By Jove, I think I’ve got it! or, “Learning is fun.”

You know those “Aha!” moments? I am so thankful for them.

As some of you know, I began my blogging journey 2 years ago, when I started studying IT, web design and programming, and I wanted to understand wordpress.com vs wordpress.org vs a plain old HTML/CSS site I built and FTPed to a hosting server … so, naturally, to study wordpress.com, I started this blog.

In the beginning, my knowledge of the internet and web design was sparse. Non-existently sparse.

Even 6 months beforehand, I hadn’t even known what HTML was, let alone how a website worked. I began by teaching myself HTML, CSS, and the rudiments of Javascript/JQuery.

(One of my first-ever posts was about the difficulty of JQuery, full of determination to succeed). Through school those skills were reinforced, and Python and Java were added to the mix. On my own I dabbled in Ruby.

However, and this is important, I didn’t actually know how different programming languages tied-in with websites. I mean, client-side languages / code I got … your browser ‘reads’ the HTML and CSS and says “Oh, the page needs to look like this” and then ‘reads’ the JavaScript to further say “And needs to respond in such a such a way to your actions.” But server-side, what did that even mean, beyond “it happens on the server that holds the page’s code”?

And then when people would say “Oh, Amazon uses Python” or whatever … I didn’t get how a website, which used HTML and CSS, could ‘use’ something like Python, with which I could make a blackjack game, or a program to solve math problems, but a website? What?

However, in my quest to keep learning more, and to better be able to customize WordPress.org sites, I recently started learning php. I ordered a book from Amazon (thank you 2-day prime), but I’m too impatient. when I want to start learning, to wait 2 days to begin. So I also downloaded a $2.99 php intro book for my kindle. Well, two.

The first was terrible (thank you purchased reviews!) and had no meaningful organization. The second, however, has proven quite good. (Very very simple, but a good basic start.)

That second book, plus a few google searches to look up and understand terms better, led me to a site that talks about web frameworks. This site explained how programming languages are used within a framework to make a site which displays HTML and CSS adaptable via programming.

So finally I have this understanding – the programming allows the site to dynamically respond to users by telling the HTML and CSS how to change based on various user actions. Exactly the sort of thing that programming is designed to do. And I realized that, while the site I mentioned was written from the point of view of a Python programmer, the same would apply to php, or in fact any language which can have methods designed to respond to events.

And suddenly the use of programming languages to direct, not blackjack hands or calculus problems, but user interactions with HTML and CSS, makes a lot more sense. Does it make complete sense? Well, to someone certainly, but that someone isn’t me.

No, I still don’t understand, for instance, how the site pages on the server change and adapt, say, to multiple users simultaneously, or even what a fully fleshed-out page would look like in some constant state of flux.

But that’s ok. I don’t have to know everything right now. For now, I’m just happy to know something I didn’t know yesterday. Tomorrow, I’ll know something else. How terrible would it be to run out of things to learn?

By the way, if any of my readers can give me any insight in short-snippet-summary form that corrects any of my revelations or assumptions, or adds a bit more insight to the mix, I would be greatly appreciative. I’d always rather be told I was off-track, and then put on track, then happily travel along in the wrong direction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s