Ken the Ninja, Mister White, and Ben the Baby
The Progate Mascots: Ken the Ninja, Mister White, and Ben the Baby

For the duration of my first days of the #100DaysOfCode Twitter challenge, I have been going through my basic Javascript studies with a learning platform called Progate. I’ve taken other Javascript courses, starting from Codeacademy and even Treehouse and some Udemy courses before, however, a lot of them are quite fast-paced or that the instructions are kind of confusing. I even tried the Javascript course at Skillcrush also, however, I’m a bit impatient and want to start coding and build projects instead of watching videos of other unrelated activities that should be illustrating to us the types of lessons that we will be expecting in the beginning.

While having a “preview” activity, in the beginning, is nice, sometimes I do get very impatient from the get-go. I like following along with setting up my environment for the type of coding language we’re about to learn. There will be a few obstacles that can get in the way in setting up your environment, especially if you have a desktop/laptop that doesn’t have the required memory power as, say, a Mac, and everything else. When that happens, you won’t be able to proceed with your course. You would have to look around for another alternative, such as using an online IDE like Cloud9 1 or CodeAnywhere. Depending on the platform or the instructor that you have, you would also have to learn how to set up and use these online IDEs to follow along with the course. And then when it’s time for you to create your own projects after your course is done, you start over again from the beginning by setting up your environment, which you had a problem with earlier at the beginning of your course.

Enter Progate

I don’t remember when I signed up for a Progate account. I think it was sometime last year. I also can’t remember how I found Progate. It could be a plug from a fellow code aficionado from one of my web dev learning/education Slack channels. But, nevertheless, I found Progate, signed up an account, in hopes that this platform would have a better, more understandable teaching system that would make coding of all types, whether if it’s the simplest HTML to the more complicated Javascript than the previous ones I’ve taken. 2 I like videos, I like code-along practices, and I also like taking on code challenges, but sometimes they can be very overwhelming for me. In addition to that, as mentioned before, the setup of your local environment to get things going with the course can also be a roadblock, especially if your desktop or laptop may not have the required specs as it’s asked by the setting up of the language you learn, like Python or Ruby or even PHP.

When I first signed up for Progate, it only had two-course modules: HTML & CSS and Javascript. Even though I already knew HTML and CSS from some 10+ years ago from the college days, I still don’t have a strong grasp on HTML5 and CSS3. So, I decided to start my Progate learning from the beginning as a warmup and a refresher. I faded a little bit from there because life happened, but after trying to get back to coding again I found myself frustrated with the fast-paced courses that I previously enrolled in. So I ended up returning to Progate some several months (a year?) later. When I logged in for the first time, I was quite overwhelmed that their course choices increased. Progate now teaches plenty more, such as jQuery, Ruby & Ruby on Rails, 3 Python, Java, PHP, how to use the Command Line and Git/GitHub, and SQL. A new course will be coming soon on the Progate platform: Sass.

I was relieved again when I remembered that Progate doesn’t present their lessons through videos, but through interactive slides. Here’s an example below from the jQuery module:

Progate jQuery Interactive Slide
(I erased my name at the top right corner, you all should check out Progate by yourselves…)

Even though I was going through HTML & CSS again, I was happy to see that they have other concepts that I felt that I needed to seriously learn. RWD (Responsive Web Design) being one of them. Because Progate presents the lessons in interactive slides instead of videos, it was easy for me to take the time to read, analyze the illustrations, and even take notes on my notebook. I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to note-taking, and this was a huge help! Now I feel a lot more confident building layouts that are responsive for future sites without using any frameworks like Bootstrap. It also helps a lot with my WordPress theme development too.

No complicated setup on your computer required!

Just like Treehouse, Codeacademy, Code School, and other similar learning platforms, Progate also provide their own built-in IDE so you don’t have to set up your computer through complicated steps. Here’s how it looks like:

For practice, you also have the option to copy and paste the entire code to your favorite editor, but your work will count if you use their built-in editor and submit your results. You also get to level up your progress on the platform, which is a nice incentive also. If you do get stuck, you have the option to see the answer, however, you won’t be earning full points that would help you help up.

