Coding For Dummies book cover

Coding For Dummies

By: Nikhil Abraham Published: 06-13-2016

Coding For Dummies, (9781119293323) was previously published as Coding For Dummies, (9781118951309). While this version features a new Dummies cover and design, the content is the same as the prior release and should not be considered a new or updated product.


Hands-on exercises help you learn to code like a pro

No coding experience is required for Coding For Dummies, your one-stop guide to building a foundation of knowledge in writing computer code for web, application, and software development. It doesn't matter if you've dabbled in coding or never written a line of code, this book guides you through the basics. Using foundational web development languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, it explains in plain English how coding works and why it's needed.

Online exercises developed by Codecademy, a leading online code training site, help hone coding skills and demonstrate results as you practice.

The site provides an environment where you can try out tutorials built into the text and see the actual output from your coding. You'll also gain access to end-of-chapter challenges to apply newly acquired skills to a less-defined assignment. So what are you waiting for?

  • The current demand for workers with coding and computer science skills far exceeds the supply
  • Teaches the foundations of web development languages in an easy-to-understand format
  • Offers unprecedented opportunities to practice basic coding languages
  • Readers can access online hands-on exercises and end-of-chapter assessments that develop and test their new-found skills

If you're a student looking for an introduction to the basic concepts of coding or a professional looking to add new skills, Coding For Dummies has you covered.

Articles From Coding For Dummies

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43 results
43 results
Coding For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 01-19-2022

Coding is equal parts vocabulary, logic, and syntax. Coding may at first seem intimidating, but with practice, though, it’s easy to get comfortable with its terminology, concepts, and structure. Understanding coding is not unlike learning a new language: Use it often enough and you’ll find yourself able to speak, think, and write in code. Still, it’s natural for beginners to have questions. There are many coding resources available to you, both on- and off-line. Ask around and you’ll find you’re not alone — many other people are learning. After all, coding is a never-ending education. Master one facet or another and a new one opens in front of you.

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How to Hack Your Favorite News Website

Step by Step / Updated 03-27-2016

What’s your favorite news website? By following a few steps, you can see and even modify the code used to create that website. (No need to worry, you won’t be breaking any rules by following these instructions.) Although you can use almost any modern browser to inspect a website’s code, these instructions assume you’re using the Google Chrome browser. Open your favorite news website using the Chrome browser and then follow these steps:

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Common Coding Mistakes

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Code not working? Here are some common mistakes that can trip up even the most experienced coder. If your code won’t run, try running down this checklist to see if you have any of these errors: Not having a closing HTML tag after every opening HTML tag . Missing brackets < or > in HTML. Missing curly braces, colons, or semicolons in CSS, as in the following: h1 { color: blue; } Missing curly braces in JavaScript, especially for if statements. Forgetting to have a pair of closing pair of quotes for every opening pair of quotes. Having more than one opening and closing tag, tag, or tag. Putting HTML code in the CSS file or section, and putting CSS code in the HTML section. If the code deals with style and appearance, it’s likely CSS. Not linking to your CSS file using the </span> tag, and so your CSS effects don’t render in the browser.</p> </li> <li><p class="first-para">Misspelling a part of a command, as in <span class="code"><img scr="logo.jpg"></span>, which is incorrect because the attribute is spelled <span class="code">src</span> not <span class="code">scr</span>.</p> </li> <li><p class="first-para">Including attributes outside the opening HTML tag. For example, <span class="code"><img> src="logo.jpg"</span> is incorrect because the attribute is outside the opening image tag.</p> </li> </ul>

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Coding References and Resources

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the most common front-end coding languages. The following table lists some online resources, references, and tutorials to help you continue practicing all three languages. W3Schools: Reference guides for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript HTML cheat sheet: Most commonly used HTML commands CSS cheat sheet: Most commonly used CSS commands HTML tutorials: Tutorials and articles for the web maintained by Google CSS tutorials: Tutorials and articles for web programming, with a focus on CSS JavaScript tutorials: Tutorials and reference guides for JavaScript

