After completing the Codecademy jQuery class, I felt I had a decent overview but wanted more depth. I found that the jQuery project offers a jQuery Learning Center. I’ll likely write a dedicated post once I’m done, but that’s not today.

After reading a certain amount of documentation, I start feeling out of touch with the concepts: Too much theory and not enough practice. I tried to create a small project to play with jQuery but I made rookie mistakes with basic boilerplate, wasting a lot of time instead of learning.

That’s when I remembered something I saw while reading documentation for the Facebook React project: JSFiddle. I don’t have enough understanding to use React yet, but they embedded JSFiddle in their documentation so people can play with code as they go.

A fresh fiddle already has the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript all properly linked up. To use a framework or extension like jQuery, selecting from a drop-down box activates it with no fussing with tags, links, or URLs. Once the code snippets have been typed in, a click on “Run” will render to the output window. No upload to web server necessary.

This is a huge advantage when testing small pieces of code. No need to get bogged down in repetitious boilerplate, just focus on the interesting bits. I had a great time putting the various bits of theory into practice.

A downside for me was that debugging got messy. When I’m debugging just my own HTML with the browser’s built-in debugging tools, I have only a tiny bit of code to examine and all of it is mine.

But when I launch the browser debug tools on a fiddle, the debugger puts the whole JSFiddle page under examination. Even though my code is only a tiny part of the page. It gets tiresome trying to separate out my item of interest from everything else going on with the JSFiddle page.

But still, JSFiddle looks like a great tool for experimentation.

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