Learning Express.js at Codeschool

[Review] Learning Express.js at Codeschool

Learning Express.js at Codeschool right after finishing the Node.js course was a good move. Since these two javascript packages work extremely well together I was, intentionally or not, able to answer a few questions I had after the Node.js course.

Express.js is truely the Building Block of Node.js

building blocks photoWhere the Node.js course ended the Express.js course left off. Now I am not sure how intentionally this was, but I experienced it as such. Looking back at the Node.js course I finally understand Gregg Pollack’s comment on stating that:

Node.js is not a web framework. It is not going to replace Rails, it is not going to replace Django, it is very low level network communication we are talking about here.

From what I could gather, Node.js only facilitates the network communication (requests and responses) on a server, where as Express.js manages the actual routing and manipulation of data and files.

Node/Express… Did I bite off more than I can chew?

not for beginners
Listen to Gregg >> Node/Express not for beginners, but definitely interesting to learn.

I do get the feeling that I am a little ahead of myself in learning Javascript. With Node.js and Express.js being part of the MEAN stack foundation I pushed myself to get introduced to these two packages. I want to be able to develop in MEAN stack and Meteor.js so I dove in the deep end.

I have no regrets. Fully diving into learning to program javascript has had its benefits in that you quickly learn the lingo. Objects, Arrays, callback functions… they make me smile these days and I have to say that it is because I am being curious.

Node.js and Express.js go way beyond my initial learnings of basic Javascript and jQuery. Understanding of how the internet works in terms of client-side browser requests, server responses, ports and routing will benefit you.

Codeschool’s Express.js Course Review

I am not sure if I should have taken the Node.js course before the Express.js course, or vice versa. Either way the Node.js course lacked depth which the Express.js course made up for. Not completely mind you, but the topics covered in the Express.js course felt like, as my daughter would understand, Cinderella finding her lost glass slipper. It was a missing piece.

The course starts out slow, using simple Arrays/Objects to toy around with in terms of data. Later, more practical examples are given, my favorite being the form. Tips on packages, like the body-parser package which is used in level 4, are super because it lets students see how Express.js can be expanded in terms of functionalities.

express js install body parser npm
Learn how to extend the functionalities of Express.js with npm packages

Although a follow-up course on integrating Node.js and Express.js with MongoDB (or RedisDB, which the like to use at Codeschool) is not available at this time there is a nice 90 minute Soup to Bits Node.js episode that does shows this.

Pros

A lot more in-depth and hands-on challenges working with Express.js on top of Node.js. Carlos Souza does a great job of teaching Express.js in the course and displays sound knowledge of the topic. Even though the course only has 5 levels, it’s length is ample to get started with Express.js yourself.

What the course meant for me was that it brought me closer to learning more about MEAN stack development, even if it was just a small step. Any step is better than standing still, without having prior knowledge to Express.js this course was a great start. I really recommend it.

Want to read the Cons? Keep reading or get started yourself by learning express.js at Codeschool today!

Cons

Tough to name some cons since I personally enjoyed the course, but let’s be honest and open… Express.js as taught at Codeschool should also have had a follow-up course of its own, where, just like the AngularJS course, students are taught how to build an application from scratch.

The course should have been integrated more thoroughly with the Real Time with Node.js course instead of giving the student the impression that the two were completely unrelated. By doing this, the Node.js course could have enjoyed the depth it missed.

Carlos Souza
“No bloopers?”

One small con… I couldn’t find a blooper reel of Carlos Souza during the course. He is a serious looking guy, don’t you think? I’d still buy him a beer, though. Thanks Carlos, for the course!

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About Dad

I am a dad of 4 great kids. I want my kids to grow up and learn how to code because I know that it will give them an advantage later on in life. In order to motivate them to learn how to code I need to lead by example. So, now I am learning how to code and this is my journey.

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