Fall 2019 in Web Apps

Here are some things students said about this course (on the official course evaluation form) at the end of fall 2018:

This course had an assortment of resources and reference material. It let students not only prepare, but go beyond the scope of the course itself if they wanted to. The instructions for assignments were very well detailed and thorough. Reading material was always relevant. Workshop hours were great, especially having them at the end of the week when the deadline is coming fast.

I love the world of tech and coding, and I could tell from my first day in lab that Professor McAdams had the same interest and enthusiasm. Even better, she had the skills I was looking to gain. The class required a lot of effort; it was intense. I had to put in more time into this class than my more difficult classes, but it was worth it and it goes to show how much effort McAdams put into the course herself. Thanks to this class, I feel confident in the skills I have learned and I feel at a good starting point to keep learning and developing my front-end skills independently.

Intro to Web Apps is one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken in the j-school. I really got a sense of new skills that I could see myself using in career — even an entry-level position in digital editorial — that would set me apart from other applicants (or at least put me in the ranks of other journalism grads who have web design skills). The course-load was challenging with quizzes/a hefty amount of reading and videos each week, but the format of the class made sense for what we were learning, and it challenged me to come to lab as prepared as possible and soak in all the material in the way that worked best for me.

This class was really difficult for me and I hated it at times during each project, but each time I finished a new one I was so proud of my work and I’m so glad I have this new skill. I thought that all of the course materials were relevant and helpful to the assignments.

My favorite class of the semester. I learned so much!

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Tips after Assignment 2 (HTML)

How can you do better?

One great tip is to run your HTML through a validator. Robbins explains this on page 67 (chapter 4). The one I use is here — the HTML5 validator. Check the two options, select “Text Field,” delete the default in the field, and then paste in your entire HTML — from the DOCTYPE line at the top to the closing HTML tag at the bottom. Click Validate and see what happens.

Screen shot of HTML5 validator

Filenames and folder names: Professionals lowercase all filenames and folder names. Also, NO SPACES. Robbins says this explicitly on page 53. Your page will not validate if any image filenames have spaces in them, for example.

Making your content fit to be seen by others: A photo caption that says “Photo by Joe Blow” is okay (really that’s a photo credit). A photo caption that says “Original Photo Here” doesn’t look like something I would expect to see on a real website.

Choice of filenames: For any assignment, the main page in a folder can be index.html. For Assignment 2, recipe.html makes sense. Naming a file assignment2.html looks like homework. Think about your portfolio.

Text for the alt attribute value:Alternate text (also referred to as alt text) should serve as a substitute for the image content — serving the same purpose and presenting the same information” (Robbins, page 126). More here, from the W3C, keeper of all Web standards.

Editing a super-long URL: Any super-long URL is unwieldy, and also, it will often throw an error in the validator. I demonstrated how to fix this in the “Assignment 2 Part 2” walkthrough video, at 4:00 in the video. This editing is also recommended for links you click in social media, like this one:

See the question mark in the URL? That question mark and everything following it can be deleted:

That is a cleaner, shorter and better URL to share and to use on your Web pages. But a word to the wise: ALWAYS click the link on your page to double-check that it goes where you intended it to go.