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Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern

Posted on

What’s a concept you understand now, but took you forever to grasp?

I’m sure we all have plenty of answers to this one, but sometimes we forget how far we’ve come.

Top comments (112)

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joshichinmay profile image
Chinmay Joshi
  1. JavaScript Promises.
  2. The referencing of this in JavaScript.
  3. CSS display property. (Sometimes I still don't get it).
  4. Lambda and Proc in Ruby.
  5. DyanmoDB
  6. ECS and EC2 on AWS. (I still don't get it).

This list could cross the count of a hundred.

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abbhishek971 profile image
abbhishek971

Same.

  1. JS Promises
  2. AWS CodePipeline
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lsenavaitis profile image
lsenavaitis
  1. Js promises
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aspittel profile image
Ali Spittel

Pointers. I'm totally 100% unsure why now, I think they must have been explained really poorly, but I didn't get them at all at first.

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skrish2017 profile image
Shashi

This too. The course I taught went full on Java so the C++ type pointers were no longer used. But as long as C++ was around I struggled with getting the right resources to help students with it.

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cjbrooks12 profile image
Casey Brooks

In my college experience, I think pointers were just introduced too early in the curriculum. Students are barely able to grasp the fundamentals of control flow and scope, are just starting to learn about types, and are then thrown in the deep end with pointers. Until you really understand types and good variable scoping, pointers will make no sense.

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kungtotte profile image
Thomas Landin

In my opinion there are two main issues: C uses fucking awful syntax for pointers which is always a stumbling block when trying to learn something.

The second is that most explanations only tell you what pointers are, not what they're used/useful for.

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jonchampaigne profile image
Jon Champaigne

The, "used/useful for", bit being particularly key there.

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pulljosh profile image
Josh Pullen

Nowadays I have a pretty solid handle on webpack, babel, and other related tools, but it took me a long time to get here. The entire Node ecosystem, including its meta tools (essentially all the devDependencies), were really tough for me to grasp.

The interplay between browser, server, and developer-run javascript can still get me caught out sometimes.

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vitalcog profile image
Chad Windham

medium.com/the-node-js-collection/...

For anybody that can relate to this thread, that is an amazingly well put together article that helps with understanding different pieces of the modern front-end dev world...

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pulljosh profile image
Josh Pullen

Oh wow, that's an excellent resource.

I absolutely love learning the "why" behind everything, and that post does a great job of covering it all. Thanks for the recommendation!

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prnthh profile image
Pranith Hengavalli

I find myself having a hard time switching to the React toolchain. The concept of needing a preprocessor for your HTML/js before it can be opened by a browser really bothers me. One of the best things about web development imho was that code would just run as-is in the browser.

Or maybe I'm just getting old.

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mungojam profile image
Mark Adamson

Check out videos of React Advanced meetup London from a couple of months ago. There was a guy who showed that you can do pretty much the same thing without any preprocessing now that modern browsers support most of the features in React. Things will hopefully get simpler again as older browsers fall away

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jsk profile image
Jsk • Edited on

Interplay between browser and server still confuses me. Any articles on figuring this out would be appreciated - what's served to browser, run on server, how does this get setup?

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joelnet profile image
JavaScript Joel

Functional programming. I got the how but I never understood the why.

I took a free FP course on edx.org that taught me some Haskell and it Al clicked.

Unfortunately, I am forever doomed as I have a hard time going back to non-fp.

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josegonz321 profile image
Jose Gonzalez

Same. A co-worker introduced me to F# a few years ago. I thought it was a bunch of baloney.

Then PF started to click. C# is too...verbose for my taste.

I'm forever cursed.

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thobyv profile image
Thoby V ijishakin

Same here. Functional Programming was very frustrating for me wondering all about side effects and pure functions etc.

Right now it's something I can't really seem to abandon.

All thanks to a strict frontend development library called Hyperapp. It enforces FP in JavaScript.

I'm still looking towards learning more as I still have alot of cool things in FP I haven't learned.

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thobyv profile image
Thoby V ijishakin

Same here. Functional Programming was very frustrating for me wondering all that's side effects and pure functions etc.

Right now it's something I can't really seem to abandon.

All thanks to a strict frontend development library called Hyperapp. It enforces FP in JavaScript.

I'm still looking towards learning more as I still have alot of cool things in FP I haven't learned.

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jonchampaigne profile image
Jon Champaigne

Same. Though, learned functional programming with Lisp, which I am sure makes me worse than even I can comprehend.

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mmphego profile image
Mpho Mphego

Please share the edx link

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joelnet profile image
JavaScript Joel

Pretty sure this was it: edx.org/course/introduction-functi...

