Learning JavaScript - Free Resources Overview

Discussion in 'mTurk Scripts & Extensions' started by jklmnop, Oct 5, 2015.

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  1. jklmnop storm in heaven Member

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    At the moment there is not really a "learn how to make turking scripts in 5 hours fast" kind of thing for JavaScript and mturk. You have to find the learning approach that works for you, and get the basics down first. Depending on whether you have coded anything before and how much free time you have, I'd expect to spend at least a couple of weeks getting the basics down. The more time you invest into learning and practicing, the faster you'll ramp up.

    In all seriousness, there is simply no downside to investing a few weeks into learning JavaScript. At worst you will have a better sense of what others' scripts are doing when you install them for HITs. At best you will be able to start making your own simple scripts for HITs, and maybe like the process enough to keep learning. Coding is a good skill to have in today's techno world, period.

    If you have zero coding experience (or it's been a few years)

    https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/computer-programming/programming

    If you've never really programmed before I strongly recommend Khan Academy's approach and completing Intro to JS, Intro to HTML/CSS, and then the two Making Webpages Interactive modules. Think of your use of this site as an investment of your time into learning the logic behind programming, rather than specific guidance on how to make scripts in JavaScript for mturk. Khan uses a special library (set of code) just for their site which is heavy on making pictures and light on making webpages.

    Why is the site useful if it doesn't immediately get you started on HIT scripts? Because its exercises and progression will help you develop the kind of logical mindset you need for coding. Even if the visual coding exercises are not directly transferable to mturk, the underlying logic is. For newbies, Khan does a better job of explaining fundamental concepts (such as loops and functions) than other sites. That is why this site should always be a part of the discussion.

    Also, several sites offer to teach coding principles through gaming, so if that's more your speed try one out! @Xandro@Xandro put together an excellent thread with screenshots here. I have not tried any of these yet but will report back once I do.


    If you have some coding experience, but maybe it's HTML or from part of an intro course somewhere

    If you HAVE worked with code before, esp. HTML and CSS, then the later modules on Khan (on the DOM and jQuery) or simply other sites may offer a faster path of entry. These are just the ones I have experience with:

    https://www.codeacademy.com
    pros: starts slow; game-ified approach with milestones/achievements
    cons: can be hard to advance if you get stuck, unless you "game" your own code. I like this site more as I use it more, but still feel like there are places where it doesn't adequately explain the thing it is trying to teach you.

    https://www.freecodecamp.com
    pros: has a real-time graphical interface like khan, has short, bite-sized lessons that build on each other
    cons: no easy entry point into javascript if you've never coded before (you really should go through the HTML modules first in that case)

    http://www.w3schools.com/js/default.asp
    pros: good overview of a LOT of different aspects of javascript, has a very good overview of the DOM which you use a LOT for making mturk scripts if you are not using jQuery
    cons: not the most intuitive interface for learning

    https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy...tml5-with-javascript-and-css3-jump-start-8223
    I have not tried this course but if it appears to offer a decent overview of web page coding from basic HTML and CSS through to the DOM.

    https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-jquery-microsoft-dev208x
    Quick edX course on jQuery.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELRNFtFxIs8
    Five-hour video from Microsoft on jQuery

    If you prefer to read, or need a good reference book, I've heard great things about Eloquent Javascript.

    As soon as you feel like you have a basic grasp of the syntax, start trying to read the simpler mturk scripts you use and see if you can figure out what they do. Knowing how to read and reuse code is essential IMO for being able to, say, script a new batch on the fly.

    If you have a free learning resource to recommend that isn't listed here, please feel free to PM me, thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015
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