Playing in the Treehouse


For the last few months, I’ve been helping a friend find a good way to learn HTML. She’s an experienced professional designer… in fact her website designs were winning awards as far back as 1994. But she finally realized that because she never learned the brick and mortar work underlying the web, she was hampered in building breakthrough designs.  As the web moves more and more to interactive, real-time mash ups that is becoming even more true.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of options we considered were either way too expensive (like returning to Art Center to take a traditional college-level course), too focused on tools (learning yet another WYSIWYG editor is not what she’s looking for), or too scattershot (covering everything in so much detail it’s not clear where to start).

Enter Treehouse.  They just got a bunch of funding, which is why they crossed my RSS stream, and I immediately liked the idea: a flat, monthly fee for unlimited access to very focused, very straightforward set of online classes about web design and development. You start with the basics and work your way up to web guru. Plus, they have an iOS track that might be interesting later. If they were to add Android, that’d be cool and can we imagine a future of server-side code like Perl and PHP or perhaps apps like WordPress or Node.js? I sure can.

To brush up on my fundamentals, I decided to try it out before recommending it to my friend…

It definitely lives up to the hype.

It is simple and straightforward, with just the right amount of quizzes and coding challenges. There are badges to earn and a registry for folks looking to hire students of the class. The incentives and engagement are nicely packaged in a smooth, easy framework. I’m an old hand at most of this stuff—I have already sent in a few bits of feedback correcting a few technical errors on the quizzes—but I am going to work through the series just to reconnect to the fundamentals.  I expect it to be fast, easy, and nicely relevant to some of my current projects.

So, if you’re completely new to HTML or want a nice foundation layer for your professional work, I couldn’t recommend Treehouse more.  I don’t often give such sterling endorsements, but I like what they’ve done.

Kudos to Ryan Carson and Team. Well done.

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One Response to Playing in the Treehouse

  1. Ryan says:

    Wow, Joe, thanks so much! 🙂

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