But also, be sure to contact Progate if you do run into problems. I’ve run into a few problems in which my results/answers would not get accepted by the platform, which turned out to be bugs. The staff are very friendly and are prompt to respond to all your inquiries, which is a huge plus.

Progate saved me from Javascript

I downloaded/purchased books, have taken a number of beginner Javascript uses, used Treehouse and Codeacademy and despite all that, I still didn’t understand a thing. A friend of mine suggested that I go backward by starting to learn jQuery before learning basic Javascript. I actually did that with FreeCodeCamp ages ago, 4 but I’ve gotten nowhere when I got to their Javascript section. I really wanted to earn that front-end (and full-stack) certificate that would help me get (back) into the web dev field. 5

I started Wes Bos’s #Javascript30 challenge after I completed Progate’s Javascript module. I then learned that on the first project alone that there are still concepts that I didn’t learn from Progate. Then I remembered learning a bit about ES6 from Treehouse and realized that #Javascript30 will have its vanilla Javascript scripted using ES6. Hopefully, Progate is working on putting up an update in their Javascript module about ES6, 6 as well as object-oriented programming, algorithms, and who knows, maybe another Javascript framework besides jQuery (React maybe?). Whatever Progate may have in store, I can’t wait to see what they come up next. Maybe Progate will have new modules for ES6, DOM, Object Oriented Programming with Javascript and everything else. Maybe they’ll even release a course on another Javascript framework aside from jQuery.

Introducing Progate Plus

Recently, Progate has launched the new subscription-based feature of their learning platform called Progate Plus. The free version will still be available, but it will only have 14 basic lessons included. The subscription-based version will have 48 lessons total (and possibly more as the course choices grow). I’m currently going through the trial period (lasting May 7 – 30) but I already decided to subscribe so I can have access to the more advanced exercises so I can practice and challenge myself with what I learned so far. I’m loving what I’ve seen so far.

The lessons are divided into two categories: Study and Dojo. The Study category is just that, the actual course that you go through and hands-on practice. The Dojo category is where the challenges begin and apply everything you’ve learned to build a project.

I recommend going through the free trial for those who are curious. Progate has a lot to offer and their approach isn’t as intimidating as some other platforms where some require you to at least be familiar with some terms you probably haven’t heard of in your life. At the moment, the English version 7 doesn’t have all of the courses available yet, but they are working on getting them up.

When the free trial period is up, you will be automatically charged $19.99 should you decide to stay with their Plus subscription form. Otherwise, you may cancel before the last day and stick to the free version.

… and the actual reason why I love Progate

As you can see through this blog’s theme, as well as the themes of all my other blogs linked here, I am a sucker for the kawaii 8 characters, 9 a sucker for the Japanese language and culture, 10 and a sucker for ninjas. In the programming and (web/software) development world, there are the rockstars and the ninjas. I prefer ninjas. 😎

Ken the Ninja and his pals, Ben the Baby and Mister White are so darn cute! Who wouldn’t wanna love these adorable ninja cuties? But, that aside, this proves that pairing up the kawaii with being a code master is very, very effective.

That’s why I came up with this learning blog name, NINPOJineous. 😁

On the sidenote…

  1. now owned by AWS.
  2. Plenty, like Code School, Udemy, Treehouse, Codeacademy, etc…
  3. I started Skillcrush‘s Ruby on Rails program last year but wasn’t able to finish it for obvious reasons…
  4. FreeCodeCamp is a really good learning platform in my opinion. I plan on returning to it soon once I settle myself down.
  5. and it’ll be such a good addition to my LinkedIn profile too…
  6. ES6 (ES2015) is the latest update for Javascript.
  7. Progate is made in Japan.
  8. “cute” in Japanese for those who are curious…
  9. I sometimes make my own kawaii characters too for theme purposes…
  10. I’m also participating in another #100DaysOf challenge involving refreshing the Japanese language…