But all’s not lost. The enterprising folks at Codecademy have been at work these past few days and this morning launched a pretty nifty new product called ‘Cards’ that lets you build, remix, and send your own custom holiday greetings in HTML and CSS.
Many developers will tell you that the best way for people to learn how to program is by making something that is actually useful and provides a visual and tangible product relatively quickly, so that they can understand how typing lines of code turns into something more. It’s similar to how, when people are just starting to learn how to play the guitar, they don’t just focus on scales — they learn a simple song.
The Codecademy Cards launch is clever in its timing, too, since these low-key days at the end of the year are perfect for tinkering with a new project such as learning to code. As Codecademy co-founder Zach Sims told me, “This is helping people learn to code by doing something awesome over the holidays. It’s practical, really easy to do, and gets people creating things immediately.”
It’s been quite a year for Codecademy in general. The company, which garnered tons of attention out the gate when it launched in mid-2011 out of Y Combinator, started 2012 off with a bang. Its Code Year campaign garnered massive attention and support from hundreds of thousands of people including the likes of New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg. Codecademy kept up the pace throughout the year with launches of many new languages and courses as well as a course creator product to let individuals teach their own software engineering classes on the platform. As of today, Sims says, Codecademy has attracted “millions” of users who have completed hundreds of millions of programming exercises on the site.
As for what’s on deck for next year, Sims is vague but says his team is very busy. “In 2013, we’ll continue to build the great community that makes Codecademy what it is. We’ve got a ton of stuff in store for January.”