13 January 2019

Cold Days for Code Monkeying

I've taken and enjoyed a number of online courses in technical topics like programming and web technology, such as this example which I'm doing now. For no cost or a nominal fee, MOOCs often offer valuable means to refresh and update skills, providing opportunities to pursue engaging projects and inspiration for others. There's nothing like the satisfaction of building something and making it work. And, there's no better season for such indoor activities than wind-chilly winter days, so I've been doing that lately. Having been through this experience a number of times now, I find that the usual (or at least my usual) flow tends to fall into a sequence of four phases:
  1. The "how will I ever assemble this project" phase, associated with pondering, hesitation, and sometimes procrastination.
  2. The "OK, I'll get started" phase, setting up prerequisites and frameworks and assembling components to the reassuring point where a basic code skeleton operates.
  3. The "Check the boxes" phase, where I go through the project requirements and add support for them one or a few at a time. This usually breaks down nicely into a series of coding and testing sessions, each of which adds a few features.
  4. The "Cleanup and Embellish" phase, where I get rid of false starts accumulated during the prior phases and customize the overall result to add features that seem intriguing or add further capabilities.
After these steps, I'll submit the code, but it's not as if its grading is a primary goal. The point is the learning, and the enjoyment of the process that gets there.

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