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RobDoyle

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I've just installed VSC as I want to get used to a high level editor. Could anybody please suggest the best extensions for HTML,CSS and JavaScript such as auto closing etc?

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The packages I use are:

Auto close tag
Bookmarks
Bracket Pair Colourizer
Git History
Intellisense for CSS class names
Path Intellisense
NPM Intellisense
SCSS Intellisense
Prettier
Quokka.js
Vsc-tasks

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3 hours ago, Jack said:

The packages I use are:

Auto close tag
Bookmarks
Bracket Pair Colourizer
Git History
Intellisense for CSS class names
Path Intellisense
NPM Intellisense
SCSS Intellisense
Prettier
Quokka.js
Vsc-tasks

Thanks. Do you use a HTML live preview extension? That was the one thing I liked about brackets. VSC does seem excellent.

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15 minutes ago, RobDoyle said:

Thanks. Do you use a HTML live preview extension? That was the one thing I liked about brackets. VSC does seem excellent.

Nah, we use Gulp on our older projects, which uses Browser Sync, and on newer projects we have a Webpack config that does all of that, so I have no need for something build into the editor.

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47 minutes ago, Jack said:

Nah, we use Gulp on our older projects, which uses Browser Sync, and on newer projects we have a Webpack config that does all of that, so I have no need for something build into the editor.

Ahh ok. I'm still trying to figure it out

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This is the module that we have hooked up to Gulp at work https://www.browsersync.io, but I wouldn't recommend trying to configure build tools if you're just starting out, it's often frustrating, and you'll need Javascript experience. Nowadays we use Webpack to handle everything that Gulp used to, as well as some other bits like Hot Module Replacement, and I'd say it's significantly more reliable and faster.

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9 hours ago, RobDoyle said:

Ahh ok. I'm still trying to figure it out

You're at the beginning in terms of your journey to becoming a web developer.  The course on Treehouse, I am sure will go into build tools eventually but they all require some knowledge of JavaScript so for now just manually refresh the browser to receive your changes.

Just be patient and once you know JavaScript fairly well then that will open up possibilities around tooling and automating processes, tasks etc.

I also wouldn't focus too much on plugins and so forth, I know many successful developers who barely use any.  Focus on the treehouse course and for VS Code learn the common keyboard shortcuts and tools you are going to make heavy use of.  Don't bother deep diving into things you might not need.  Being efficient in learning things that add immediate value is critical if you want to get job ready quickly.

Edited by rbrtsmith

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1 hour ago, rbrtsmith said:

You're at the beginning in terms of your journey to becoming a web developer.  The course on Treehouse, I am sure will go into build tools eventually but they all require some knowledge of JavaScript so for now just manually refresh the browser to receive your changes.

Just be patient and once you know JavaScript fairly well then that will open up possibilities around tooling and automating processes, tasks etc.

I also wouldn't focus too much on plugins and so forth, I know many successful developers who barely use any.  Focus on the treehouse course and for VS Code learn the common keyboard shortcuts and tools you are going to make heavy use of.  Don't bother deep diving into things you might not need.  Being efficient in learning things that add immediate value is critical if you want to get job ready quickly.

Thanks, Rob. I'll stick to using this simply with minimal plugins. I want to keep on track with the course. It is far better than brackets with the number of features. I certainly don't need complexity at this stage with tools.

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I agree with what @rbrtsmith said above. Focus on the fundamentals for now.

One thing that is worth your time right from the outset is getting used to keyboard shortcuts. Try to get used to navigating around without using a mouse if you can. Just do a little bit at a time though, and primarily focus on the learning the underlying technology (HTML, CSS, JS).

I'd just learn one or two shortcuts per day to get used to the rhythm. Start with learning the command for "quick open", which on a mac is cmd + p. 

You can open any file in your project by doing cmd + p and then start typing the filename. This is very useful when you have a lot of open files. You also don't have to type the filename in exactly, as the search is quite clever, so for example if the file was called 'calculate-financial-report.js`, you could type 'calfr', and it would match the 'cal' from 'calculate', 'f' from financial and 'r' from reports. Very useful in large projects.

Also in the same dialog box, if you type '>' you get a whole list of really useful commands that you can search in a similar way. So if you want to go to the page that lists common short cuts, do cmd + p, type '>' then start typing "help keyboard shortcuts". Press enter and that will take you to a list of common short cuts. Try learning one or two a day.

