Alpha Early Access 1 is a GO

It's time to have a small party.

Alpha Early Access 1 is a GO

I've worked hard on nearly everything I could think of to make the site for Learn JavaScript the Hard Way ready for general access. Last week I sent out emails to everyone who bought the course years ago and the site didn't even flinch. With that test out of the way I want to move forward with letting more people in and seeing how the software I've built holds up. With that in mind I've opened the course registration for everyone who wants in on the Alpha Early Access release at the significantly discounted price for early adopters. If you want to get the full version of the course at a lower price--and don't mind watching me make the sausage--then get it now.

What is Early Access

Early Access is a concept I've borrowed from indie video game developers. Rather than work for a decade on a game and release it once, indie developers will get a game to a useable decent state and then release it at a lower price for people to try and give feedback on. Gamers get access to fun new games at a lower price, and they also get to shape the direction of the game with their suggestions and comments. The indie game developers then get an influx of cash to continue the development based on that feedback (or, just based on griefing people who get good at it on Youtube (I'm looking at you Valheim)). It's similar to a pre-release, but I setup more interactive ways for you to suggest changes and I base future development on the suggestions that work with more frequent announcements of what's going on.

What's In the ALPHA

  1. 4 Modules covering First Steps, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript basics. All modules are fully written and almost every exercise includes a video.
  2. The total recorded video time is over 15 hours of video demonstrating the exercises.
  3. HTML and CSS have 10 exercises each, and JavaScript has 31 exercises covering almost every relevant JavaScript ES6 feature you'll use.
  4. A nearly complete learnable web development kit that was used to build this actual site. I took great care to make sure that the code I wrote was practical, actually useable (since I actually use it), but small and clear enough that students can understand all of the code.
  5. The components I've created cover a vast array of full stack web development topics and you'll get the full code to them plus the code used on all the sites I create for the course. So far I have:
  1. Discord integration so people can come chat. This may change depending on if Discord becomes difficult to manage, but there's already a nice handful of students who have been working through the course and feeding me questions and problems there.
  2. Fully automated deployments, which actually took a long time. I mostly did this so I can start to learn the modern DevOps tools people use and then teach it in the forthcoming Learn Unix the Hard Way course.

There's a lot already there, and much more to come this year.

Current Bugs

The course follows the development of the website and that means the website is also not finished. Currently I know of these bugs that might annoy people:

There's probably way more bugs than that but those are the ones that students so far have found which I can't fix until after the launch.

The BETA Early Access Plan

The BETA plan involves 2 big goals:

  1. Document everything I've made that the students will use to build their websites. This is about 30% done and most likely will be ongoing until the end of the course as things change. The big goal for BETA is to establish a consistent location for these docs so that people can use them while they work.
  2. Section 2 of the course which cover intermediate topics that solidify the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript modules so far. I believe we'll need 3 more modules:

A key change I'm going to make for the course is that people don't have to do the modules in order. I've found that some people really just want to jump to JavaScript but they think they have to slog through HTML and CSS first. I'm now going to tell people that they can mostly bounce around between modules, and I'll write advice on previous material they'll need on specific exercises if it's required. There really isn't a good reason why you need HTML before you learn about for-loops in JavaScript, so might as well let people follow their interest and encourage exploration.

The Livestream Party

I have no idea how this release is going to go, so let's have a party and watch it happen. Maybe it'll be boring and go smoothly. Maybe my server will crash into the earth and I'll have to scramble to fix things. If you're reading this blog post then you can head over to the Livestream page to watch the progress of the release, and maybe I'll do something fun like play a video game while I chat with people in Discord and help them. This live stream is open to anyone, so if you're curious just come hang out and have some fun.

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