AIM Code School


Interface Coding Journey – 7 Weeks In


It’s shocking we’re already done with week 7. (How did that happen?!) Now that we’re over half way through the course, it’s amazing to look back at how much we’ve covered. And it’s equally amazing (i.e. somewhat intimidating) to look ahead at the next five weeks and measure up what I hope to still accomplish.

In the past couple weeks our class has focused on PHP, MySQL and the basics of building a WordPress site from scratch. I find this to be an especially fun stretch in the course because what we’re essentially doing is tying everything together; taking independent languages, markups and tools and dissecting how and why they interact in WordPress.

[codepen_embed height=”300″ theme_id=”0″ slug_hash=”LpXvKK” default_tab=”result” user=”sgput”]See the Pen <a href=’’>#codevember 01 Sunburst Flora</a> by Spencer Putnam (<a href=’’>@sgput</a>) on <a href=’’>CodePen</a>.[/codepen_embed]

New [Code]Pen I created while experimenting with layering and offset techniques. Much to my surprise this became a “Picked Pen” (i.e. featured on CodePen’s homepage) one day which was cool in itself and as an added bonus led to more interaction with developers on Twitter and elsewhere online.


Flywheel Front-end Software Engineer Trevan Hetzel stopped by the class last week for a guest lecture about site performance and optimization which I was psyched about after finding his blog a few weeks back. I could write a 10-page post about his lecture and would only be skimming the surface of what was covered.

In summary: Trevan’s presentation (which, he noted, is based on a talk he gives to advanced pro devs) was fast, technical and chock-full of best practices. It was awesome and my fingers could barely keep up taking notes in Evernote to review and research later. My reaction to his presentation was equal parts 1) Sweet, I didn’t know that! 2) Wow, really cool technique, good to know. and 3) forehead-slap-I-can’t-believe-I’ve-been-doing-that-wrong-for-years.

Flip and Reverse: JS vs/+ jQuery

Most developers have an opinion related to whether you should learn JavaScript or jQuery first. I opined in a past post about why I thought jQuery was the way to go. Now I’m doubling back on that.

Updated opinion: it doesn’t matter whether you learn JavaScript or jQuery first, trust your gut and dive into what you gravitate to.

Different strokes for different folks. I’m enjoying incrementally building more complicated/effective things with jQuery while simultaneously trying to build the same thing with only Javascript and loving the challenge. SIDENOTE: Really enjoying JavaScript: Understanding the Weird Parts which I found on Udemy.


“Learning to code” has become a widely familiar buzz-phrase in recent years. Can’t say I don’t get it – I’m the one taking a coding class and writing about it. No doubt, programming skills are good to have. Computer science basics, design-thinking and problem-solving mixed in? Even better. But, wait…what’s the best way to learn?

“Best” is the keyword coding forums/sites/articles are drenched in. I think best is the wrong way to think about learning anything. Fact: everybody learns differently and environmental factors also play a huge role. So, I’m actively working to delete “best” from entering my mind and replacing it with “effective”.

[codepen_embed height=”268″ theme_id=”0″ slug_hash=”ZbwRQv” default_tab=”result” user=”sgput”]See the Pen <a href=’’>#codevember 03 Middle School Screensaver</a> by Spencer Putnam (<a href=’’>@sgput</a>) on <a href=’’>CodePen</a>.[/codepen_embed]

CodePen experiment #2


Last week I realized I was deeply entrenched in doing exactly what I promised myself I wouldn’t do during this course: study a ton while not applying what I’d learned by building something every single day.

Here enters CodePen, the interwebz’ favorite front-end playground. Frustrated that I’d fallen into the absorbing-without-doing wormhole, I hopped online a few days in a row and started experimenting which resulted in the above pens and the following:

[codepen_embed height=”300″ theme_id=”0″ slug_hash=”vNvXqY” default_tab=”result” user=”sgput”]See the Pen <a href=’’>#codevember 02 Raindropping</a> by Spencer Putnam (<a href=’’>@sgput</a>) on <a href=’’>CodePen</a>.[/codepen_embed]

New pen inspired by Josh Collinsworth’s rad Pure CSS Animated Calendar Icon.