Week 21: Back on Bootstrap

Welcome back to Regularly Scheduled Programming, the blog where I talk about my journey to become a self-taught programmer.

Twenty-two weeks in and we are going back to something I first touched on in Week 3 when I recapped my Tribute Page project: Bootstrap.

I moved away from Bootstrap for my second project but I have a new appreciation for it after working through the Bootstrap lessons at Treehouse.

My First Love: Bootstrap

When I first learned about Bootstrap I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I even wondered why I wasted two weeks of my time learning about CSS when I could just use Bootstrap for everything.

At that time I didn’t really understand the concept of a framework and I thought of Bootstrap like it was its own language.

In a way, it makes sense because you do have to learn a bunch of new terms in the form of class names and what each of them does. But when you boil it all down, it is still just a CSS shortcut.

I used Bootstrap for my first project, which was to build a Tribute Page. There were a few bumps along the way but in the end, the project turned out nicely.

A short time later, I tried to use Bootstrap for my second project, which was building a Personal Portfolio page. That time around things didn’t go so well. I ended up putting the project on hold for a few weeks while I focused on my lessons.

When I did finally finish the project, I used traditional HTML and CSS and skipped Bootstrap altogether.

From that point forward, Bootstrap and I were on a break. I eventually met and fell for a new CSS method called Flexbox.

An Awkward Reunion

I recently ran into Bootstrap again while working on the Front End Developer Track on Treehouse.

At first, it was awkward. We were both like, “So how have you been?”, “You look good”, “How long has it been anyway?”

Eventually, we got around to the question we had both been avoiding. “So, have you been seeing anyone else?”

I told Bootstrap about Flexbox and it asked if it was serious. I admitted that Flexbox was pretty awesome and that we had even started working on projects together.

After a long pause, we both said “So I guess we better get busy working on these lessons…” at the exact same time.

Documented Improvement

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know how much I like Treehouse. Their Bootstrap lessons only reinforced those feelings.

When I first started working through Bootstrap at freeCodeCamp it was like show and tell. They would show you a few Bootstrap examples and explain what each of them did. It was enough to pique my interest in what Bootstrap could do but it didn’t really teach me all that much.

That was why I ended up on the Code School site working through their Bootstrap course. This gave me a better understanding of Bootstrap but it still wasn’t enough to make me feel comfortable enough to continue using it.

Fast forward a few months and the next lesson on my Treehouse itinerary was a Bootstrap course.

Given my past experience and how well I was enjoying Flexbox, I didn’t go into the Bootstrap section with any expectations. I certainly didn’t expect to go back to using Bootstrap.

That all changed as soon as I started watching the lessons.

I was again struck by how easy Bootstrap makes everything. Sure, there is a lot to learn when it comes to the many class names and what they do but that is why you use documentation.

I think that is where Treehouse really nails it with these lessons.

The other lessons I have seen share a similar structure. They give you a task you need to do, like centering an h1 element, and then “teach” you the code required to do it.

Screenshot of the Bootstrap Documentation

Rather than just giving you the answer, the Bootstrap lessons at Treehouse show you how to use the documentation to find the answer for yourself.

They say “We want to center this h1 element and here is how we can figure out how to do that using the documentation.”

Being able to navigate and use documentation is a must-have skill and Treehouse’s Bootstrap lessons do a great job of teaching those skills.

As a result, I am all in on Bootstrap again.

In Other News

Aside from my Treehouse lessons, I have also continued to plug away at the Intermediate Algorithm section at freeCodeCamp. All my solutions can be found on CodePen.

I also did a recap of my Twitch API project. In Part 1 I go over the basics of the project and some of the early hurdles I ran into. In Part 2 I take a deep dive into the JavaScript side of the project.

Until next week, have fun and keep coding!

* Feature image courtesy of Pankaj Patel on Unsplash

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Author: Lee

Hi, my name is Lee and I am a 40-something who recently made the decision to become a self-taught programmer. This site was set up to chronicle that journey and my experiences along the way. Feel free to contact me with any comments, questions, or suggestions.

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