23 Good websites to learn coding for free

Here is a good mix of front-end and back-end programming websites for beginners. A lot of these sites provide an interactive learning experience meaning you can try out what you learn. And that is the best way to learn programming.

  1. codecademy.com – Interactive coding tutorials.
  2. codecombat.com – Play a game and learn to code in Python and Javascript.
  3. codeschool.com – Learn web technologies by doing.
  4. stuk.io –  Developing your dream web application.
  5. platzi.com – Live streaming classes on design, marketing and code.
  6. thinkful.com – Choose a course and get assigned a mentor.
  7. code.org – Learn computer science.
  8. baserails.com — Master Ruby on Rails through project-based learning.
  9. treehouse.com – Get the tools to help you to succeed whether you are a beginner or an old pro.
  10. Khan Academy – You can thus learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, animations and more to prepare websites and games. In addition, Khan Academy has courses to on databases.
  11. dash.generalassembly.com – Learn to make awesome websites.
  12. railsforzombies.org – Learn Ruby on Rails by watching videos and completing the exercises.
  13. codelearn.org – Learn Ruby on Rails by creating an app right in your browser.
  14. rubymonk.com – Free interactive tutorials to help you discover Ruby idioms.
  15. tryruby.org – Take 15 minutes to give Ruby a chance.
  16. learn-c.org – Free interactive tutorials to teach you the C programming language.
  17. learnjavaonline.org – Learn the basics of Java.
  18. learnpython.org – Learn the basics of Python.
  19. tryhaskell.org – Learn Haskell with free interactive lessons.
  20. try.jquery.com – Get the basic building blocks of jQuery by completing challenges and earning badges.
  21. sqlzoo.com – Interactive SQL tutorials complete with quizzes.
  22. try.github.io – Learn Git in 15 minutes.
  23. Sololearn  – Join the largest community of mobile code learners today Learning programming can be fun.

5 Ways to take online courses from top universities for free

Don’t have the time or money to attend college and pursue higher education? No worries. Some of the world’s most prestigious universities are offering high-quality online courses on a wide range of topics for free!

Some host their courses on their own sites, and some have joined hands with sites that aggregate online courses from various sources. Some of these sites also provide you an option to purchase a certificate of course completion.

What are you waiting for? Go get some knowledge!

1. FutureLearn

They offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time and are accessible on all devices so you can fit learning around your life.

On most courses, you’ll have the option to buy a Statement of Participation so that you can show you took part.

On some courses, they also offer you the chance to demonstrate your knowledge of a subject by taking an invigilated exam at a local test center. If you pass you’ll get a Statement of Attainment to provide evidence of your new skills.

2. EdX

Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX is an online learning destination and MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) provider, offering high-quality courses from world’s top universities and institutions to learners everywhere.

EdX offers two types of certificates. Verified certificates are available for a fee that varies by course. These certificates require you to verify your identity before you can receive your certificate. XSeries certificates are available when you successfully complete a series of courses that make up an XSeries.

3. Academic Earth

They curate a huge collection of free online courses from world’s top universities. Besides full courses, they provide ongoing series of original videos called ‘electives’ that are kind of mini-courses that provide small nuggets of information.

There are over fifteen hundred video lectures on Academic Earth from MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale and they’re are adding more every day. Some of these are grouped into courses, which each contains anywhere from 4 to 50 lectures.

4. Canvas Network

Canvas Network offers open, online courses taught by educators everywhere. It provides a place and platform where teachers, students, and institutions worldwide can connect and chart their own course for personal growth, professional development, and academic inquiry.

Individual instructors or sponsoring institutions may offer a certificate of participation or completion.

5. Class Central

While the other four sites partner with universities and professors to offer MOOCs on their platforms, ‘Class Central’ aggregates the MOOC course listings from these and other leading platforms on their website.

9 Reasons why I write everything as a list and you should too

  1. Lists help me organize my thoughts and ideas better
  2. They’re easier to write, read and remember
  3. Lists ensure every point, argument, angle gets covered
  4. They’re my procrastination medicine. If I don’t complete a day’s task I append it to the next day’s to do list and the growing number in the list pushes me to get things done
  5. Lists make me feel better
  6. They reduce stress
  7. A goal without a plan is just a wish. A plan in the form of a list feels more attainable, finite and unambiguous
  8. I prefer reading lists on the web
  9. On the web, lists ensure that your stuff gets read. The number in the title is probably why you’re reading this in the first place.

Gomix: a programmer’s dream come true

It makes it easy for developers (or prospective developers) to get started with building apps or bots.

5 Cool Things About Gomix:

  1. No more worrying about writing boilerplate code because you can just ‘remix’ a similar app and build upon it
  2. Gomix hooks up with GitHub and takes care of version control etc
  3. There’s no deployment or server provisioning because it all happens automatically
  4. Changes you make are pushed straight to the live app
  5. Collaborative coding allows multiple developers to work on the same file simultaneously

3 Caveats:

  1. Only Node.js (and of course javascript & other js frameworks) supported right now
  2. Free right now with limitations on server resources & bandwidth but will start charging. Might tank and project may be shut down so cannot (yet) use for production apps
  3. No support for custom domains

So far, I’m loving Gomix. If you’re a developer or someone with an idea for an app/bot you should give it a shot.

Panther Alpha – A tiny linux-powered micro PC

If this pans out (seems like it will), consumers will have a great option for desktop computers besides Windows and Mac.

Regular consumers still think of Linux as the developer’s/hacker’s OS but it’s not. Ubuntu has already proven that, but it has still not penetrated into the mainstream as much as it should.

The launch of another Linux based OS that is tying hardware and software together for a seamless desktop experience and has a specific focus on making Linux more accessible to the novice user, will make the makers of other flavors of Linux improve their products to stay in the competition and bring Linux further into the mainstream OS game.

