Shaping The Future of GeekOut Media

GeekOut Media is the name we’ve given the collective of GeekOut South-West, GeekOut West-Midlands and our web ventures. We’ve been wanting to bring everything together properly for some time, but it just hasn’t happened as of yet. A massive project to bring it all together is still underway, but until recently, we hit a stumbling point. Now that issue is in the past, it’s time for us to shape our future – and you can help us make it how you’d want it.

GeekOut Media is the name we’ve given the collective of GeekOut South-West, GeekOut West-Midlands and our web ventures. We’ve been wanting to bring everything together properly for some time, but it just hasn’t happened as of yet. A massive project to bring it all together is still underway, but until recently, we hit a stumbling point. Now that issue is in the past, it’s time for us to shape our future – and you can help us make it how you’d want it.

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GeekOut UK: Badge System

GeekOut UK is our brand new website in the making – Something we’ve been working on for a rather long time now. As the release of the new website draws ever closer, we’re going to celebrate by showing all of you some snippets of what can be expected of the new site. Today, we’re going to talk about a topic we covered a long time ago, but this time it takes the form of a badge system.

GeekOut UK is our brand new website in the making – Something we’ve been working on for a rather long time now. As the release of the new website draws ever closer, we’re going to celebrate by showing all of you some snippets of what can be expected of the new site. Today, we’re going to talk about a topic we covered a long time ago, but this time it takes the form of a badge system.

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ATOM by GitHub

Have you been looking for a new text editor to add to your already expanding pile of them? Perhaps you’re looking for something that’s incredibly clean and nicely intuitive? What about a text editor that instantly supports some of your favourite languages, such as C, C++, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and more? If that’s the case, you needn’t look any more, because today Timlah will show you ATOM by GitHub!

Have you been looking for a new text editor to add to your already expanding pile of them? Perhaps you’re looking for something that’s incredibly clean and nicely intuitive? What about a text editor that instantly supports some of your favourite languages, such as C, C++, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and more? If that’s the case, you needn’t look any more, because today we’re going to show you the ATOM by GitHub; a very clean interface and a very nice text editor in general. It’s the one I use on a day to day basis in order to get through the day!

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Website Update: Where’s The New Website?

Here at GeekOut South-West, we are committed to bringing you the very best in geek culture. Whether you are a regular to our Bristol meetups, or if you are a fan of our writings, we are always looking to bring you something better than before. We have three dedicated writers at the moment – but this website is getting old pretty fast. We’re even running out of space on our servers! Join Timlah for an update on the new GeekOut UK website.

Here at GeekOut South-West, we are committed to bringing you the very best in geek culture. Whether you are a regular to our Bristol meetups, or if you are a fan of our writings, we are always looking to bring you something better than before. We have three dedicated writers at the moment – but this website is getting old pretty fast. We’re even running out of space on our servers!

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Development tools

A while ago we did a series of posts that were tutorials taking you through the beginnings of HTML and CSS but what if you wanted to do something more advanced? Well for that you are going to have to climb a totally different but related mountain. I don’t want to scare you off here, no what I intend to do is introduce you to a few of the tools that you may want to investigate should you wish to go further than making a few plain HTML pages. A lot of these things may be completely foreign to you but try not to worry about that too much. I have planned in my head a series of posts that take you through a select few of these, aiming mostly for free things you can download and just play with before you spend any serious money.

A while ago we did a series of posts that were tutorials taking you through the beginnings of HTML and CSS but what if you wanted to do something more advanced? Well for that you are going to have to climb a totally different but related mountain. I don’t want to scare you off here, no what I intend to do is introduce you to a few of the tools that you may want to investigate should you wish to go further than making a few plain HTML pages. A lot of these things may be completely foreign to you but try not to worry about that too much. I have planned in my head a series of posts that take you through a select few of these, aiming mostly for free things you can download and just play with before you spend any serious money.

Editors

Sublime Editor
Source: Sublime Editor

An editor is a bit of a personal choice but if there is one thing I will say about all the editors I have ever used they all perform the same job in the end. As a developer, you spend most of your life looking at code and so you will inevitably spend some time customising what your editor does. The three that we suggest below all have the ability to run on Windows, Mac, Linux and be customised, as far as I know all of them have the ability to edit multiple things at any time and can deal with almost any language.

Sublime (http://www.sublimetext.com/) – 70 USD

An awesome editor for a great price. I paid for Sublime 2 and got a free upgrade to Sublime 3. Take a look at all the plugins available for it and it’s not hard to make your own.

Atom (https://atom.io/) – FREE

Programmed by the people who provide GitHub this was bound to be something special. It’s small and powerful.

JetBrains (http://www.jetbrains.com/) – 69 GBP / year

The expensive and often professional choice. JetBrains produce a number of different products, most of which focus on a particular language or another. You can pay monthly (From £4.10 for a single product) and receive all updates including major new versions or yearly (£69 for the first year). The licensing is really quite confusing and in my opinion their major problem. I will say that they still give out free educational licenses which if you’re still in school or university are well worth looking into.

