Coding for Beginners Workshop TODAY (June 7th, 3-5 NYC time)

Coding for Beginners :computer: :desktop_computer: :computer_mouse:

Coming up this Friday, our first programming online workshop!

This will be a from-the-top introduction to programming, assuming no experience at all. For this workshop, we will be working with the “web platform”, which is to say, inside your browser.

What you need:

:point_right:t5: You will need a laptop or desktop computer to participate in this particular course (although the materials we will create will be usable on phones, too). Unfortunately, the programming tools on phone-based browsers just aren’t usable yet.

I’ll be teaching with Mozilla Firefox, which is a great free browser with excellent built-in tools for experimenting with programming — please consider downloading it if you don’t use it, as it will make things that much easier. But Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari should be okay too.

:clock3: WHEN: June 7


:world_map: WHERE: The coding-for-beginners room on

We use a fun video chat thing called, here’s the link:

:gift: WHAT

We’re going to be doing some basic orientation to programming, from the point of view of documentary linguists and friends. We’ll start with some general questions like these:

  • What’s a programming language?
  • What’s a markup language?
  • What programming language should I use?
  • What does it take to make a web site?

There are two goals:

  1. Do some simple programming together (all our examples will be related to linguistics and documentation)
  2. Learn about what the web platform (more on that in the workshop) has to offer to our field

:balance_scale: RULES

Everyone here already does all these things but just for the record

  1. Be nice
  2. No questions are bad questions
  3. Have fun

Looking forward to seeing you all there! Please feel free to leave a comment below if you like. is free up to 25 people — I doubt we will get anywhere near that number, but because it gets super expensive to upgrade to more people, we can’t ahve more attendees.


OMG! :smiley: :grinning: this is exciting! Thank you Pat. I’ll put it on my calendar right now.



Thanks, Pat, looking forward to this!


Thanks a lot! :smiley: This is going to be really neat :wink:

Minor thing though so people don’t get confused – June 7th is Monday ^^

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I’m pretty sure that time hates me.

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Don’t worry, it hates me most of the time too ^^;


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This coding class is June 7th?

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It is not today (June 4th) right?

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Yes that’s right, this coming Monday. (Sorry I had it saying Friday earlier this week! Time does not exist!)


Hah! Thanks for the clear-up! See you guys on Monday.


Just to throw out there for @pathall to think about – I have a friend in Australia who’s going to try and join today, but obvs the time difference is weird, so if it gets the better of him, maybe he could get the event slides or something to check out? ^^

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Hi @SarahDopierala!

Everything is going up at

Which … of course… I’m finishing … like… now!


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Hahaha! Perfect :smiley: (I would probs also be doing the same thing so #FullSupport )

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We’re getting started! Feel free to check in late.

Thank you all so much for coming today! It was great fun!

Here’s a brief overview of what we did:

We went through the four main formats of what can be called the “web platform”:

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. Javascript
  4. JSON
  • These four formats are all part of a general document and application “layer”
  • The browser has a built in programming environment called the “developer tools” which is a great place to start learning the platform
  • An HTML document can be transformed into an interactive application through the user of Javascript
  • In simple cases an entire application can be embedded in a single HTML file

It was a whirlwind tour intended to convey the “big picture”of how the system works as a whole.

Thanks @rgriscom , @meaganvigus , @sunny , @Hilaria , @Grant , and @SarahDopierala participating!

Next time we’re going to get into more detail on HTML itself. It will be one hour instead of two, because life!


Thank you so much Pat, Sunny and everyone for a wonderful discussion.


Thank you, Hilaria!

  1. ska
  2. tkwa
  3. sna!!!
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Thanks Pat and everyone! It was really fun and I feel like I learned a lot! (And I feel like I have a bit of legit interest in programming now, which is saying a lot xD) Really looking forward to the next installment :wink: Maybe in the next few weeks??

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This sounds awesome! I wish I could have made it.

a) Will there be a second round or a repeat? I just had another linguist ask me where to start if they want to get into digital linguistics.

b) For those of us who teach beginning coding to linguistics students, it would be great to hear feedback about what was good/bad/difficult/easy/fun/etc.

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Hi @SarahRMoeller! Absolutely we’re going to keep going. In the first exciting episode we did an overview of how the web platform fits together as a whole. The pieces are:

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. JSON
  4. Javascript

a) Each of those probably merits a workshop of its own. Next time we’re going to zero in on the HTML part of the picture. You’re more than welcome to join us! Bring friends, pets, etc!

b) I can only speak to my own approach here, but what I find fun about the web platform is that it is very interactive. Messing around with web pages programmatically by prying open a browser’s dev tools is a great way to get into what programming is like. I myself have been working hard to try to find a way to explain the web platform as a coherent system, because it’s a little overwhelming for the newcomer. There’s almost too much documentation about the web on the web.

This particular kind of programming is a bit weird in that the first place to start is a markup language (HTML), and it’s only once tou have a handle on that that the utility of Javascript becomes apparent. (As opposed to say Python, where you immediately start with variables, functions, etc.)

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