3 Comments

  1. carlheaton9898

    What Bob says at 30 mins about the pain points is something I really feel as well. We have a web design school here in Bangkok and teach on a daily basis and it is always hard to tell someone “we can’t do this in a class, this will take us 3 months to learn the JS/PHP/Codex to create this or you need to hire a developer”

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    • Rick

      Programming simply depends on the complexity of the tasks at hand.

      Learning to program is not hard at all short of perhaps Assembler as one is dealing with the CPU registers, addressing modes (how the CPU accesses RAM memory) and its step by step execution.

      But high level languages really are not that difficult to learn such as PHP, C++, C#. “Logic is Logic”.

      For example if/then/else conditions or variables or objects. Syntax (keyword names can vary but tend be similar). For example, PHP does a foreach loop like:

      foreach($bigSomething as $littleSomething) { echo $littleSomething[“thing”]; }

      C# on the other hand:

      foreach(bigSomething in littleSomething { System.Console.WriteLine(littleSomething[0]); }

      Point being, logic wise code is code and usually quite similar.

      Once you have one language underfoot as long as its not something radically unusual other common languages are much simpler to learn.

      Its understanding how to fir code together in logic of input in -> output out and in the case of say WordPress how all the functions and structure of WordPress operates. Thats often more troublesome that learning a language.

      In Windows, well… There are so many libraries (groupings of like code) accessible to a programmer that its overwhelming. But there also is a complete help system ready to assist in literally an instant called Intellisense. Contrary to popular belief its actually easier to write a Windows Application with Microsofts Visual Studio (or a web app) than it is to say use PHPStorm with a LAMP stack because the development environment is so tightly integrated.

      So really its not difficult at all to learn to program, whats more troublesome is how to apply what one learns and that comes by just writing code. Lots of people claim to be programmers but in order to be a programmer one needs write code. It doesnt write itself at least not yet.

      Its been kicked around several times. I’ve taught in continuing education classes both how a computer actually works (in general basic form) as well as programming both beginning and advanced. I’ve went into middle schools and taught.

      I’ve been asked to do it online but setting up a site for that purpose more or less working to drive traffic to it… Eh.

      Now the issue of “Design” .vs. “Programming” is one of the blurs in alot of web applications. WP for example has PHP mixed in with HTML for theme templates. Some PHP applications use a templating extension such as “Smarty” to separate core code from display. But, Smarty itself has a base language as well. It DOES make things simpler. Data is essentially registered with the Template engine and then used in output(s).

      In Windows software there can be a complete separation of this using WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation). So user interface people do their thing while programmers do their thing. Programmers themselves tend “overthink” user interfaces. With ASP.NET it has a template engine as well called “Razor” and it too suffers from the ability to remove said code from presentation but it is far more natural to programming than interspersing all over the place and its VERY fast.

      For example:

      @foreach(var row in db.Query(ourSQLQueryString))
      {

      @row.Id
      @row.AutomobileManufacturer
      @row.AutomobileName
      @row.AutomobilePrice

      }

      Anyone can readily see what is being mapped to C# code, inputs and outputs.

      C# is compiled, so all that “text” is not gobbled into memory such as “AutomobileManufacturer” but instead sits in a Symbol Table not eating down ram to hold the identifier.

      PHP will presumably tokenize it instead but I may be wrong there.

      Point all being for ALOT of stuff where webmasters hire a developer for simple customizations they could do themselves with just a bit of knowledge.

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  2. John Biddle

    While listening to your podcast and your discussion with Bob Dunn about the problem with people overusing “WordPress is Easy”. You also alluded to an issue with new users getting distracted fom important things while fooling with sexy ones and getting nowhere. I had an idea which could help with those problems.

    Suppose there were 4 different versions of the admin panel, beginner, intermediate, advanced, and master, and a button to switch among them. The beginner version would be restricted to the things that are most fundamental, to eliminate the more complicated or less fundamental items from becoming a distraction. You’d have posts and pages, but not plugins. Themes might have a couple built in to chose from, but no way to download. As the noob user accomplished things they’d build up points behind the scene, and when they hit the button to switch to intermediate, they would be given an advisory scorecard that itemized the things they’ve done out of the list of the things they need to know how to do, and if they didn’t score well enough they’d be gently encouraged to stay in beginner mode and learn those things they haven’t yet done. This is optional, of course, they can just ignore it and go on.

    Each level of the admin panel would have two colors for tasks, with all tasks in any lower levels one color and the new ones added in the new level a different color. Upon moving to the next level up, more would go to the “done, or understood” color and new tasks would appear in the “learning” color. During install there could be an option for which level to start at.

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