Lesson Weekend

Have you recently attended happy hour or lunch with colleagues, only to find yourself amidst a technical conversation about "application programming interfaces" or "APIs"? Have you wondered what in the world they're talking about? Did you want to roll your eyes at the nonstop barrage of technical buzzwords?

Well, here's the deal; we can't blame your coworkers for being excited. APIs are actually cool. Really cool. They provide access to an entire world of powerful information. APIs allow us to pull information about almost anything into our own apps with only a few lines of code!

But, that said, actually deciphering all the technical vocabulary and concepts that comes along with the territory of APIs, let alone starting to work with them can be overwhelming. We've experienced this firsthand, both as learners, and as teachers.

Workshop Goals

Over the next two hours, you'll follow along with our workshop lessons to build your own dynamic JavaScript application that can queries, retrieves and displays dynamic data about this very conference! We'll learn about the following concepts, tools, and technologies along the way:

  • Text-editors, why they're beneficial for coding, and how to download and navigate one.
  • The command line, how it differs from a graphical user interface, or GUI, and how to execute commands.
  • Dependencies and the functionality they offer.
  • How to use a tool called npm for dependency management..
  • A task-runner tool called Gulp, the benefits it offers, and how it can automate portions of our development.
  • How to create your own local development server* using Gulp and **BrowserSync.
  • Basic jQuery, including attaching event listeners to HTML elements.
  • Constructing and sending an API call from scratch.
  • A format called JSON , and how to parse through JSON received from an API.
  • Basic JavaScript loops that can dynamically add content to a web page.

This might also sound like a pile of jargon and buzzwords, too. Well, don't worry, we'll walk through exactly what all of this means over the next two hours. By the time this workshop is over, you should be armed both with your own dynamic, API-consuming web application and an understanding of the vocabulary and concepts behind it.

Working Through the Workshop

Before we begin, let's briefly address how we'll work through today's content.


Right now, you're on LearnHowToProgram.com, in Workshops > Act-W Conference > Welcome and Introduction. We'll work through the lessons in the Act-W Conference section in chronological order. (You're reading the first lesson of this section right now!) So, whenever you're ready to proceed to the next lesson, hit Next on the toolbar at the top of the page.

Asking for Help

We all need to ask for help and clarification sometimes. If you find any lessons unclear, if your application isn't working in the manner depicted in the lessons, or if you need help with anything else, please either confer with those around you, or get the attention of one of our three instructors. Don't hesitate! We're here to help.


One more thing: Today's workshop is scheduled for two hours. But don't feel pressured rush through lessons, or fully complete your project in this time. Seriously! Take absolutely as much time as you require to feel comfortable with the concepts in each lesson.

We all have different backgrounds, experiences, and levels technical and non-technical knowledge. So, we'll all likely learn in different manners and speeds, too. That's one of the wonderful thing about coming together for events like these! Embrace it! Don't feel like you have to complete your project in our limited window of time. These lessons will be publicly available long after this weekend's conference. You can continue working through them or referencing them long after our workshop is over.

In fact, why don't you bookmark the Act-W Conference workshop lessons right now, just in case you want to visit them later.

Ready? Let's go!

Get psyched! We're about to begin. Proceed to the next lesson whenever you're ready, and we'll walk through the initial setup and project requirements.

Lesson 1 of 11
Last updated more than 3 months ago.