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Coding Vocabulary

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Coding has an extensive vocabulary that to laymen can seem like impenetrable techno-babble. Whether you’re reading coding-related article online or speaking to a developer at work, you may hear words that you have not heard before or that have a different meaning in a coding context. Here are some common vocabulary words to know: General web development terms: Server: A computer that hosts website code, and that “serves” website code when requested by a “client” computer. Servers usually sit in large warehouses with thousands of other servers, and are similar in size and power to your home computer. Client: A device used to access a website, including desktop or laptop computers, tablets, or mobile phones. Designer: An artistic professional who decides how a website will look and feel, along with the ways users will interact with the website — such as, for example, clicking, swiping, scrolling, and so on. Wireframe: An illustration created by designers that show in detail a website’s layouts, images, and color schemes. Developer: An engineering professional who writes code to turn wireframes into useable websites. Based on the type of code written, developers are referred to as front-end, back-end, or full stack. Front-end: Everything you can see and click in a browser. Front-end developers write code in front-end languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create the website appearance. Back-end: Everything that happens behind-the-scenes to make the front-end perform as intended. Back-end developers write code in back-end languages like Ruby or Python to create functionality like logging in users, storing user preferences, and retrieving data like comments on a photo. Terms related to front-end languages: *HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): A language used to place text, images, and other content on a webpage. HTML tag: HTML instructions, usually appearing in pairs. Browsers apply special effects to text between an opening and closing HTML tag. For instance, the tag renders in a browser as a large bolded headline and can be used like this: Dewey beats Truman. HTML attribute: Attributes or parameters for HTML tags that modify the tag’s behavior. Attributes are always placed in the opening HTML tag. For example, href is the attribute in the following anchor tag (used to create hyperlinks): Search engine CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): Code that modifies HTML on webpages and that controls the appearance of content by changing text size, image size, and other attributes. JavaScript: Code that adds interactivity and animation to webpages. JavaScript also detects browser events such as mouse clicks, validates user input such as text entries, and retrieves data from external websites. Variable: A storage location that’s given a name and that contains numerical data or text (referred to as strings) for later use. If statement (conditional): A code instruction that tests a condition that usually includes variables, such as x < 18, and executes code you write when the condition is true. Function: A name given to a group of programming statements for easy reference and use. Terms related to back-end languages: Ruby: An open-source programming language best known for use in web programming. Rails: A framework designed to make creating webpages with Ruby easy. Python: An open-source programming language used on the web, in scientific applications, and for data analysis.

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Hosting Your Web Application

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

You have coded your web application and want to share it with others. After all that work, who wouldn’t? Complete these tasks and anyone with a web browser can access your website. Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Tristan Searching for a domain name A domain name is a keyword with a suffix like .com, .org, or .net, often referred to as a top-level domain (TLD). Finding an available domain name can actually be harder than you think. Many domain names are unavailable and registered by someone else. Registering a domain name is not required and you can access your website with a longer name. Here are a few rules to keep in mind when searching for a domain name: Search for .com domain names. Domain names that end in .net, .info, or other suffixes can be hard for visitors to remember. Try names that are easy to say and spell. A website like amazon.com causes much less confusion than flickr.com, the photo sharing site, which many have typed as flicker.com. Use 12 characters or less to minimize mistakes and make the URL easier to type on a mobile device. Select keywords to include in your domain name. With these rules in mind, here are a few resources to help you search: Domainr and Instantdomainsearch search for domain names using across .com, .net, .org, and many other TLDs. Both websites will protect your privacy and search for your keyword across a range of TLDs. Namechk will verify whether your domain name keyword is available on a variety of social networks. For example, if the Twitter handle and Facebook page for bestpizza are not available you may not want to purchase the domain bestpizza.com. LeanDomainSearch or Impossibility.org generate additional domain names by starting with a keyword you specify. Registering the domain name If you found an available domain you like, the hard part is now over, and you should register your domain. Domain name registrars are licensed to reserve domain names, and may charge different prices anywhere from $8 to $15 per domain name per year. Sometimes web hosting providers will offer discounts on domain names with the purchase of a hosting plan. Here are a few domain name registrars you can use: NameCheap is one of the most popular domain name registrars. The registrar gained popularity when it strongly opposed SOPA laws in the US, which were designed to expand law enforcement powers online. GoDaddy is one of the largest domain name providers, managing almost 60 million domain names. You have likely seen their Super Bowl commercials, which often create controversy. Hover is another domain name registrar known for its customer service. Using a webhost Webhosts serve your website to visitors, and domain names make it easy to access your webhost. For example, Google hosts websites and assigns URL addresses like http://sites.google.com/nikabraham. You then can register for a domain name like www.nikabraham.com, which will access the same website so users can easily visit the site. For personal websites, the webhost fee should not exceed more than $20 per month, and often can be as little as $5 per month. For professional websites, hosting fees will vary depending on traffic, services installed, and reliability. The hosts below all offer free hosting plans, but may charge for you to remove advertising. Here are some webhosts you can use to host your website: Wordpress: A popular free host for personal and professional sites. You can style your pages with themes, and edit CSS in themes to give your site a specific appearance. Tumblr: A site that’s popular for short form content and hosting photos, you can also host a traditional website here for free. Weebly: This site allows you to drag, drop, and click your way to a free professional website with themes you can customize with your own HTML and CSS code. Wix and Squarespace (paid only) are other alternatives with a similar design.

