But I think it’s important to have a plan. Like the old saying goes, “weeks of programming can save you hours of planning.” Either or on paper or in your head, sketch out what you think the page should look like. Then write the HTML to get things arranged in the top-down way that you need. Then add CSS to make it look pretty. I think as you get better, you can plan a little more on the fly and know when you need strict planning and when you can just code in a Kerouacian stream of consciousness, but in the beginning, err on the side of planning.
Don’t let a fear of making mistakes paralyze you with fear. On more than a few of these projects I’ve gotten halfway into it and had to start over. Every mistake is a chance to learn. If you aren’t making mistakes, then you’re too much in your comfort zone. You’ll learn more from making a couple failed attempts before succeeding than from timidly working your way to a solution.
People often get stumped on this first project. Relax. It’s completely normal. This is my standard advice:
I think one of the great lessons from the movie The Martian is that when you are confronted with a problem to large to comprehend, break it into smaller pieces and work those problems. Don’t think that you need to visualize the entire problem all at once – that’s for the pros. Just take on one little problem at a time. Keep breaking things up into smaller problems until you get down to a problem small enough to handle.
Let’s look through the user stories.
- User Story: I can view a tribute page with an image and text.
OK, can you create a web page in codepen? Do you know how to add text? Don’t move on until you can. Can you add an image? Don’t move on until you can. Do you know how to manipulate and format these? Don’t move on until you can. Seriously, don’t move on until you can do any of these steps.
- I can click on a link that will take me to an external website with further information on the topic.
Do you know how to put a link into a web page?
My advice is to break things into small problems and test them. Don’t get too complicated too fast. Don’t make 10 changes at once until you’re a good enough coder to do that. Make one change and test. Make another change and test. Etc. And don’t get too complicated if you don’t need to.
Research those small problems and test them. Read-search-ask - it’s a great motto. If you get to the point where you are stumped, then ask the forum, but be specific. Don’t say “I’m stumped on this build.” Say, “I can’t figure out how to put a link into a page.” Ask for small, specific problems and you’ll get better results. (And you could probably google that first and get 1000 results.)
Lastly, see what others have done. Yes, you can look at other people’s pages. Obviously try for yourself first, but if you’re stuck, see how someone else did it. As long as you understand what they did, you’re still learning.
Just keep it simple. You can go back and spruce it up later. This is what I did. I fully intend to go back and clean it up and improve it later, but its good enough for now.
Relax. Go back to basics. Ask specific questions.