General coding question

So I’ve read most of the instructional patterns and I’m starting to get a feel for the vocabulary and somewhat how it’s used, but as someone who’s bad at math and never learned to code, it’s all just a smattering of words. Like I kind of understand somewhat things are doing but I would never be able to write something myself as it stands.

So i guess my question is, is there a resource any of you would personally recommend that would help me figure out coding concepts in general regarding Java and the PB? I’ve tried to dive in to coding multiple times and it overwhelms me every time when I try some tutorials.

Is this something I’m just gonna have to power through tutorials and hope it comes together? I think my biggest worry is that there’s just no hope and I’m gonna have to sub-contract out coding at this point.

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Great question. I’ll be following this. It all seems very overwhelming

Hi @Shakes999 -

I wrote the pattern “Intro to Pixelblaze Code” to be a gentle walkthrough that’s interactive and lets you play with one example at a time. It took me a really long time to write, and I’d be interested in hearing what clicked or didn’t when you worth through it.

Small correction so you don’t go looking at the wrong learning resources: Pixelblaze uses a subset of JavaScript (which is fairly different than Java).

I wrote up a guide to the subset of free Codecademy javascript courses that apply to Pixelblaze. You can skip entire chapters to fast-track your learning.

If it’s still overwhelming after you’ve dedicated something like 5-10 hours of really focused study to the things above, I think your best options depend on time and money. If you have a lot of time but not money, I’d check out Scratch and the game Lightbot. If you have money and not time, I’d hire a tutor and commit to a minimum number of hours on a regular schedule, like three 30 minutes sessions per week or something, or hire someone to subcontract the software development to.

Above all, set yourself little tiny goals and work at them regularly.

  • I’m going to take the existing “blinkfade” pattern and make it red-only
  • I’m going to make one white dot bounce back and forth
  • I’m going to light up every 5th pixel a different color

If you’ve put in 30 minutes and tried 3 ways, and you paste the not-working code here in the forums, we’ve got an incredible community here: a few people will probably help out just because they honor the effort you’ve put in and want to grow this community and see you pay it forward too. If you instead pop in with, “Hey, how would I code a strobe?” without trying it first, or “How would I make a clock that reacts to music?” (which is too complex for a beginner), my guess is there’s less enthusiasm from the forum.

It’s really rewarding when it clicks and you can make the things in your mind come to life - I hope you stick with it!


Hey Jeff thanks! So that guide is kind of exactly the type of thing I’m looking for! Also, remember to set small goals! One of my biggest problems is seeing the patterns code, even the very well documented ones!, and it just gets overwhelming

So to give you some context, I’m a builder/Electrician. I can work with my hands and create art with tangible objects(Like the 8x8x8 cube!) but code to my brain is such a abstract thing that it just gets jumbled and it’s almost like there’s a fog. My inability to grasp the basics have nothing to do with the written tutorials just so you know, they actually are very well written and I have learned from them!

But without really much of a basic coding foundation to go on, it hasn’t really come together like I was hoping and decided to finally reach out. Avoiding the exact secnario of “Hey, someone code this!” is exactly why I’m still stubborn enough to keep fighting through. That and I want to be able to upload something of my own on the patterns.

Also I have actually got a tutor too for about 2 weeks now! He’s doing things the exact hardest way possible with mapping each pixel one by one via index/orgin since he’s not used to the PB but I am learning some basics from him as well and he does know programming rather well!

Anyways, thank you for the response and help! I realize my question may have come across patronizing with the work that you put in to making the coding on the PB understandable but I assure you, it’s was not intended that way at all. It’s just someone that has almost no foundation and hit the point of frustration wondering if there was a area that wasn’t the deep end to start with and there is! Thank you again for the hard work!

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No! No, not at all. In fact, when I re-read how I wrote “It took me a really long time to write,” that kind of sounded dissatisfied and precious, but what I really meant was “I have to admit, I ran out of steam to write more, but I want to keep improving it.” In fact, I edited my post for tone a little.

I like your plan!

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