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swarupkm profile image
Swarup Kumar Mahapatra

Recursion . I understand that recursion is where a function calls itself, until it doesn't.
But given a problem statement, transforming it to recursive program is still difficult to grasp.

I understand that recursion uses stack frames to load the function.
Hence I too solve such problems like DFS (Depth First Search) using stacks and for-loops

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drewhoo profile image
Drew Hoover

It took me so long to understand recursion, like 2-3 years before I felt comfortable thinking recursively. Making recursive solutions early on required just throwing shit at a wall and seeing what worked. Now it (recursion, not throwing shit at walls) is my favorite way to solve problems.

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lugodan profile image
Dan Lugo

I experienced the same as a CS student,lots of practice and use of recursion helped!

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nikola profile image
Nikola Brežnjak

Here are a few of mine in no particular order and not necessarily only code related:

  • Pointers and memory allocation in C
  • Why kids are not taught financial literacy in schools
  • Sorting algorithms
  • The power of habit and compound interest
  • The importance of having a coach
  • N-dimensional arrays
  • The importance of failing
  • Linked lists
  • The importance of starting a blog
  • A* search algorithm
  • The importance of living below one's means and staying humble
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dimensi0n profile image
Erwan ROUSSEL

The importance of starting a blog ? Please explain me

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nikola profile image
Nikola Brežnjak

I was told, way back in the day, that it's important to start a blog and get your name out there. For a very long time, I was baffled by that statement and thought it's a waste of time (don't judge, I was young :)).

It wasn't until I started my own, for no other reason than to have my notes searchable (Evernote was not a thing back then), that I saw the huge impact it had on my career.

As I was honing my skills as a 'blogger', my general writing improved, so I was able to communicate my thoughts in a clear an concise manner. Mind you, I was learning about getting better at writing, and I was publishing posts on a 'multiple posts per week' basis.

Few years (yes, years) forward, I got such writing (and working) possibilities that I could have never even dreamed.

Therefore, get your name out there and share the knowledge freely. The effort will be rewarded in multiple ways in the long run.

Is it simple? Yes. Will it be easy? No.

Good luck!

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dimensi0n profile image
Erwan ROUSSEL

Thanks for your explanation.

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nikola profile image
Nikola Brežnjak

You're welcome. Hope it helps.

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lyfolos profile image
Muhammed H. Alkan

Monads

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jonchampaigne profile image
Jon Champaigne

I put this in the same type category of Lisp and Haskell that Linus did, to a degree, "anyone who [understands] it is probably crazy and dangerous."

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edmar profile image
Edmar S. Gonçalves

Absolutely. Nobody needs to be a genius to do this. The job of an engineer is to solve problems with appropriate tooling. If you think about it, everybody commits acts of engineering every day. It's just that when in the context of computing systems, you just need to think in a different way and get used to leveraging a different set of tools.

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rattanakchea profile image
Rattanak Chea • Edited on

It took me a a while to get the hang of using Git in a team. It is scary to push the changes at first. Merging issues, stashing, undo, how every one uses Git flow differently, etc a lot could go wrong.

For now I am struggling with understanding AWS, continuous integration and a bunch of new technology.

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bszeliga profile image
bszeliga

Totally agree with this but in more general terms, the concept of distributed version control. We started with Mercurial, and I remember being able to use it but could feel like I was missing something. Eventually once it clicked, understanding git became easy.

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abbhishek971 profile image
abbhishek971

THIS.
And YAML and bash

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lhermann profile image
Lukas Hermann

Singletons and the static keyword (in class declarations), that took me a while. I had a hard time with it when I developed in PHP. Interestingly, when I started doing more work in JS I got the concept :)

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nyanev profile image
Nikolay Yanev

In which cases do you use singletons? I’m not big fan of them and try to use it as little as possible.

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lhermann profile image
Lukas Hermann

It's useful to store global state. Similar to Vue's vuex or React's redux.

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nyanev profile image
Nikolay Yanev

Than you

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foodogsquared profile image
Gabriel Arazas

There are still some things left but these are the Big 4 of them:

  1. HTTP (only have a rough idea but it's enough)
  2. APIs (much simpler than I thought)
  3. The server (still don't completely get it)
  4. Recursion

Overall, the back-end stuff always leave me clueless and learning them in the past is like going on a random place for some unknown reason. Learning one of the three led me to understand the other two and so on.

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ondrejs profile image
Ondrej

This.

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josegonz321 profile image
Jose Gonzalez

Code

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onecuteliz profile image
Elizabeth Jenerson

Refactoring.

The concept is easy enough of course.

However, as a beginner watching videos it seems the creators just KNOW what module, class, etc. to use. Some false sense of perfection is unintentionally communicated.

So if you truly embrace refactoring you also liberate your self from that false perfection. Just start: as you code the questions and cleanup organically appear and evolve.

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