The Beginning of My Journey Through JavaScript

by Nick Jensen on September 28, 2013

Many newcomers to the technical communication field (such as myself) are often faced with the dilemma of deciding which software tools they should learn first. It takes time to learn help authoring tools, markup languages, and coding languages. Some of these computer skills are easier to learn than others, and that helps me prioritize which ones I focus on first. More importantly, learning one skill/program can help you understand others more quickly and efficiently. I discovered this fact when I learned Adobe Acrobat Pro (Microsoft Word has many of the same markup features as Acrobat Pro). After my first dinner meeting at the LASTC, I drove home contemplating which computer skill I should learn first. No matter which skill I chose, I wanted it to be something that would help me understand other computer skills. HTML was the obvious choice, for as I had learned from my fellow LASTC members, print content is becoming a thing of the past. Therefore, a significant amount of content developers now create their content online. If the web functions as the canvas for a piece of art then HTML and JavaScript are the paints.

For me, learning HTML was a simple process. Yes, I made many mistakes when creating my own HTML code, but they were basic mistakes: a paragraph or image might not show up because I misplaced a bracket or a whole section of content would disappear because I forget to enter a closing script. In other words, I never ran into any brick walls when learning HTML. Learning tags became intuitive. After all, many HTML tags are just abbreviations for real words: <p> stands for paragraph, <img> stands for image. Overall, HTML is a language that appears more intimidating than it really is. Unfortunately, HTML has its limits when creating online content, especially multimedia. In one of my first HTML files, I created a link to a video file so that a viewer could watch the video on my webpage. Inserting the video file itself was reasonably simple. There was only one problem with the video file; it would automatically play as soon as the page loaded. To this day, I still haven’t figured out how to change that. Before this programming conundrum, I didn’t understand the value of knowing JavaScript. Only now, after fruitless hours of tampering with my HTML file, have I come to accept the necessity of learning JavaScript commands.

Today, I start my first lesson in learning JavaScript from a book called JavaScript: A Beginner’s Guide by John Pollock. Throughout the next two weeks, I will write about my experience learning JavaScript and highlight any prominent skills I learn throughout each chapter. If any of you out there aren’t familiar with JavaScript, then feel free to read my blogs and gain knowledge from what I have learned. Think of it as my way of saying “Thank you” for all that I have learned through the LASTC. Lastly, I would like to give a special thanks to Jeff for giving the opportunity to intern for the LASTC. Thanks, Jeff! I owe you one.

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