If you just start with cmd + p for opening files and cmd + p ">" for running commands, that'll start you on your way.

I also agree with the advice to just refresh the browser for now. Forget about live preview in the editor - most editors that have this feature render badly anyway. Get used to testing your designs in a real browser (use Chrome for now). Just accept that you'll be refreshing a real browser for a while. When you're more comfortable, you can then start looking at build tools, but don't do this for now as there's a learning curve for these in their own right.


For now just keep it nice and simple and focus on learning the stuff that really matters.

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For those of us that are using a load of automated build tools we still use the browser to visually see and interact with our work.  We have setups that auto-refresh the browser with our changes, and in some cases something called hot module reload where the component we are working on gets updated without the page even refreshing...

However you are unlikely going to need to know much about these tools to land your first role as a junior dev.  I'm sure the Treehouse course will introduce you gently to them.

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22 hours ago, citypaul said:

I agree with what @rbrtsmith said above. Focus on the fundamentals for now.

One thing that is worth your time right from the outset is getting used to keyboard shortcuts. Try to get used to navigating around without using a mouse if you can. Just do a little bit at a time though, and primarily focus on the learning the underlying technology (HTML, CSS, JS).

I'd just learn one or two shortcuts per day to get used to the rhythm. Start with learning the command for "quick open", which on a mac is cmd + p. 

You can open any file in your project by doing cmd + p and then start typing the filename. This is very useful when you have a lot of open files. You also don't have to type the filename in exactly, as the search is quite clever, so for example if the file was called 'calculate-financial-report.js`, you could type 'calfr', and it would match the 'cal' from 'calculate', 'f' from financial and 'r' from reports. Very useful in large projects.

Also in the same dialog box, if you type '>' you get a whole list of really useful commands that you can search in a similar way. So if you want to go to the page that lists common short cuts, do cmd + p, type '>' then start typing "help keyboard shortcuts". Press enter and that will take you to a list of common short cuts. Try learning one or two a day.

If you just start with cmd + p for opening files and cmd + p ">" for running commands, that'll start you on your way.

I also agree with the advice to just refresh the browser for now. Forget about live preview in the editor - most editors that have this feature render badly anyway. Get used to testing your designs in a real browser (use Chrome for now). Just accept that you'll be refreshing a real browser for a while. When you're more comfortable, you can then start looking at build tools, but don't do this for now as there's a learning curve for these in their own right.


For now just keep it nice and simple and focus on learning the stuff that really matters.

Thank you. I will get used to keyboard shortcuts for sure. Thanks for reminding me that all this can be kept simple.

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One thing I am trying to do with VSC is to allow it to scyn settings and projects between my desktop and laptop. How would you suggest I best do this so I can keep continuity with workflow?. I'm thinking git but it's the last module on my treehouse course so maybe an extension.

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3 hours ago, RobDoyle said:

One thing I am trying to do with VSC is to allow it to scyn settings and projects between my desktop and laptop. How would you suggest I best do this so I can keep continuity with workflow?. I'm thinking git but it's the last module on my treehouse course so maybe an extension.

Git is definitely worth your time to learn. It's the industry standard means of version control (other options do exist, most notably subversion (sometimes referred to as "svn") and mercurial). The vast majority of places use Git. Git shouldn't be confused with Github as they are separate things.

There are some more advanced things you can do with Git, including branching and learning how to sync your work with other developers, but for just getting started, learn just the basics - just how to add files and commit. You can register for a free account with bitbucket and use them to host your files. 

Start here: https://www.atlassian.com/git/tutorials/what-is-version-control

I would recommend learning the basics of Git before even doing anything else. From the very start you'll have a history of the work you've done and will be able to go back in time should you ever mess anything up. Initialising Git is the very first thing I do on every project, including projects that I'm working on on my own. Worth your time to learn the basics now.

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3 hours ago, citypaul said:

Git is definitely worth your time to learn. It's the industry standard means of version control (other options do exist, most notably subversion (sometimes referred to as "svn") and mercurial). The vast majority of places use Git. Git shouldn't be confused with Github as they are separate things.

