simple so far. I’ve been messing around with HTML as I progress through the tutorial. I still need to play with it a bit more, but it seems much more simple than I first thought it would be. To go hand in hand with HTML, I’ve been looking at CSS as well. This seems a bit more difficult for me to grasp, though that could just be because I’ve spent more of my time so far messing with HTML. I’ve spent a bit of time looking around with CSS and I think with a bit more time I can get a better grasp of it.

I’m about to move onto the Intermediate tutorials for HTML and I’ll be going through those while reviewing the starting CSS ones. I’m not really sure what to expect, though it HTML and CSS are anything like C++, then I’m looking forward to things getting much, much more complex. With C++ I often would find my codes circling into infinite loops. I’m kind of hoping to not have to deal with that again in HTML, but who knows? For all I know I could send these new codes into infinite loops while thinking they are perfect.

Well, maybe it won’t be that bad. Like I said, I’ve gotten a few tutorials in and things are looking up a bit so far and I’m hoping to see them stay that way. I’ll be looking more into these tutorials for both HTML and CSS and hoping to gain a much better grasp of both codes in the next few weeks!