Here’s a new way to learn coding tools and concepts right when you need them

As a developer, I constantly learn new concepts and tools.

This learning process usually starts when I’m coding and I get stuck.

I do a quick Google search and usually end up on a Stack Overflow page that looks like this:

Here’s a new way to learn coding tools and concepts right when you need them

A parody Stack Overflow page.

Then at lunch, I hear all my friends raving about something called functional programming.

“Hm…” I think to myself. “I only learned object-oriented programming, and am a bit embarrassed to ask what functional programming is.”

So I turn to my laptop. “What is functional programming?” I ask Google.

And Google tells me to read a Wikipedia article that looks like this:

Here’s a new way to learn coding tools and concepts right when you need them

The Wikipedia entry for functional programming.

Wow — that’s a lot of big words, links to articles, and footnotes. Entscheidungsproblem? Is that even English?

I just wanted a “good enough” explanation of what the heck functional programming is.

Introducing the freeCodeCamp Guide — good enough explanations for busy people like you

This desire for “good enough” explanations inspired us to build the freeCodeCamp Guide.

The Guide is a searchable reference that aims to cover all concepts related to software development.

The articles are simple enough for non-native English speakers to understand them. They’re short enough for busy people to read them while taking a few sips of coffee.

Currently, the freeCodeCamp Guide has about 3,000 articles. About half of these are “stubs” — topics that we know are important, but haven’t had time to write yet.

These articles cover topics that aren’t part of the freeCodeCamp web development certificates, like SQL, and Python.

For our search engine, we’re using the powerful open source Elasticsearch tool. Not only does this search through the freeCodeCamp Guide articles, it also searches through:

  • hundreds of interactive freeCodeCamp coding challenges
  • hundreds of freeCodeCamp YouTube videos
  • and soon, thousands of freeCodeCamp Medium articles

This entire project is completely free and open source. So if you’re looking for an easy way to get started contributing to open source, this is it!

How we built the freeCodeCamp Guide

Over the past few months, we’ve used a variety of tools to build this fast, single-page app:

  • React and Redux
  • Gatsby.js — a tool for creating fast static websites
  • Elasticsearch — the gold standard for full-text search
  • Netlify — a high-performance static website hosting tool

The following people have been instrumental in the development of the freeCodeCamp Guide so far:

The freeCodeCamp Guide is very much a work in progress. If you notice any bugs, or see any ways that the freeCodeCamp Guide can be improved, create a GitHub issue and we’ll look into it.

By Quincy Larson