There are some more advanced things you can do with Git, including branching and learning how to sync your work with other developers, but for just getting started, learn just the basics - just how to add files and commit. You can register for a free account with bitbucket and use them to host your files. 

Start here: https://www.atlassian.com/git/tutorials/what-is-version-control

I would recommend learning the basics of Git before even doing anything else. From the very start you'll have a history of the work you've done and will be able to go back in time should you ever mess anything up. Initialising Git is the very first thing I do on every project, including projects that I'm working on on my own. Worth your time to learn the basics now.

Thanks Paul. I've followed the tutorial and I think I have it sussed now. I've opened a bitbucket account for a private repo and cloned it on my local machine. I'll use GitHub to showcase anything meaningful that I build.

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11 hours ago, RobDoyle said:

Thanks Paul. I've followed the tutorial and I think I have it sussed now. I've opened a bitbucket account for a private repo and cloned it on my local machine. I'll use GitHub to showcase anything meaningful that I build.

Great stuff! :)

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11 hours ago, RobDoyle said:

Thanks Paul. I've followed the tutorial and I think I have it sussed now. I've opened a bitbucket account for a private repo and cloned it on my local machine. I'll use GitHub to showcase anything meaningful that I build.

It's worth getting familiar with how gitignore files work too, there are often things in your project that do not require version control, and things like passwords, database credentials, sql files and config files often need to stay out of your repository, even more so if you're using public repositories on something like Github. It's easily the biggest mistake I see when people start to learn Git, they push private credentials up inside their repo and that's a massive security issue.

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23 minutes ago, Jack said:

It's worth getting familiar with how gitignore files work too, there are often things in your project that do not require version control, and things like passwords, database credentials, sql files and config files often need to stay out of your repository, even more so if you're using public repositories on something like Github. It's easily the biggest mistake I see when people start to learn Git, they push private credentials up inside their repo and that's a massive security issue.

Good point thanks. I'm happy bitbucket is private for those exact reasons.

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I would recommend using GitHub over Bitbucket for any projects that are not private - reason being that Github has very good social tools and if you want others to see your work it's the way to go.
Both are very similar but that's where I host all my open source work.

Just don't be dumping private stuff up there.  But if you're focusing on frontend you are unlikely run into issues like accentually posting up DB credentials etc as they're handled by the server.  For your treehouse stuff I imagine you'll be using fake servers or using existing public APIs.

If I am working on a project that has a bunch of variables / contstants that need to be private I dump them in a .env file and gitignore it.  If it's to be consumed by others I also create a `.env_example` with example credentials so consumers have an idea of how to input their own.

Edited by rbrtsmith

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3 hours ago, rbrtsmith said:

I would recommend using GitHub over Bitbucket for any projects that are not private - reason being that Github has very good social tools and if you want others to see your work it's the way to go.
Both are very similar but that's where I host all my open source work.

Just don't be dumping private stuff up there.  But if you're focusing on frontend you are unlikely run into issues like accentually posting up DB credentials etc as they're handled by the server.  For your treehouse stuff I imagine you'll be using fake servers or using existing public APIs.

If I am working on a project that has a bunch of variables / contstants that need to be private I dump them in a .env file and gitignore it.  If it's to be consumed by others I also create a `.env_example` with example credentials so consumers have an idea of how to input their own.

Thanks, Rob.  I'm just learning concepts at the moment on Treehouse so not really building as such yet. I just wanted to sync between my 2 machines from VSC with versions to a repo. I've not fully worked the process out yet as it commits on my desktop but not my laptop for some reason. I need to re-check the process.

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17 hours ago, RobDoyle said:

Thanks, Rob.  I'm just learning concepts at the moment on Treehouse so not really building as such yet. I just wanted to sync between my 2 machines from VSC with versions to a repo. I've not fully worked the process out yet as it commits on my desktop but not my laptop for some reason. I need to re-check the process.


A very simple Git process to do this (without going into detail) is:

1. Create a repository on Github (I assume you already have an account)  -- Go you your profile, click on "Repositories" tab and then click the green "New" button, Choose a name and click on the green "Create Repository" button.
Follow these instructions...
 

