Andrew Pilsch Blog

My DHSI 2018 Course Description

13 Jun 2017

I am really excited to announce that I am on the schedule to teach at DHSI next year in Victoria. The class still has to make, of course, but otherwise it should be a go. According to Shawna, some people have been asking for the course proposal, so I thought I’d share it here.

The class will be a fairly advanced dip into contemporary JavaScript full-stack development practices, mostly focused on building the front-end of in-browser applications. Anybody planning to take the class should have some experience programming and be somewhat familiar with the command line (we’ll be using Node.js a lot!).

I’m excited about the class because DH application building has been fairly server-heavy, to-date, often relying on the LAMP stack or server-intensive Java applications. JavaScript isomorphic application design offloads a lot of processing to the client (which is increasingly powerful; even your iPhone!) and can be hosted in more minimal, distributed environments (such as Heroku and Amazon EC2).

Also, JavaScript is an awesome language that has a ton of applications.

I am very excited to share this course with the DH community and hope you’ll consider taking it!

The class will meet during the first week (June 4-8, 2018) of DHSI. If you are interested, please get in touch (either via email or Twitter).

The Frontend: Modern JavaScript + CSS Development

One Paragraph Summary

This course will introduce students to modern frontend web development technologies, specifically using the programming language JavaScript. As JavaScript becomes increasingly more powerful, a variety of powerful tools—including ES6, React, Redux, Immutable.js, and Webpack—are driving a paradigm shift in web development toward single-page applications. These data-driven websites do most of the work of rendering and serving web pages inside a user’s browser, with a minimal backend. This class assumes students have some experience with a programming language (Python), have used a text editor, and have encountered the command line. In this class, students can expect to learn how to build these kinds of powerful, portable apps for their own data-driven projects. The course will also introduce students to SASS, the powerful, programmable CSS engine that is widely used for cutting edge projects. By the end of the class, students can expect to be familiar with current best-practices for developing cutting-edge JavaScript applications that can be deployed in minimal server environments, such as Heroku, GitHub Pages, and Amazon EC2.

Association w/ Other DHSI Offerings

This is a hands-on course, small-workshop course (10-15 students) and will be considered programming intensive. This course requires programming and development experience, either through local experience or gained in Fundamentals of Programming/Coding for Human(s|ists) in conjunction with Drupal for Digital Humanities Projects, XML Applications for Historical and Literary Research, and/or Creating LAMP Infrastructure for Digital Humanities Projects.

Day-to-Day Overview (5 Days)

This schedule covers the topics that will be discussed in class on a given day. Students will also be given activities to experiment with, as we learn new technologies each day. Topics in bold will be the main focus of the day, while other topics will be discussed, time permitting.

  1. Getting Started w/ JavaScript
    • What is JavaScript?
    • How Can We Build a basic JavaScript App?
    • Installing Node & NPM
  2. Introduction to Package Management w/ NPM & Webpack; Getting outside data
    • NPM for package management
    • NPM Build Scripts / Gulp
    • Configuring Webpack and Building Module-driven Applications
    • Using Promises for asynchronous programming
    • Using AJAX & fetch to get external data
  3. Manipulating Data / Documents
    • Data-driven view components w/ React
    • ES6 Class & Template Syntax
    • How to build sustainable stylesheets w/ SASS
  4. Building Sustainable Applications
    • Feed-forward application infrastructure w/ Redux
    • ES6 Functional Syntax
    • Lodash / Ramda for functional programming
  5. Advanced Topics / Future Directions
    • Managing application state w/ Immutable Data
    • Advanced Redux (thunk, sagas, persistence)
    • Modularized CSS Development
    • PostCSS and the future of style

Andrew Pilsch


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