During our conversation, I discovered that some in the group had Ruby-on-Rails experience, but had found that Fredericton employment centered on .Net and Java skills. It was great just to chat about living and working here.
In the end, I decided to broaden my focus to include C# and jQuery, as these appear to be skills in demand.
To date, I still haven't completed the jQuery videos, as I keep getting distracted by other things. For instance, in looking into the CSS code, I discovered SCSS/SASS and thought it was awesome. When I looked up "gradient" features, I was put onto Compass - which looked awesome but I have yet to get gradients working with Compass. Eight hours working on Compass haven't yielded any results. ...Groan... Either I haven't got the API working correctly, or the "gradient" features are currently under construction... or both.
What have I learned through this whole process?
- I learn better with people around me. (Learning by myself, even with video tutorials, has gone against the grain of my learning style.)
- Just because the install and 'getting started' instructions SAY that it's really easy to use, these are usually written by an expert (or even the original developer) and often don't reflect a newbie's experience.
- Visual Studio Express can be a useful IDE, but has been significantly hobbled by Microsoft when they cut plug-in capability. (Yes, technically 'template' plug-ins still work. However, the plug-ins that matter, like Mindscape Web Workbench, that would have made SCSS/SASS awesome, don't.)
- With VSE2010 hobbled, you'll need to be familiar with the DOS command line and batch files, especially if you want SCSS/SASS to work. Very useful SCSS/SASS newbie instructions here (also good notes here and here.)
- So, with all of the above in mind, keep a good text editor around. I use all of these, at various times:
- Notepad++ (Windows only)
- VI, vim, gVIM (*nix, Windows)
- gEdit (*nix)
- edit (Windows command-line only, in a pinch)
Thanks to all of you who have recommended (over and over) to use TextMate. Now, if only I had the $$$ to get a new computer (i.e. Mac.....)