Frustrated And Lost - Need Advice

I started FCC and flew through the HTML, Bootstap and Jquery sections with no problem. My tribute page was pretty simple and I was feeling pretty confident but now that I’m on the portfolio page I feel completely lost. I have no idea where to start. I’m looking at other portfolio pages and it has completely discouraged me. I’m getting confused with incorporating bootstrap with Jquery. A lot of times I can’t overide Bootstrap with my own css. I’ve been using the read-search-ask method (theres about 30 tabs open) but it’s almost like an overload of information.

I guess I’m mostly venting but if anyone has any advice on what approach I should take. Is there a certain order I should write out my code? I just feel like I’m all over the place. I have no idea what to do. I feel like everything I try doesn’t work. I can’t even get past the Nav bar.

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First take a deep breath. :slight_smile:

You might need a break if it’s too overwhelming. Otherwise you need to break your problems/questions down into smaller chunks and solve them one at a time.

Maybe start here: “A lot of times I can’t overide Bootstrap with my own css.”

I’ve struggled with that too in the past, but generally you just need to make sure you’re being really exact in what you’re trying to over-ride. Do you have a specific example we could help you with?

Do you know how to use the element inspector in the dev tools to see the styles on each element?

edit to add: also, you might not need bootstrap at all, though it’s still good to know how to do the over-riding. Also, the portfolio is a big job if you want to make a really good job of it and I think it might be better left until later.


The topic you are looking for is “CSS specificity” and it’s point system. CSS has very exacting rules of what overrides what, and it has to do with the specificity of the selectors involved.

Yes, it is verrrry frustrating. But there is a rhyme and reason to it.

As Richard asks, do you have a specific example?

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The portfolio page can be frustrating. If you find that you’re constantly trying to override Bootstrap, you might want to determine whether you should even use it. Also ask yourself why you’re using Bootstrap. However, it is important to know how to override it.

In terms of overriding, remember the following:

  • Classes are more important than tags (e.g. h1, p, etc), so a class rule will override an element rule (e.g. .my-style {color: blue;} overrides p {color: red;} if my-style is applied to the p tag in the HTML

  • IDs override classes, so assigning an arbitrary id to the HTML body tag or outermost div tag might do the trick. Then in your CSS, you’ll define your rules in terms of that id (e.g. #my-special-styles p {color: blue;} #my-special-styles h1 {font-size: 2em;} )

  • You can also override by using the exact same selector that Bootstrap is using and defining your own style rules. This will work as long as the interpreter sees your CSS after Bootstrap’s.

I chose to make my page using HTML, CSS and JS/jQuery only as I found that I’d constantly be overriding Bootstrap to get what I wanted, which defeated the purpose of using it for me.

Also, in terms of designing the page, try to make your life easy. Draw it on paper first. Then attack the layout (HTML, CSS). Once you’re happy with the layout, add your content. Lastly, add JS/jQuery if necessary. Trying to add everything at once can be really frustrating and depending on what you’re trying to do, it might make it harder to figure out where you’ve made a mistake.


When coding involves, everyone is lost and frustrated, just at a different rate at a time :smile:, I know sometimes it feels like everybody is moving forward and you aren’t, don’t worry, for you are among us. @r1chard5mith wrapped it up pretty nicely though, couldn’t have said it that well myself.

I just started too and currently on the APIs section (pulling information from other servers to use in your code), when I first started, I couldn’t even make a successful request, which could be done in a line of code if using JQuery shorthand. It was really frustration. After like 6 hours I found out I am not suppose to do it on my local laptop but rather from a server or allowed domain (like CodePen).

Point being, in my opinion, it is not your fault, it is just that you haven’t learned to do it yet, the moment I stopped bashing my head in for “not knowing something I haven’t come across even once in my life” (aka “dumb” at the time), things started to look up :grin:.

You are making the Portfolio so I guess you are dominantly dealing with CSS and HTML. My experience when making the portfolio is that:

-If I imagine that CSS, HTML elements and tags are just pieces of legos (demonic, destructive, pain-inducing pieces of legos, but still, you know…, lego-like) that I used to play when I was a kid and they are there, I just need to put it together, the task seems easier.

-It is easy to fall into telling yourself to read my books, read more guides, but I have found just jump into it (of course, Google along the way) provides you extreme in-depth understanding of the aspect you are dealing with (and you will remember it for a long time too, unlike pure book-reading), that in time kind of form go-to techniques that you prefer.

