Photo Credit: http://www.codinggeek.com
Well it has been just under a week now and I have been exploring the many different languages of coding, the uses of each language, and deciding where I should focus my attention. An obvious start was looking into Java because of it’s prevalence on the web, it’s relative ease of use and it’s compatibility with other programming languages such as HTML. Since I am starting this adventure with zero knowledge of how to code or even what coding was, I started with a short Hour of Code lesson that I came across on the Kahn Academy site. As a preface, the Hour of Code initiative is a promotion of Computer Science Week in December in which schools and institutions worldwide take part in an hour of introductory coding. My first lesson was a drawing lesson in which I learned the basics of how to make shapes appear on the screen using code. It took some time to get used to how the functions worked but after a few tries I was able to create a simple but rather cute penguin. Here are my first ever lines of code and the resulting penguin.
This second bit of code written in Java script, allows the animation of text. When you hover the mouse over the name the text scatters and reorganizes. This took a little longer but the possibilities of something like this for website development are very open.
This bit of coding made me realize a few things very quickly:
A) Coding is insanely addicting and you have to be very careful to set limits on the time you’re are willing to spend on coding projects.
B) Coding is, at the same time, great fun and quite frustrating.
The fun lies in the small perceived rewards gained by watching shapes and colours appear based on the codes that are typed into the computer. Type ellipse and a circle appears, type rect and a square appears. The tricky part is setting the right parameters in the parentheses in order for the shape to appear on the screen. I was never much of an artist when I was in school. I couldn’t seem to make my hands create the things I was seeing in my head. It is interesting using computer code to create art without using my hands. In this sense it seems that the interaction between artist and medium is more complex but at the same time very rewarding. Patience becomes the key factor in designing and creating using Java or Java Script.
As I reflect on the possibilities of drawing or animating using code in an educational setting, it occurred to me that the potential for teaching coding through art to master key concepts is tangible and relatable to students. The language of the code itself is fairly straightforward once you learn the different commands. I have decided to look into the graphics possibilities and interactivity that can be built into websites and logos using some simple animations. My next step will be to access a few other tutorial sites such as Code Academy to further my learning about the functionality of this code language. As I continue to learn I will try to create something each week to share on this blog site whether it be a simple animation, a graphic, or maybe even a game. Stay tuned as I dive deeper into the world of coding. If you have suggestions of types of code or projects I should explore, please leave them in the comments section below.