…or create a new repository on the command line

mkdir my-test-project
cd my-test-project
echo "# test" >> README.md
git init
git add README.md
git commit -m "first commit"
git remote add origin [url-to-your-repository]
git push -u origin master

[url-to-your-repsitory] will be git@github.com:[your-username]/[your-repository-name].git

Then going forwards any work you do in this folder you can commit up by doing the following
 

git add .
git commit -am "your commit message"
git push

If you jump onto another machine you will have to clone this repository down from github
 

git clone git@github.com:[your-username]/[your-repository-name].git
cd [your-repository-name]

Work on this machine then follow the previous steps to commit and push up that work.

You have to ensure you have SSH keys setup on both machines.  https://help.github.com/articles/connecting-to-github-with-ssh/ is a good set of documentation on how to setup and work with SSH.

There is a lot more to Git than this, but I'm just showing the minimum you need to know to use Git to provide the kind of workflow you require across these multiple machines.  Now the repository on GitHub shall be the source of truth for your project.  Note - you can have as many repositories as you want, typically each project will be a new repository.

Edited by rbrtsmith

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17 hours ago, RobDoyle said:

Thanks, Rob.  I'm just learning concepts at the moment on Treehouse so not really building as such yet. I just wanted to sync between my 2 machines from VSC with versions to a repo. I've not fully worked the process out yet as it commits on my desktop but not my laptop for some reason. I need to re-check the process.

You'll need to add an SSH key to both machines and add your remote sources on each machine. Once you have generated an SSH key on your laptop you can test the connection using:

ssh -T git@bitbucket.org

You should see something like "logged in as <username>". I'd also check to see your Git credentials are correct. If you browse the directory you want to use git with and use git config user.email and git config user.name in your command line it should tell you which credentials it's trying to connect with.

If you still get issues after this you'll probably need to add the newly generated SSH key to your ssh-agent - https://help.github.com/articles/generating-a-new-ssh-key-and-adding-it-to-the-ssh-agent/.

I'd recommend generating a new SSH key specifically for Bitbucket and adding it to their interface. Don't save over the id_rsa key because it can cause problems if it's used somewhere else already. You'll also want the ability to easily replace this key if you need to, incase of security issues etc. I tend to name the SSH key when I'm generating one something that's relevant to the machine I'm working on so that you can easily see in the Bitbucket admin which keys have access, and I'll know which ones to revoke when I get a new computer.

You should see something like this, just ensure that you replace the name of the key at the end otherwise it will save as id_rsa.

Enter a file in which to save the key (/Users/you/.ssh/id_rsa_uniquekeyname): [Press enter]

It gets more difficult when you have multiple SSH keys trying to connect to the same site, but you're not going to need to do this probably until you're employed and you have a personal and work Bitbucket account.

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@rbrtsmith and @Jack

Thank you both for this. I will put this into action. I was only getting errors on my laptop but with this advice I will hopefully be sorted. I'm glad I have decided to take this on at the beginning as well as to settle on VS Code so that I can start as I mean to go on. 

The workspaces editor on treehouse crashed on me today in the middle of some HTML & CSS and I lost work, so VS Code and Git it is :)

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13 hours ago, RobDoyle said:

@rbrtsmith and @Jack

Thank you both for this. I will put this into action. I was only getting errors on my laptop but with this advice I will hopefully be sorted. I'm glad I have decided to take this on at the beginning as well as to settle on VS Code so that I can start as I mean to go on. 

The workspaces editor on treehouse crashed on me today in the middle of some HTML & CSS and I lost work, so VS Code and Git it is :)

You're setting yourself up well getting started with a good editor and Git. It took me a while to start using Git confidently after my last job where we used SVN (a similar system), I absolutely hated it SVN and would make a lot of mistakes with it. Git is much nicer to work with and a real valuable skill that you'll use a lot and come to rely on when code changes don't go the way you had hoped.

I would recommend learning some basic shell commands as well for switching in and out of directories, opening files etc. It will make you feel a lot more confident about being inside the command line.

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1 hour ago, Jack said:

I would recommend learning some basic shell commands as well for switching in and out of directories, opening files etc. It will make you feel a lot more confident about being inside the command line.

This is good advice.  Just start off with basic cd commands and each day try learning a new command, write it down next to your laptop for future reference.

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Yeah. Learn some small basics.

If you're on Mac/Linux:

ls - lists all the files in the current directory

pwd - print working directory. Shows you where you are in the file system

cd - change directory. You can move to a new directory using this command

mkdir - make directory

rm - remove file

Just so those basic commands will give you enough to move around the file system.

