While fiddling with my HTML experiments, I start feeling the need to keep different versions around and the desire to undo experiments (successes and failures both.)
I hadn’t planned to dive into version control for a while longer, but this is enough of a motivation for me to dive in starting with the Codecademy “Learn Git” class.
This class has significantly less hand-holding than the last few Codecademy classes I took, and almost no repetition. It also doesn’t go into a reasons why you are doing what you are doing in a class. As a result, I felt this class would not be a good introduction for a raw beginner.
To successfully complete this class, the student needs to:
- Be comfortable with a command line.
- Already know why you’d want to use version control.
- Navigate the in-class environment without instructions.
The last one was annoying. At one point in the class, the student is expected to open a file in the virtual work environment to be edited, but there was no instruction on how to do so.
The class worked perfectly for me – I could handle the above bullets, and the lack of repetition meant I was never bored. The lack of hand-holding meant I had to occasionally look up git commands on my own, or hunt around the UI of the work environment, but it wasn’t bad. I’m just not sure it’s good starting place for a coding beginner.
Setting aside the class material for now: the class implementation was interesting. I had expected the class learning environment to be merely a facade. Something that only accepts text input in the exact order required in the instructions. It turns out not to be the case – it appears to be a real (though restricted) instance of bash, connected to (a limited set of) git commands. I could issue any valid commands in the environment, and they would run!
Of course, if I veer off the course I couldn’t go to the next step, but I was impressed that they have created a sandbox for the student to play in.