-Keep the head cool and solve things one at a time, it will unveil itself eventually.

Hope this helped.


If you find that you’re constantly trying to override Bootstrap, you might want to determine whether you should even use it.

Or the opposite angle would be to ask “why do you need to override Bootstrap”?

It’s easy to get lost in bike shedding little details that aren’t very important. Maybe the Bootstrap defaults are good enough for now. Maybe instead of diving deep, deep, into CSS, you could just accept the Bootstrap defaults and settle for “good enough for now, for my current level of knowledge” and move on. Sometimes beginners get paralyzed with a feeling of need to control every single issue down to the pixel. That can come later.

There certainly are ways to do it without Bootstrap. But the advantage of using it is that it is quick and easy. But if you want Svengali like control over each pixel, then it is not what you want. You can learn to swim against the current later. For right now, just learn how to float.

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Okay guys lets not sit here and say “it will be okay” and tell personal stories that no one cares about. Lets sort through the issues and see what is wrong.

This happened’s too much on FCC, people just spam replies of there own stories instead of sorting out the issue itself.

My suggestion:

Some people on FCC were programmers even before they started, so that is why they look so good. Don’t get discouraged, i looked up a tutorial by pizzapokerguy (on youtube) and he walks through building a html.

Start off small, don’t get in over your head.

I don’t think it is wrong to step back and talk about the issue as a whole. If someone is trying to use a hammer to drive in a screw, it is fair to ask if he is thinking properly. And talking about personal stories can be useful as moral boosters.

I agree, but the OP hasn’t asked specific enough questions to get at those. I would suggest to @Gmar07 to do exactly that - open up new threads and ask very specific questions. Show us the exact code you’re using (a link to a pen is even better), tell us what you want to do, and tell us how you want it to do better. I don’t know how to help with “I can’t even get past the Nav bar.” Vague questions get vague answers and specific questions get specific answers.

@Gmar07 - there are hundreds of people he who have had whatever exact issue you are having. If you show us exactly what problem you are having, you will get a lot of useful answers. Even if not, there are guys here that won’t be able to sleep until they find a solution to your problem and will enjoy figuring it out. But we have to see exactly what you are trying to do. There are dozens of ways to build a navbar and we can’t guess which one you are trying or any of the hundreds of problems you could be having.

Always excellent advice. To that I would add, “test as you go.” Make small changes and test as you go. Don’t get too fancy until you’re ready.

I don’t know what you mean by this. Isn’t that basically how people communicate? How do you know that no one cares about them? Is everybody else necessarily exactly like you?

All of the replies above yours seem to offer at least some specific advice about css - I suggested checking developer console, @kevinSmith gave “css specificity” as a useful search term, @rdhi explained some of the specific css rules and @LanceHuynh suggested another way to think about the problem.

I don’t see how your contribution…

…is any different from ours, except that we all mentioned css and bootstrap. Aren’t you just telling a “personal story no one cares about”?

Thanks guys! I know I didn’t give too much example. At the time I was just so frustrated and needed to vent honestly lol. Even with no example you all still gave me great advice. I took a step back for a day to think about what my issues were and to re-evaluate my approach. I tend to be somewhat of a perfectionist and was trying to make my portfolio page perfect on the first try. Like @kevinSmith said, I was trying to control every issue down to the pixel. I now see that’s riduclous for just starting and I’m only setting myself up to go crazy lol. I’m going to take @kevinSmith advice and make my portfolio with default bootstrap and to edit as time goes on and I learn more. Looking back now It’s so obvious to me that I was trying to do way too much. At the time I had been at it for hours. And with all the information on the internet and 40 tabs I had open I felt like I had all the answers in front of me though I couldn’t see them which was driving me crazy lol.

Thank you all! You all gave great advice which really helped and put things into perspective for me. I guess I didn’t realize that I needed to learn how to learn and what works for me. And @LanceHuynh You’re leggo analogy really changed the way I look at it now. It really makes it seem so simple.

I tend to be somewhat of a perfectionist … I was trying to control every issue down to the pixel. … Looking back now It’s so obvious to me that I was trying to do way too much.

But don’t think that those are necessarily bad impulses. There are going to be times when pixel perfect perfectionism will serve you well. But there will also be times when “just get something on the screen that looks decent” will be enough or even ideal. It’s all about picking your battles and knowing when each approach is appropriate, or (as in most cases) finding the right balance.