Programming Languages

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To program something a bit more complicated you’re going to need to choose a language. Now I will try to keep my biases to myself here but all languages have their plus and minus points you certainly can choose the wrong technology. We are only dealing with a few of the main web technologies available and there are more that you can research. I plan in future posts to hopefully take you through how to build an app in one or two of these languages and would like anyone who has some ideas of what we should try to build.

PHP

The great thing about PHP is that you can start to use it without any knowledge of objects however, they are well worth learning about. For any serious PHP developer, you should be looking to employ the use of a framework and there are many available. The great thing about PHP is that it is supported by a lot of hosting companies, getting started with a site built in PHP is simple and you can see results really quickly.

python

I have always found python to be much better at being a language to use for common line based tools rather than full working web based projects. Although saying that both the client and server code of the popular MMORP EVE Online is made using a variant of Python. Python is a little harder to get your head around in my opinion mostly because everything is treated as an object. Now if you understand the concept of objects in programming this is not a bad thing but for those who don’t, it forms a bit of a barrier I feel.

javascriptnode-js

I probably should not band these two together but Node JS uses javascript at its heart however it is definitely worth a mention when it comes to web languages. Javascript used to be hated as a language by most of the internet. This was (and still is) because different browsers can interpret the same code in different ways. Since then there has been a great deal of work done to the browsers and a massive development by Google to give us two very powerful languages.

Databases

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Web-based applications usually use some sort of database to store information. Probably most popular on the list of available databases are MySQL and PostgreSQL. These are what I would call very classic databases. You build tables that are optimised to look up the information quickly and query it using a slight deviation of the same language (known as SQL). These days there are a few other options that optimise document based searches or a subset of larger data sources, you’ll often hear these referred to as NoSQL because they generally do not use the SQL language to query the data.

System

These days I use an Apple Mac but it really should not matter what system you run you should be able to develop an app fully. Most people will tell you that if you use Linux it’s going to be easier, but the trouble is that Linux has generally a very steep learning curve and has (at least once to me) ended up with me nuking my entire machine by accident. My advice no matter what system you run is to look into Virtual Machines. I did mention that we will be looking into development a bit deeper and if your planning on doing this download and install a VirtualBox and Vagrant I will take you through what these do and how we use them in a two weeks time.

Do you know of any more development tools, or tricks for development that you think we should have covered in this article? Were there any particular tools that you liked the looks of? Tell me about your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.

Web Wednesday – Beginners’ CSS

Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, is what makes the internet a truly beautiful, stylish place. Last Web Wednesday, we looked at the basics of HTML. We showed off a few funky tricks and we’re well aware that HTML is like the bones of a website. They are what help you structure your website in a meaningful way. Divs, Tables, Headers, Paragraphs – Tags. That’s HTML in a nutshell – So how different is CSS and how important is it for a website?

Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, is what makes the internet a truly beautiful, stylish place. Last Web Wednesday, we looked at the basics of HTML. We showed off a few funky tricks and we’re well aware that HTML is like the bones of a website. They are what help you structure your website in a meaningful way. Divs, Tables, Headers, Paragraphs – Tags. That’s HTML in a nutshell – So how different is CSS and how important is it for a website?

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Web Wednesday – Beginners’ HTML

HTML is the structure, the bones of the internet. Every page you look at has HTML at its core, so if you’re even somewhat interested in why we word things the way we do on the web, or if you’re just curious as to what all this talk about this magical HTML5 is, this is the series for you. Welcome to Web Wednesday!

HTML is the structure, the bones of the internet. Every page you look at has HTML at its core, so if you’re even somewhat interested in why we word things the way we do on the web, or if you’re just curious as to what all this talk about this magical HTML5 is, this is the series for you. Welcome to Web Wednesday, a new series I’m running to help encourage people to get involved with web development. If you enjoy this series, please go and take your knowledge further and let me know in the comments what you do thanks to these simple lessons.

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Web Development

Growing up, I have always had the internet in my life. No, seriously – When I was younger, it was a little trickier to be connected, because it was expensive, but it was available to me at least from when I was in the later years of my primary (elementary) school. As such, I’ve spent much of my life using and perusing the many files that make up the world wide web, so working with the internet is a subject close to my heart!

Growing up, I have always had the internet in my life. No, seriously – When I was younger, it was a little trickier to be connected, because it was expensive, but it was available to me at least from when I was in the later years of my primary (elementary) school. As such, I’ve spent much of my life using and perusing the many files that make up the world wide web, so it’s a subject close to my heart.

In this post, I look to expose a few of the major web technologies that are out there, so you know just how the internet is made up and why we do a few weird things on the internet. Weird things such as these tags enclosed in the less than and more than symbols (<tag>, for example). I’m going to explain the uses of each of the technologies then at the end, explain how you can learn more for free.

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