The alternate MDN web docs logo is displayed to the left; the p5.js logo is displayed to the right.

I recently wrote an article about ways that beginning coders can effectively ask for help. One question that came up from readers was how to use and familiarize oneself with documentation and reference manuals. One reader pointed out to me that successfully using documentation is a key step to effective problem solving as a programmer.

In this article, we will be reviewing the p5js reference manual and the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) documentation, however, these tips are meant to be applicable no matter what documentation you may be using.

The coding examples in this article are written in p5.js. But you can still follow along no matter what language you‘re using. 😀

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It happens to all of us.

You’re coding along and things are going just fine.

Then you hit a wall in your logic and you start to feel stuck.

Maybe you’ve got a network of other coders who can help you with your problem. Or perhaps you’re reaching out to someone new.

On the TA team for Make School’s RAMP program, we help a lot of beginners.

Whether you’re struggling with untangling a confusing ‘if’ statement or…

How to make the most of recursion in your code

For the most part, concepts in this article are discussed in the context of Python 3, but they are transferable to many other languages as well.

Well-known Google joke featuring recursion

Cracking the Coding Interview states that “All recursive algorithms can [also] be implemented iteratively…” in its section on approaching technical interview problems using recursion.

Solving a Python problem iteratively might include using a for or while loop. These are some of the most common tools used for incremental problem solving in any coding language. Loops are great because, a lot of the time, their implementation is intuitive and straightforward.

However, there are times when…

This project has been gnawing at you for some time. Time to make it better!

So you have a project that wasn’t your best? Maybe you wrote it at a hackathon. Maybe you had a tight deadline. Or maybe you’ve gotten much better as a programmer since you wrote it.

So what should you do?

You could bury it at the bottom of your Github profile and forget about it. Sometimes this isn’t a bad thing. There are some projects which are not worth going back to.

But if you’re reading this article, you care about this project.

You believe in it.

You want to make it something that you can be proud of.


This article assumes that you have basic understanding of common data structures and data types in Python like lists, strings and integers. We also crossover into concepts like Big O notation and object oriented programming.

Even if you don’t fully understand these concepts, you’re welcome to read along and consult the Python documentation as needed.

For the most part, concepts are explained in the context of Python3.

Why should I learn about dictionaries?

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Let’s say that you’re writing a program that keeps tracks of phone numbers and contact names. You could store these pairs of information in a list like this:

numbers_and_people = [(5551212, "lily"), (5551234…

Image by Tiyani Ma on Unsplash

When I started working in backend development, Node.js was my training ground. As the name suggests, Node is a backend framework built on top of Javascript. For many modern developers, Node has been easier to use, more popular and more reliable than older options like PHP.

I recently began learning to build websites and applications in Golang (or Go). Both Node and Go came into existence in 2009, and while they are both pretty popular with back-end developers, Go has some significant differences from Node.

  • Popularity: Node.js is built on one of the most popular programming languages, while Go is…

Nature has no problem with using monolithic architecture every once in a while.

When learning to develop web applications, many times a programmer will begin by creating their server-side architecture monolithically. This program structure is exactly what it sounds like: a monumental chunk of code or the proverbial “big ball of mud.”

There are a lot of large, successful companies whose main product started as a large pillar of uniform code such as Google, Netflix and Amazon. However, for reasons that this article will discuss, all of these companies have moved to multiple server-side executable programs with microservices and APIs that serve different portions of the given application.

We are going to discuss…

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This is part two of a three-part series. It was written by Faith Chikwekwe and Javier Mendoza. Click here to read part one.

As we began development on FoodPrint, a carbon tracking app for your diet, we wanted to keep the user at the forefront of our minds. In order to do so, we needed an iterative, agile process that encourages frequent user testing and allows for changes to the product. Based on our knowledge from our Software Product Development course, we knew a sprint-style workflow along with pair programming sessions would help us meet this goal.

How to Plan…

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This is part one of a three-part series. It was written by Faith Chikwekwe and Javier Mendoza. Click here to read part two.

The World, the Environment and the Food You Eat

Everyday we make many decisions that impact the world around us and the environment in both positive and negative ways.

  • Should I take an Uber or walk?
  • Should I eat chicken or beef?
  • Should I pay for a brand new t-shirt or go thrifting?

What we may think of as a small and insignificant decision can end up being enormous and impactful when hundreds of millions of people…

Cookies — Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

For a long time, cookies were the main way to store information about users visiting your app or website. They were used to record stateful elements like shopping cart items or options changed by a user. They were also used to remember user browsing habits or to keep a user logged in while they went from page to page. Then, HTML5 appeared on the scene and introduced LocalStorage as another data storage option. This new Javascript object (along with SessionStorage) boasted a much large storage capacity than cookies at a whopping 5MB. …

Faith Chikwekwe

Software Engineer. Currently in the language development space. Passionate about well-documented code and open source.

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