Hacking to Get Started

When I'm learning something new, I don't open a book; I start off by hacking around.

Books are for answers.  But how can you get answers when you don't have any questions yet?!

I find that I start asking questions when I'm stuck: What did I do wrong? What do I need to do next? Why isn't this working?

So, thanks to my good friends in the web development biz and the beauty of GitHub, I've gotten a mostly complete but still unfinished copy of a website.  It's written using Ruby, Haml, Sass, and Compass (and probably a few other things, which I'm sure I'll discover in due course).  My knowledge of all these things is limited, but code is code, so at least I know how to get started.

And now I have questions, like:

  • Why did they choose to design the site this way?
  • Why would anyone choose standard HTML/CSS over Haml/Sass?
  • How are properties inherited between classes, sections, etc?
  • And a whole lot of others, believe me!

To answer these, I think it's time to do a bit of reading.