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Codecademy’s Javascript Course Review

It’s been a few years since I had written any negative reviews.  I am about 87% of the way through Codecademy’sJavascript course and have learned a majority of the Javascript syntax just by taking their course alone. However, I didn’t learn a single thing about how to apply these Javascript codes to any real websites, nor did I learn anything about how to write any actual useful Javascript programs. What do I mean by that?

Let me give you an example of one of the programs they ask you to write while taking the course.

worst-code-ever

This program is supposedly the best they could come up with for a program that looks through a text and tells you if it found your name or not. If you don’t know anything about coding, and even if you do it will still probably take a while to analyze what’s going on in this code because it’s so bad, here’s what it does:

  1. It takes two inputs: any body of text and your name
  2. It keeps track of the first letter of your name and the length of your name
  3. Anytime it finds the first letter of your name, it saves that letter plus X characters after to a list. X being the total length of your name minus 1
  4. It will then return that list to you if your name was found, or return “your name wasn’t found” if it wasn’t found.

Here’s the problem with this. If you gave it these two inputs:
body of text: “Hello. My, my what a day”
Name: “Megg”

It will return [“M”, “y”, “, ” “];

and say that your name was found. The thing is, it didn’t find my name at all. It only looked for the first letter of my name, matching the capitalization, and took X characters afterwards. Lame.

Here’s my recreation of their lame program inside their own tutorial:victory-wrote-worst-code-ever

And this was the output result: my-name-perfectly-found

Wow, awesome. It was able to perfectly find my name! /sarcasm

Okay, this is me recreating a much much better program inside of a text document. Just because I was so curious at other ways this problem could be solved. better-code

There was no unnecessary nested for loops that had to be written for this, just simple one function, and it works perfectly. That’s the way you write a proper “find name within a given text” program, not in the way they gave.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that they provide this awesome service to millions who don’t know a thing about programming. But really, when you want to excite people who have never programmed before, asking them to create a broken program won’t make them excited to learn anything more.

Overall it was a great crash course for quickly learning the syntax and operations of the Javascript language, but completely terrible for learning how to code properly. This isn’t the only example of a really bad program they ask you to write, their course is riddled with them, but this one was one of the better examples of bad code they had you do, and I could not just pass up this opportunity to write about it.

Written on: 10/2/2016

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