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Resources for Finding Images for Your Website or Coding Project

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Once you learn HTML coding basics, you will quickly want to start building webpages. The most common need when putting together a webpage, whether for personal or professional use, is finding and using relevant images. However, just because you find an image on the Internet doesn’t mean you’re free to use it as you wish. Although it’s true that some images can be used for commercial or personal use, some can be used only by asking permission, including attribution to the image’s author, or paying a fee, and many can’t be used under any circumstances at all. Always check for licensing terms before using an image. Here are some resources to find images: Google images: You can search for images using keywords, or for similar images if you select and upload an image. Licensing information does not always accompany the image making it hard to know what can be used. Wikimedia Commons: Catalog of 25 million freely usable media files with clear licensing information. Search by topic, location, or license type. Flickr: Flickr lets users store, share, and search its photo database. Use the advanced search to find images licensed under the Creative Commons, which usually permit use with attribution. Stock up: Search many free stock photo websites all in one place. The Stocks: Collection of royalty free stock photos viewable by gallery. Creative Commons Search: Search other sites for images tagged as usable under a Creative Commons license, which generally allows for reuse under certain conditions. U.S. Government Photos: Photos created for or by the US government are usually in the public domain and can be used for any purpose without permission or fee.

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Coding with Ruby and Python: Head to Head

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

You have heard of coding languages like Python and Ruby, and you may wonder what the difference is between the two. At a high level, anything you can do with one language you can do with another language. It is like the difference between using a Toyota Prius or a Honda Accord to drive from New York to Boston — both cars will get you from point A to point B but some of the controls will be in different places. The following is a head to head matchup between Ruby and Python to help you see how the two languages compare to one another. Ruby Python Year invented 1995 1991 Inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto Guido van Rossum Example sites SoundCloud Yammer Bloomberg Quora Spotify Dropbox Purpose Help programmers be productive, enjoy programming, and be happy Improve readability and consistency of code Ease for beginners Medium Easy Popular with Startups and others rapidly prototyping and creating websites Data heavy applications like those used by financial institutions and scientists Available jobs on Indeed. com in NY 1,500 3,200

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10 Tools to Make Your Life Easier as a Developer

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

As you start developing and coding your own web pages, you will perform some tasks repeatedly. The following resources will help make your life a little easier. Some resources are software to download and install, whereas others are extensions you can add to your browser: Instant Eyedropper: Find the color in a wireframe, or match the color in a logo with this color picker tool, which lets you find the color of anything displayed on your screen. Ruler: Measure the pixel size of buttons, images, and layouts. F.lux: Staring at your monitor for hours can strain your eyes. Ease your eye strain by automatically adjusting your monitor to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Awesome Screenshot: Screenshot your website to show others or screenshot other sites for inspiration. Social good ipsum: Lorem ipsum is Latin words used by developers as placeholder text when prototyping webpages. This version uses copy usually found on NGO websites. User agent switcher: View your website as if you were using Chrome, Firefox, iPhone, Android, or even a Windows Phone. IE Tab: View webpages using the Internet Explorer rendering engine. IE can display webpages differently than other browser, and this allows you to see your website in one tab and how IE renders it in another tab. Dribbble: See creative designs shared by designers and other developers to act as inspiration for your own websites. Resolution test: Your website visitors all use different resolutions, which you can test using this app. Userium: Review common usability problems before launching your website.

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Identifying HTML Elements

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

HTML uses special text keywords called elements to structure and style a website. The browser recognizes an element and applies its effect if the following three conditions exist: The element is a letter, word, or phrase with special meaning. For example, h1 is an element recognized by the browser to apply a header effect, with bold text and an enlarged font size. The element is enclosed with a left-angle bracket (<) and right-angle bracket (>). An element enclosed in this way is called a tag (such as, for example, ). An opening tag () is followed by a closing tag (). Note that the closing tag differs from the opening tag by the addition of a forward slash after the first left bracket and before the element (such as, for example, ). Some HTML tags are self-closing, and don’t need separate closing tags, only a forward slash in the opening tag. When all three conditions are met, the text between the opening and closing tags is styled with the tag’s defined effect. If even one of these conditions is not met, the browser just displays plain text. For a better understanding of these three conditions, see the example code below: This is a big heading with all three conditions h1 This is text without the < and > sign surrounding the tag /h1 This is text with a tag that has no meaning to the browser This is regular text You can see how a browser would display this code here. The browser applies a header effect to “This is a big heading with all three conditions” because h1 is a header tag and all three conditions for a valid HTML tag exist: The browser recognizes the h1 element. The h1 element is surrounded with a left (<) and right angle bracket (>). The opening tag () is followed by text and then a closing tag (). Notice how the h1 tag itself does not display in the heading. The browser will never display the actual text of an element in a properly formatted HTML tag. The remaining lines of code display as plain text because they each are missing one of the conditions. On the second line of code, the tag is missing the left and right brackets, which violates the second condition. The third line of code violates the first condition because rockstar is not a recognized HTML element. Finally, the fourth line of code displays as plain text because it has no opening tag preceding the text, and no closing tag following the text, which violates the third condition. Every left angle-bracket must be followed after the element with a right angle-bracket. In addition, every opening HTML tag must be followed with a closing HTML tag. Over 100 HTML elements exist. HTML is a forgiving language and may properly apply an effect even if you’re missing pieces of code, like a closing tag. However, if you leave in too many errors, your page won’t display correctly.

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