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Programming

Ladies Learning Code Edmonton: Learning Html, CSS and Javascript

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Photo by Kevan Morin (moreinmind.com)

On July 6th I had the privilege of mentoring a Ladies Learning Code Html/CSS session in Edmonton (I’m in front on the left! ). The Edmonton chapter was started up by the lovely Bree from BE3Designs (front and center) and the session was instructed by Pearl Chen (not featured above).

It was sooo much fun!!!

The event was hosted at the amazing facilities at Startup Edmonton.

In the Html/CSS class participants were taught to use basic Html to make their own personal website. The students were taught to organize and categorize using <body>, <section>, <div>, <p>, and other category tags. As well as add links and images using <img src=”image path”></img>, and <a href= “link url”></a> and the creations everyone came up with were really beautiful!! After a bit of CSS magic, learning classes, fonts, and hex codes we had 40 new front end web developers in the room with us.

I was shocked at how well the instructors translated the information, and how much a community structure encouraged and supported peers in the room. There were a large percentage of female mentors supporting an entirely female class. Also I was pleased to see the diversity of students present, there was an age range around 14 to 50+, women of various cultures, races, and identities present, all learning Html and CSS. I felt the usual trappings of a Computing Science classroom were stripped away by encouraging lots of one on one support from the mentors. Meaning there was no competitive expectations for students to just know or figure it out. Questions were welcome, and students were encouraged to seek support from their peers and mentors. Some students learned quickly and were hastily fiddling with the nuances of their CSS, and others followed the instructor and asked the mentors lots of questions. Either way, every student was engaged, participating and excelling.

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Photo by Kevan Morin (moreinmind.com)

It was glorious. I also learned a lot and I made friends who have similar skills and interests!

So how does this relate to Video Games?

Well now that you ask, the next session that is going on is teaching Javascript on Aug 17th 2013.

Javascript is:

an interpreted computer programming language. It was originally implemented as part of web browsers so that client-side scripts could interact with the user, control the browser, communicate asynchronously, and alter the document content that was displayed. More recently, however, it has become common in server-side programming, game development and the creation of desktop applications.JavaScript is a prototype-based scripting language with dynamic typing and has first-class functions. Its syntax was influenced by the language C. JavaScript copies many names and naming conventions from Java, but the two languages are otherwise unrelated and have very different semantics. The key design principles within JavaScript are taken from the Self and Scheme programming languages. It is a multi-paradigm language, supporting object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.

And you know what can be made with Javascript?

Games.

OOOOOhhhh yes. How you ask? (these rhetorical questions getting irritating yet?)

Lots of mobile platforms have Javascript ports, where games can be designed using Html5, CSS, and Javascript. For example Coco2D-Javascript which provides you with handy templates you can use with xCode to develop quick and easy mobile or browser games. Another fun open source package you can play with is EntityJS which you can get off github. Their homepage also describes how easy it is:

re.ready(function(){

	re.c('monster')
	.requires('image monster.png');

    re.load('monster.png')
    .complete(function(){

        re.sys.init('#canvas')
        .start();

        re.e('monster', 10)
        .each(function(){

       		this.posX = re.random(re.sys.sizeX);
          this.posY = re.random(re.sys.sizeY);
        });

        //find all monsters!
        re('monster').attr('health', 100);

    });

});

That was Simple

Now you see how easy it is to develop an Entity game. The whole system revolves around creating components and adding them to entites. In this way you can create reusable low coupling code. The quick guide went through all 5 of the core classes, Re, Component,Entity, Load, and finally Query. These classes are the back bone and power of the Entity engine, learn them well!

For more info take a look at the API. You can also checkout the tutorials.

However a big one is Unity. The Unity engine is a 3D engine that is used by a lot of developers and researchers. As well the scripting can be done in Javascript. 

Yes that’s right, these sessions are super important! They are equipping women with the skills required to succeed in technical industries, including games.

programmers

Women are dramatically underrepresented in the games industry –  it is estimated that 4% of programmers and engineers are women.

By teaching more women the skills they need to enter this industry we might increase female representation in the “Programmers and Engineers” sector. This also opens up more high-paying jobs to women.

So please support Ladies Learning Code in your area!! It is sooo important to provide women with the opportunity to learn these skills in an environment that doesn’t isolate and marginalize them.

Also here is the link for the Aug 17th Javascript session, and future sessions on the Ladies Learning Code website!

About the author / 

SarahBeck

Currently works as a software developer for Bioware. She has a BSc in Computing Science and enjoys JRPGS, anime, and Ruby on Rails. You can find her on Twitter at @essefbeck. All opinions expressed on this blog are her own, and do not represent Bioware or EA.

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