Meet Our Expert: Danny Kirschner, Web Development Immersive Instructor, GA Boston
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A cross-platform front-end framework, AngularJS expands HTML’s capabilities to help power dynamic web applications.
An API, or application programming interface, is a set of rules that determine how programs can interact with one another. These rules allow programmers to design their programs to work together to do more than either program could do separately.
Calvin Tan, a Front-End Web Development instructor at GA Singapore, says, “CSS, which stands for Cascading Style Sheets, is the language that sets the appearance of a website, including its fonts, color, and layout. It is a companion to the HTML language: HTML provides the content of a website, and CSS enhances the styling of the HTML content. Besides being used to create visually engaging websites, CSS is often used to enhance the aesthetics of user interfaces for web and mobile applications.
"In General Assembly’s part-time Front-End Web Development (FEWD) course, our full-time Web Development Immersive course, and our online HTML, CSS & Web Design course, students learn how to write CSS syntax and link it effectively with HTML files. We also break down the most commonly used CSS properties, such as styling of text and background images. Students learn how to style multiple elements or a smaller group of elements through the use of classes, IDs, advanced selectors, and pseudo-selectors, and delve into creating layouts by using margins and paddings, floats, and positioning using flexbox. By the end of these courses, students are equipped with a firm understanding of CSS and the ability to create a visually appealing, interactive website that responds to various mobile or tablet devices."
“In General Assembly’s full-time Web Development Immersive and part-time Front-End Web Development courses, students learn DOM by visiting jQuery-enabled websites like CSS-Tricks and using the console to alter the pages in front of them. Changing all of the titles to some goofy text gives students a sample of the power of this tool. Students also dive into and read the jQuery documentation to find out about the most useful DOM manipulation methods.”
Read “A Beginner’s Guide to DOM Manipulation” by Cory Fauver.
Helpful for building web APIs, web apps, and more, the open-source Express framework was designed for use in the Node.js development environment.
A go-to tool for collaboration, Git is an open-source version control program. By tracking changes and preserving file histories, it helps developers collaborate on coding projects without overwriting one another’s progress.
Using the cloud-based GitHub platform, developers can manage Git repositories, share and review code, and even host open-source projects.
Danny Kirschner, a Web Development Immersive instructor at GA Providence, says, “Heroku is a platform as a service (PaaS) that enables developers to deploy, scale, and manage their applications without the need to set up and administer their own servers. It’s used at small startups and large-scale companies alike to get applications running on a server. Heroku manages many aspects of server administration, infrastructure, and development operations (DevOps), so that application developers can focus on what matters most to them: building their apps. Heroku handles many of the difficult parts of building and running your own web server, such as patching and upgrading systems, 24/7 operations and security, deploying applications, and scaling to meet demand.
“General Assembly takes advantage of the Heroku platform to host Ruby, Ruby on Rails, and Node.js applications so that our Web Development Immersive and Web Development Immersive Remote developers can quickly build and deploy their work to the web. Throughout the course, developers learn how to deploy their applications to Heroku by setting up the Heroku toolbelt on their computers, integrating Heroku commands into their workflow, and managing deployed applications in the Heroku dashboard.”
The latest version of Hypertext Markup Language expands its capabilities, offering cleaner code, mobile browser considerations, and support for video and audio content that previously required third-party APIs.
A bedrock of digital communication, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol — commonly known as HTTP — allows web pages (and other text data) to be transferred over the internet, forming the foundation of the World Wide Web.
MongoDB is a document-oriented NoSQL database program. Its advantages include scalability, dynamic querying, and the ability to handle a variety of data structures. Developers often pair it with Express to create efficient server-side applications.
Model-View-Controller, or MVC, is a framework for structuring logical, scalable applications. This framework separates application responsibilities into one of three categories: managing data (model), creating responses for the user (view), and handling top-level application logic (controller).
NoSQL (Not Only SQL) refers to the category of databases that use some other kind of architecture than tables and rows for storing and manipulating data. Generally they are less structured than relational (SQL) databases, trading off some rigor and reliability for greater flexibility and speed.
Danny Kirschner, a Web Development Immersive instructor at General Assembly's Providence and Boston campuses, says, “Ruby on Rails, commonly known as Rails, is a server-side framework that helps developers build modern web applications. It is written in the Ruby programming language and makes programming web applications easier by making certain assumptions about what every developer needs in order to get their application up and running. As an open-source software, anyone can view, edit, and contribute to the source code. Rails is an opinionated software designed for developer happiness and to help small and large companies launch fast, affordable, production-ready applications.
“In General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive and Web Development Immersive Remote, we introduce Rails as a modern web application framework. Developers utilize Rails to act as the back-end server for their full-stack applications. This means students learn to use Rails as the application programming interface, or API, with the ability to handle incoming requests, model and validate data, communicate with the database, and send data back in a response. By learning how to build web applications using Ruby on Rails, new developers gain experience creating and consuming APIs.”
A popular resource for developers, the ReactJS library — developed by Facebook — helps developers to easily build nimble, flexible user interfaces through its modular component-based architecture. React has helped usher in a paradigm shift in front-end web development thanks to its speed and use of declarative programming.
Phil Bolles, User Experience Design instructor at GA Washington, D.C., says, “Responsive web design — the design of layouts and hierarchies that preserve visual emphasis and change as a screen changes size — has reshaped the modern web. We now think of the web as a spectrum, a range of screen widths corresponding to a wide range of devices. A website shouldn’t care whether the user is viewing it on a phone, laptop, or flat-screen TV via a Playstation 4. Instead, a website should respond to its viewer’s screen width, preserve content structure even as the layout changes, and maintain readability at any size — all of which leads to a positive user experience.
“In GA’s full-time User Experience Design Immersive and part-time User Experience Design course, instructors frequently challenge students to think about how their digital products will look at different screen sizes and give them tips on maintaining visual priority. Recognizing that they can’t guarantee which device their audience uses, students learn to think of the web as fluid. When it comes to bringing responsive designs to life, you can learn the fundamentals in our part-time Front-End Web Development course or online HTML, CSS & Web Design course, or launch a career building seamless, responsive websites in GA’s full-time Web Development Immersive or Web Development Immersive Remote program.”
Read “A Beginner’s Guide to Responsive Design” by Phil Bolles.
Developers turn to Ruby to tackle a variety of programming tasks, favoring this object-oriented programming language for its easy-to-read syntax and usability. It’s typically paired with the Rails web application framework.
Michael Larner, a Data Analytics instructor at General Assembly Los Angeles, says, "Put simply, SQL is the language of data — it’s a programming language that enables us to efficiently create, alter, request, and aggregate data from those mysterious things called databases. It gives us the ability to make connections between different pieces of information, even when we’re dealing with huge data sets. Modern applications are able to use SQL to deliver really valuable pieces of information that would otherwise be difficult for humans to keep track of independently. In fact, pretty much every app that stores any sort of information uses a database. This ubiquity means that developers use SQL to log, record, alter, and present data within the application, while analysts use SQL to interrogate that same data set in order to find deeper insights.
"At General Assembly, we know businesses are striving to transform their data from raw facts into actionable insights. To accomplish this, we give students the opportunity to use SQL to explore real-world data such as Firefox usage statistics, Iowa liquor sales, or Zillow’s real estate prices. Our full-time Data Science Immersive and part-time Data Analytics courses help students build the analytical skills needed to turn the results of those queries into clear and effective business recommendations. On a more introductory level, after just a couple of hours of in one of our SQL workshops, students are able to query multiple data sets with millions of rows."