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Hello World! AppJet Opens Browser-Based JavaScript School (techcrunch.com)
33 points by rokhayakebe on Aug 14, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments

I like this idea a lot, an interactive lesson when you can type code and see it run is going to be a great learning tool.

The problem is it's not entirely Javascript, it's Javascript with some of their code sprinkled in. I'd like them to explain that some of their conventions aren't Javascript.

It's also strange they say using var is good practice but then don't put ; at the end of lines. It seems like they have the basics really nailed but need a few other people to review their material.

I'm going to be e-mailing them a mail with a few of my suggestions.

I'd love to see this go further. Their app is a great place for people to learn in.

Thanks for the feedback!

Omitting semicolons early in the guide was an intentional choice. We wanted to ease people in to the JavaScript syntax gently, so we decided to start without semicolons. (We introduce them in the "good habits" section, and use them in all our examples thereafter.)

In JavaScript, omitting semicolons will occasionally get you into trouble, but usually isn't a big deal. (I personally always use semicolons, and use jslint to verify it.) Omitting "var" before variables, however, can be really nasty because it affects scoping, so we felt that was important enough to introduce sooner.

As with all educational material, it's a trade-off between simplifying things for the beginner, and being totally correct. (Kind of like how in physics, you learn mechanics, and then find out it's not totally correct.)

It's true that the tutorial uses commands (like "print") that aren't built into JavaScript. It helps to recognize that we're trying to teach programming in general, not JavaScript specifically (as the headline might imply), and with an audience of total beginners. We feel that the JavaScript language, together with the AppJet framework and website, provide a great environment for beginners to start writing programs.

Hey! It's great you are following the threads and responding. That's awesome.

I know a number of people who taught Java by starting teaching the basics of programming within a class (e.g primitives, functions, etc) but neglecting the class wrappings. This teaches people procedural programming. They then have to unlearn in order to do OO.

Teaching them the basics while asking them to put up with the "framework" means that they aren't unlearning, they gain knowledge of the "stuff" they were putting up with.

I like it a lot. Once you can nail this you aren't very far from knowing how to do any web framework.

Direct link: http://appjet.com/learn-to-program/

Update: I love how step 5 gets you to send emails. That would be like step 100 in most other frameworks.

Reminds me of the old interactive HTML tutorials. Those were the days. Back in 1997, I took in an old French major classmate of mine. I ended up teaching him HTML and Perl coding and he wrote an interactive HTML tutorial app using Perl CGI. He eventually took over my Perl coding job!

I'd also recommend this interactive guide to programming (also done in JavaScript):


This looks seriously awesome. I am really looking forward to using it.

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