2018-02-04

Collision Course Feedback

The person who creates my cover art reported she very much enjoyed reading Collision Course. My content editor had a slightly different take on the book. He enjoyed it, but he wanted more. So, I'm going to spend a few days (or maybe a few weeks) trying to come up with some ideas on how to improve the story. As of this moment, I'm coming up blank. I know what he's after--I just don't know how to get there. But, I've been in this situation before and just letting things simmer in the old gray matter for awhile usually produces unexpected results. In the meantime, I'm hitting the JavaScript hard.

There is a huge difference between knowing and understanding a complex computer language. I started off programming using the original BASIC in high school. I eventually learned Z80 assembler. Neither of these was much of a challenge because of their simplicity. I then learned C back when DOS 3.2 was king. C was a bit of a challenge but because I had started with assembler it wasn't long before I was writing complex code in the new language.

My next language (if you can call it that) was a database programming language called DB2. I developed all sorts of applications while in the Navy and was involved in modifying and upgrading a DB2 program that was used to manage a group of retirement community apartments. When I started work at my current place of employment, programming was set aside as I had nothing to program. But, the itch to write code is just as bad as the itch to write and I found myself learning VBA in an ancient version of Microsoft Access (2.0 if I recall). After many years, I've become very good at VBA programming.

Now, I'm trying to learn JavaScript. The problem with this language is you need to have a very good knowledge of HTML and a lot of CSS in order to make sense out of it. Compared to the other languages I've learned, JavaScript is a very different sort of beast. I'm nearing the end of a massive book on JavaScript and I can now read a lot of the code I see. But actually understanding how the code functions is something I'm finding difficult. JavaScript is nothing like any other language I've ever used before. I have the book knowledge, but translating that into actually understanding what the code is doing is proving to be a challenge.

I have hand-coded my website and it does have a chunk of JavaScript powering the equations. But I'm sure a professional JavaScript programmer would have some unkind words to say about how I wrote the code. The transition from novice to professional programmer is going to take a lot of work. It's sort of like reading a book on how to drive a car. If you've never driven a car you can have all the knowledge possible but I would not recommend getting behind the wheel unless you have someone else there to guide you. There is a difference between knowing and understanding. Understanding comes with experience. When you can do something, or look at a piece of code and understand at a glance how it all works, then you can say you understand. That's where I want to be.