The Windows equivalents are slightly different. I remember it's "dir" to list files in the directory, and cd is the same. Can't remember the others off the top of my head though as I don't use Windows, but you get the idea.

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If on windows I'd recommend either installing Linux or using a linux like shell.  I wouldn't waste much time learning windows specific commands.  Most places these days are using Unix/Linux like environments (Mac OS runs on top of Unix).

Most JavaScript / Node courses will be using Unix commands too.

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1 hour ago, rbrtsmith said:

If on windows I'd recommend either installing Linux or using a linux like shell.  I wouldn't waste much time learning windows specific commands.  Most places these days are using Unix/Linux like environments (Mac OS runs on top of Unix).

Most JavaScript / Node courses will be using Unix commands too.

If you're on Windows 10, you can make a Linux shell available to you inside Windows - https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/use-bash-shell-windows-10.

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4 minutes ago, Jack said:

If you're on Windows 10, you can make a Linux shell available to you inside Windows - https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/use-bash-shell-windows-10.

Yes I am on Windows 10 for desktop and laptop. I do have a Mac but it's an old machine now.

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10 hours ago, rbrtsmith said:

If on windows I'd recommend either installing Linux or using a linux like shell.  I wouldn't waste much time learning windows specific commands.  Most places these days are using Unix/Linux like environments (Mac OS runs on top of Unix).

Most JavaScript / Node courses will be using Unix commands too.

You have me thinking now about this. I know Linux is used in industry, but I've never used it. perhaps its time to start.

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8 hours ago, RobDoyle said:

You have me thinking now about this. I know Linux is used in industry, but I've never used it. perhaps its time to start.

You don't need to be an expert in Linux to get a junior front end job, even for senior roles you don't need to know any more than the basic unless you plan to work more in a devops role.

The commands that @citypaul listed are enough for your use case at the moment.  Going much deeper than that will mean you have less time to focus on front-end specific stuff.  Remember while it's possible to land a front-end job within a year starting from scratch it is not easy and requires a lot of effort and a very focused learning strategy.

Trying to master too much will result in it taking far longer to become job ready.  As much as I hate WordPress eventually learning the basics of that and PHP will help you get into the agency type jobs that are typical places for juniors to start - but long term I'd not focus much on WordPress because places like BBC, Sky, Sainsburys etc do not go anywhere near WordPress and rarely use much PHP either.

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8 hours ago, RobDoyle said:

You have me thinking now about this. I know Linux is used in industry, but I've never used it. perhaps its time to start.

Be careful to keep a focus for the time being. All of this stuff will be required, but learning everything in one go will cause you to get frustrated and intimidated by the sheer volume of stuff there is to learn.

In this industry, a common theme is that as you learn more as a developer, you start to realise just how much more you don't know. It's actually impossible to learn everything, so you need to keep a focus. I would focus primarily on building sites and using HTML, CSS and JS with the Treehouse course. 

Start small and work your way up. Perhaps do what @rbrtsmith said and use the Linux command line in Windows, but don't go much further than the basic commands I listed above for now. You may not even need that much to begin with.

My advice would be to focus almost exclusively on HTML, CSS and JS for now. I made the one exception with Git because Git is so fundamental, and also it'll save your skin even in the early days of using it if you ever break something and want to go back in time. It's also so widely used in the industry that you'll only benefit from using it, but stick to the basic usage for now and don't worry about branching or anything like that.

It's good to have an idea of what things you're planning to learn and the path you want to take, so knowing about Linux and having it on your radar is great, but don't try to do it all at once or you'll end up just learning small amounts of lots of things instead of working towards mastering the things that really matter.

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The commands @citypaul put together is pretty much what you need to know, then you could spend a hour or so playing around with them and that should be sufficient. There's no need to spend a long time on this. 

One thing to note is that VS Code should setup a symlink to open the program. For example I can write the word code in my CLI and have it open VS Code. I use this a lot for editing config files instead of inside the command line, but you can also use it to open folders up inside VS Code once you have browsed to them. I'm not sure if the Windows version will do this automatically though.

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1 hour ago, Jack said:

The commands @citypaul put together is pretty much what you need to know, then you could spend a hour or so playing around with them and that should be sufficient. There's no need to spend a long time on this. 