Panther Alpha is currently trying to raise funds through Kickstarter.

Top 5 Highlights of Panther Alpha

  1. Decent specs for a day-to-day use computer for surfing the Internet, working with documents & spreadsheets, playing multimedia and some basic programming. It also doubles as a 4K set-top box.
  2. Easy on the wallet at just $89 if you back the project now or upto $150 after its in the market
  3. Upto 130 times lower energy consumption as compared to a standard PC
  4. Solid aluminum build, no moving parts or even a fan and all-flash storage
  5. Runs all standard Linux apps. There are a lot of great free and open source apps you can use to replace their paid or ad-supported counterparts

3 Caveats

  1. Doesn’t include the monitor, keyboard and mouse. I would’ve liked a bundle option that had everything in it. This approach does give users an option to pick their choice of hardware but some people would prefer to buy the whole bundle at once
  2. No developer option. 2 gigs of RAM cannot support serious software development. I know the intent of this PC is entirely different but I’d love to see a ‘Pro’ version with similar form factor and low energy consumption but with much more processing power. That would kick ass
  3. All of Panther’s competitor OS’s are in their 10th or higher version. Panther on the other hand is going to be in version 4 in 2024! They need a better plan there

Although it will make a good desktop for light users and students, in it’s current form, it has no place in business or serious software development environments.

4 Things I absolutely hate about the Google Pixel

Design

The Pixel looks like a cheap phone trying to imitate the iPhone and HTC phones at the same time.

When they announced the arrival of the Pixel with a Google search bar forming a phone outline it made me look forward to the Oct 4 event. I expected it to have the signature Google minimalism that is beautiful and packed with powerful features. I was completely disappointed.

And what’s with the lack of waterproofing in the Pixel? I don’t want to buy a $700 device and mess it up just because I couldn’t find a shelter quickly enough during the rains. Plus, the camera doesn’t have OIS. When you’re in this price range you have to give your users what others are giving and some more!

Cost

One of the best features of Android phones (and the primary argument of Android fans against apple) is their affordability. You can get a lot of power, freedom, and customizability in Android at very reasonable prices.

But the $649 price tag convinces neither the longstanding iPhone users nor those on the fence to switch to android. A more apt price point would’ve been 499 or at most 549. Why would apple users give up their set ecosystem for a phone that’s more or less similar to the one they already have if they have to pay the same price! Just making it easy to switch by providing a cord is not enough.

An Inconsistent Ecosystem

With rumors of a new OS called Andromeda coming on Oct 4th doing the rounds, I thought Google is finally doing what they should’ve done years ago.

I expected to see a brand new notebook, tablet, and phone to be released with the larger devices running a modified version of Android and all the devices working together beautifully like the iPad, iPhone, and MacBook. Again, I was disappointed.

Right now, people have to choose between windows (which has a ton of problems) and the mac that is crazy expensive. Sure, there is Linux but the average consumer still thinks of it as the nerd OS. So it would’ve been a nice change to have a brand new OS and an ecosystem that Android fans can be proud of! But no. All they did is release a speaker you can talk to and a wifi hub.

By the way, why couldn’t those 2 be combined into one device?

I’d have loved to see a nice range of devices along with a smartwatch, all designed using one single design language like Apple just more affordable and with more features while maintaining the Android customizability.

One last thing

Why the f*$k does the phone have such a big empty chin? Why not put the back, multitasking and home buttons there?

Why I’m Loving Medium.com

I found many reviews of medium.com the ‘publishing platform’. But hardly any of them talks about how great it is for readers who love high-quality longform articles.

You can think of Medium as an open source magazine that publishes ideas and stories that have depth and meaning. And everyone is welcome to share theirs.

There is also no copy editor on the other side. The editor is the ambiance of Medium and the active reader community itself.

Reading Experience

There are tons of online magazines that post great long form content. However, they’re generally restricted to certain types of articles or a limited set of topics.

On Medium, one day you may read an American’s open letter to all Muslims and the next day there is an article about no UI being the new UI.

Plus, most of these other sites that publish quality content have a bunch of ads and other elements that are not a part of the story you’re reading. Agreed, that is how they keep the site running. But why are these ads so intrusive and completely irrelevant to the content on the page?

Medium, on the other hand, provides a homogeneous and uncluttered reading experience to its readers, that has nothing but the story. No navigation bars, sidebars or ads.

The typography and the overall interface is beautiful and easy on the eyes and the abundant whitespace helps you focus on just the words on the page.

Conversation and Interaction

Commenting was an integral part of blogs until recently. I have disabled comments on my blog too because most of them are spam.

Medium has taken a completely new approach to writer-reader communication.

While reading an article, you can respond to specific sentences or paragraphs of a story. This adds context to the conversation and allows the writer to collect feedback and improve his story.

You can also write a full-fledged response to the core concept of the story. But since you’re publishing this response in front of a community, as a separate Medium story, you tend to be more considerate and civil in your response. That leads to better conversations and amicable debates.

You can also highlight any part of the story that strikes you as remarkable. Every highlight you leave changes the way others interpret the story — and maybe even the way the author thinks about what they wrote.

Content Discovery

Publishers use Medium mainly for its active reader community and simple content discovery. There are three ways to find great articles to read on Medium –

  1. tags (featured tags on the homepage, related tags when you’re reading a story and the tags you follow)
  2. top stories curated by the Medium staff
  3. and the stories written or recommended by the people you follow.

Bookmarking and ‘Read it Later’

Since most articles on Medium are longform having a way to bookmark and read these articles later is a given.

You’ll see an option to bookmark a post at the bottom and your bookmarks are available to you at the top of the Medium homepage when you’re logged in.