Join the Odin Community

Introduction

Working and collaborating with other people is an important part of working as a web developer. Therefore, we at The Odin Project encourage you to participate in our online chat community and forum, where we can all grow together and help each other learn web development. While you’re at it, you can check out our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and on Instagram.

Why a community is awesome for you

Learning web development will be a long and arduous journey, but you can make the marathon a lot more fun by pairing up with others. Connecting with fellow learners is a great way to bounce ideas off each other and motivate one another to keep going. Furthermore, helping others that are a few steps behind you is a great way to deepen your own understanding and make your learning stick.

When you’re slogging through the desert of despair, where your code doesn’t work or even make sense to you anymore, you can find an oasis of knowledge and encouragement in our community. Veterans at The Odin Project love to help fill in knowledge gaps and provide new insights and perspectives on how to improve your code. We’ve all been there before!

Remember that project you struggled so hard to figure out and that you’re so proud of finishing? Through our community, you will get to share your work and progress with those who fully appreciate how much hard work went into it.

Why a community is awesome for Odin

We are working hard to update existing lessons and produce new content, so we would love to hear your feedback on the lessons and projects. We hope you find the lessons fun, engaging, and informative and find the projects challenging but achievable. So please let us know your thoughts!

Before asking for help

As most of the projects are designed to push you to your limit, please remember that there is always a community to turn to! You don’t need to know how to solve every problem straight away, BUT you do need to have a general idea of where you are going. This becomes really important when asking your questions because sometimes the problem is your approach and not your code.

If you’re feeling stuck, it’s a good time to pause and take a breather. Break the problem down into little pieces and then decide what is really holding you back. We call this technique rubber duck debugging.

You should also do a Google search to find relevant information for your problem. Read about how to use Google to solve your programming questions. You can also look back at previous lessons for tools that you can apply to the current task.

If these methods don’t yield a solution for you, then it’s time to reach out to the Odin community and ask for help.

Asking for help

So you’ve spent some time struggling to solve the problem on your own, and now it’s time to fire up the Odin Discord and ask for help. The first thing to keep in mind is don’t ask to ask. While this a simple idea (with a pretty catchy motto!), it can help you get answers to your questions much faster and will make it easier to others to feel comfortable offering you help.

In addition, when you ask your questions, you should help the community help you by putting together a great question.

When asking your question, please remember to include the context:

  • What do you think the problem is?
  • What exactly do you want to happen?
  • What is actually happening?
  • How did you get there?
  • What have you tried so far?

If you can’t pinpoint the problem, you can share a screenshot. This is especially useful for showing the output of commands in the command line. In Discord, drag and drop your screenshot image file into the chat box to upload it or simply use the PrtScn and paste keyboard shortcuts. In the forums, hit the ‘Upload’ button on a new reply. If you don’t know how to take a screenshot on your computer, this is a good time to ask Google.

If the puzzle still can’t be solved, push your project to GitHub or put your code in a repl.it so that others can comb through and debug the code. You’ll learn all about GitHub very soon.

Formatting your questions

Asking your questions in a readable format helps everyone debug them better. Here are some ways to go about that:

If you’re having trouble on the command line, make sure to include both your input and the error message you’re getting.

In the chat rooms and forums, code can be displayed differently from normal sentences by using backticks (``), which can be found above the Tab key on US and UK keyboards. Backticks are not the same as single quotation marks (‘’), which are found to the left of the Enter key.

For a single line of code:

`#use one backtick at both ends`

For multiple lines of code:

```

#use three backticks on a separate line ABOVE your code

Your Code

#use three backticks on a separate line BELOW your code

```

In Discord, you can also use code highlighting to add color to your code by specifying the language:

```javascript

Your Colorful Code

```

Chat features

  • Have fun with giphys: type /giphy hi to say hi to everyone.
  • Type /help for more information on chat commands.
  • Show your appreciation to those who help you with @username ++.
  • Don’t forget to visit all the available rooms!

Forum features

  • The forum supports embedded ‘replits.’ These are essentially runnable bits of code. They’re great for sharing code to get help or feedback. You’ll learn more about this later.
  • As you spend time in the forums helping others or being helped, your trust level will slowly go up, and you’ll unlock more functionality.

Assignment

  1. First, create a free GitHub account. As you will discover, GitHub is an integral part of the development workflow.
  2. Use your GitHub account to sign up for the TOP forum. Jump in and introduce yourself in the introductions category. Tell us your story! Where are you from? What made you aspire to become a web developer? What are your hopes and dreams? We encourage you to keep on sharing your thoughts AND your code. We also have forum categories for asking for help, working on Odin, and hanging out.
  3. Finally, sign in to our Discord server. Pop in and say hello! We’re always happy to welcome new community members. We have chat rooms for every development topic covered by Odin and beyond. Log into the chat and start exploring!

Web Development 101

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