One thing to note is that VS Code should setup a symlink to open the program. For example I can write the word code in my CLI and have it open VS Code. I use this a lot for editing config files instead of inside the command line, but you can also use it to open folders up inside VS Code once you have browsed to them. I'm not sure if the Windows version will do this automatically though.

Pretty sure you have to run a command in vscode to make that work.

First option here.

Btw, the forum image upload is much better now :)

image.thumb.png.edc091281be7424497f862ccf5c7070c.png

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5 hours ago, rbrtsmith said:

You don't need to be an expert in Linux to get a junior front end job, even for senior roles you don't need to know any more than the basic unless you plan to work more in a devops role.

The commands that @citypaul listed are enough for your use case at the moment.  Going much deeper than that will mean you have less time to focus on front-end specific stuff.  Remember while it's possible to land a front-end job within a year starting from scratch it is not easy and requires a lot of effort and a very focused learning strategy.

Trying to master too much will result in it taking far longer to become job ready.  As much as I hate WordPress eventually learning the basics of that and PHP will help you get into the agency type jobs that are typical places for juniors to start - but long term I'd not focus much on WordPress because places like BBC, Sky, Sainsburys etc do not go anywhere near WordPress and rarely use much PHP either.

Good advice Rob thanks. Yes, I have seen jobs at agencies where they want you to convert provided designs into Wordpress child themes. I suppose that could be a start, depending on how I approach finding a job and how fussy I can afford to be in picking one. The Uni told me I have a 1 in 10 chance of landing an interview for a graduate post because of competition. I accept that I simply need to know what I am doing and prove that with value and hopefully stand out. 

Once I have completed the HTML and CSS basics courses on Treehouse, I'm going to pause before JavaScript and build another HTML and CSS site. There is a project on a Udemy course I have that asks you to rebuild the BBC News website homepage with just HTML and CSS, so may be worth doing. There is a temptation keep watching videos but after the advice here I won't do that. I may not even touch JavaScript until next month in order to practice. I'm still finding my way.

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5 hours ago, citypaul said:

Be careful to keep a focus for the time being. All of this stuff will be required, but learning everything in one go will cause you to get frustrated and intimidated by the sheer volume of stuff there is to learn.

In this industry, a common theme is that as you learn more as a developer, you start to realise just how much more you don't know. It's actually impossible to learn everything, so you need to keep a focus. I would focus primarily on building sites and using HTML, CSS and JS with the Treehouse course. 

Start small and work your way up. Perhaps do what @rbrtsmith said and use the Linux command line in Windows, but don't go much further than the basic commands I listed above for now. You may not even need that much to begin with.

My advice would be to focus almost exclusively on HTML, CSS and JS for now. I made the one exception with Git because Git is so fundamental, and also it'll save your skin even in the early days of using it if you ever break something and want to go back in time. It's also so widely used in the industry that you'll only benefit from using it, but stick to the basic usage for now and don't worry about branching or anything like that.

It's good to have an idea of what things you're planning to learn and the path you want to take, so knowing about Linux and having it on your radar is great, but don't try to do it all at once or you'll end up just learning small amounts of lots of things instead of working towards mastering the things that really matter.

Thanks, Paul. I appreciate that. Thanks for putting me onto Git early. I'll follow your advice and keep things real simple. I suppose I could install a virtual machine and Ubuntu. I have done that for some cryptography at University. I could install VS Code there and work on that possibly do you think?. I think Virtual Box is free.

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5 hours ago, Jack said:

The commands @citypaul put together is pretty much what you need to know, then you could spend a hour or so playing around with them and that should be sufficient. There's no need to spend a long time on this. 

One thing to note is that VS Code should setup a symlink to open the program. For example I can write the word code in my CLI and have it open VS Code. I use this a lot for editing config files instead of inside the command line, but you can also use it to open folders up inside VS Code once you have browsed to them. I'm not sure if the Windows version will do this automatically though.

I may just install Ubuntu and use VS Code from there. It won't take long. What do you think?

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3 hours ago, citypaul said:

Pretty sure you have to run a command in vscode to make that work.

First option here.

Btw, the forum image upload is much better now :)

image.thumb.png.edc091281be7424497f862ccf5c7070c.png

It does have its own command line yes. Thanks.

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