Brand New to Coding-Attempting Projects-Is it bad to look at others source code?

Hello, I am essentially brand new to coding. I have gone through the first few sections of the coding tutorials (HTML, Bootstrap, Jquery) and now I am working on the projects.

The instructions say that you should not look at the source code of the example projects. I however feel like I essentially have no idea what I am doing, or where to even start without at least peaking at the examples source code. For example, on the first project “Build a Tribute Page” I started off my page by just using pure HTML and CSS. I was having trouble figuring out how to get my page to look like the example tribute page, so I cheated and looked at the examples source code. I immediately realized that the example tribute page was written almost entirely with Bootstrap styling. I then decided to try and match the example by using bootstrap elements.

From there, I did not just copy and paste the source code from the example. Instead I looked back at prior lessons, and also went to other websites with instructions on how to use bootstrap, and then from there tried my best to create a tribute page that was similar to the one in the example.

I know that I am “supposed” to be doing these projects from scratch, and not by just looking up how to accomplish what I want with bootstrap and html and css. However, I feel like at this point I do not really know enough about HTML or Bootstrap or CSS to actually make these first two simple projects from scratch.

Am I doing myself a disservice by looking at others projects and using their source code to make my own projects? When I say use, I don’t mean copy and pasting, but instead looking at how they have done it, and then trying to figure out how to apply similar code to my own projects.

Should I actually just be attempting to write it all from scratch? If I am having trouble figuring out how to even really get started purely from scratch, does that mean I lack the aptitude for web development? Or do most beginners complete the projects in a way similar to me, by peaking at others source code and then going from there?

That doesn’t sound bad to me at all. It’s normal that sometimes you just don’t know where to start or what is going on. The point is to make it as beneficial to you as possible, and it seems to me you’re doing everything for it to work that way.

(Incidentally I’m trying to start the Timestamp project and…I am totally, but totally clueless. I don’t even know how it relates to databases. I’ll go back to more tutorials but if it doesn’t do the trick I’ll probably have to take a peek. I’d like to avoid that though. Bottom line: you’re not alone!)

So you might want to look at tutorials like those of the > Net Ninja on Css, Bootstrap etc. It’s really quick to watch and sooooo helpful.

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Variations on this question come up at least once every couple of weeks.

And one of the more discussed/referenced threads on the subject:

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I’d take a step back and learn a little more. Especially if you have no idea what you’re doing. Try doing this:

and then

These cover a lot of ground that FCC skips over (and FCC covers ground these miss). Most importantly, by the end of it - if you actually do the work instead of skipping over to the next lesson - you’ll be comfortable with the challenge of building literally any static site. It should only take a couple of days.

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When I started FCC I was in the same boat: brand new to HTML/CSS. When I got to the tribute page I felt like I just jumped into the deep end of the pool. I decided to look at the code of the example project and that left me even more confused! So I took a step back and grabbed a course in Udemy (Rob Percival’s course if you’re curious). That helped me tremendously and I was able to come back to those first projects and complete them. So I would definitely suggest stepping back and exploring other resources and learning some more. I don’t think those little tutorials making that cat app really prepare on for the first series of ziplines. :slight_smile:

I think the consensus is that you shouldn’t look. it is a test after all which implies that you were in class and took notes and wrote down which chapters would be cover in a test.
the solution codes are provided to grade yourself.
with all that said, I’ve used the solution code to get out of my paralysis mode, after I thought I should have been able to tackle a problem (i just started here so I have got stumped yet

Thank you for the answers everybody! I need to get into the habit of searching for forum topics before I make my own posts and flood the boards.

I appreciate all the perspectives. I will try my best to not look at the source code from now on, at least until I am very stuck. I think for me I will just have to accept that my projects will not look identical to the example projects and that is okay.

I agree with the notion that the projects are supposed to be tests, but it sure is nice that these tests come with the biggest open book in world, or in this case search engines.