Wow, what a difference some syntax can make

For the past month I’ve been focusing on learning Javascript through Codecademy. While the lessons have been great I’ve had some trouble getting used to the code as there was never a formal lesson on how and when to utilize braces, semi-colons, and white space in the code. When I began the Javascript lessons I was fresh off of a few months of working with Python and it just clanked like a lemon off the show room floor.

Today, I’ve returned to Python. It’s pretty. It’s clean. It’s user-friendly. It’s so much simpler to immediately see what’s happening in the code. Even after two and a half months of learning Javascript I still have trouble seeing the code for what it is. I just opened up a program I was working on in Python and, even though I’m a poor commenter (I know, I know, I need to get into the habit of commenting in my code), I immediately recognized and remembered the rules of the code. That made me excited.

So, I’m back to working through Invent Your Own Games with Python. I’m excited to be back working in Python as it really is such a nice language to look at. Javascript is like that ugly, dull girl who is really into you, but you just do not like. Python is the sweet, girl next-door who you’ve been friends with your whole life and accidentally fall in love with. Python makes the best kind of lady.

Boggle clone, here I come!

Programming it Up!

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a programming upswing. Thanks to Codecademy I’ve been able to work on my learning throughout the work day as well. Python has been on a bit of a back burner while I concentrate on the JavaScript heavy lessons featured on Codecademy, but I am all caught on lessons with nothing to do!

So, soon it will be back to Python. I’m nearly done with “Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python” and it has been a fantastic break from “Learn Python the Hard Way”. It isn’t challenging and holds your hand the whole way through, which is what I needed, a bit of baby stepping to get me through some of the tutorials. I stopped “Learn Python the Hard Way” at the point where I had to create my own game. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do what it was asking me, but that I wanted to do more. I was trying to create a control scheme for my game and wasn’t quite getting it, which is how I ended up at PyGame, which is also how I learned about “Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python” in the first place. Wow, what a cicle!

Now that I’ve been working with a different language I can also more clearly see how the structure of a program doesn’t change much from one place to another. The JavaScript I’ve been learning is only going to help enhance my understanding of Python.

There’s another great game-making tool out there called Melon.js. It is a game-making framework for JavaScript. It’s still in development, but is quickly updated with new features and bug fixes. There is also a nice Google Group where questions can be asked and are usually answered quickly at MelonJS Google Group.

Speaking of Google Groups I have joined a number of them, which has also helped me keep up with the latest goings on of various people’s projects. Living in Minnesota I joined PyMNtos, which is the Python meeting group for Minnesota. I have also joined PyGame, Django, Google App Engine, and various others. And, I’ve signed up for some fantastic email lists like Hacker News, JQuery, JavaScript Weekly, Python Weekly, PHP Master (which I’m not sure if I’m ever really going to bother to learn), Sitepoint and others.

Basically, I’ve mostly been reading. Reading, practicing and reading. What I need to do is decide on a project and a language and just have at it. I believe once I complete “Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python” I will go ahead and do just that. I have grand ambitions for a game, but will start more simply. I would like to create a simple, graphical game based on a board game. I love Boggle (so much!) so I think I’ll start by making a Boggle clone. Awesome idea dude! Oh yeah!