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Jason Leow ~
Jason Leow ~

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Coding is like cooking

Coding is like cooking.

You can learn cooking by learning the fundamental techniques first, in some chef’s instruction manual perhaps - how to slice, dice, simmer, boil, fry, grill; how to handle meat, vegetables, grain, etc etc. That’s probably how one trains as a chef in culinary school. This is the chef’s approach – skill-focused, craftsmanship as the anchor.

Or you can just learn by recipes using one of those popular Jamie Oliver cookbooks with delicious pictures on lovely-to-touch matt paper – first by drooling at the final product, the taste and texture of things to come, and seeing the recipe to know the possibility of what you can achieve from a few humble and simple ingredients. Or you can learn all that by just watching grandma, cooking by guesstimation, and tasting the delicious outcome she produced, and wanting to make it yourself because you want more. This is the home cook’s approach – interested only in the final product and the joy it gives to the recipient, and less about the skill, process and craft.

I think I just realised that I prefer to learn coding using the home cook’s approach. I suspect many indie makers are like that too. Because after going through the fundamentals at Vue School, I got kinda bored. Yes, I learned loads despite. The courses were project-based, not just isolated concepts with coding examples – a to-do list, a shopping cart, a pricing table. But it still doesn’t showcase the final dish of Vue very well. The example projects are limited because you can’t teach the moon and the sky in one course, and rightly so because walking beginners through that would just scare them off. But I didn’t walk away with a good idea of the myraid of things I can build with Vue. I didn’t walk away excited by what Vue can do.

Then I chanced upon Codepen, and did a search for Vue snippets. And boy was I mind-f**king-blown. The stuff that people make with Vue—to-do apps, calendars, invoice/graphic generators, games, cool animations, integrating with Google API on the browser, markdown text editors, whiteboard canvas, etc etc—I was just GOBBLING IT ALL UP. In the end, I put 101 of these Vue code snippets into a collection. And there, my recipe book for Vue. A cookbook for Vue 101 basics, with detailed recipes and drooling-worthy final product showcases. You can even edit the code right there and then, to play around with the code yourself. From this recipe book alone, I got really excited with what I can do with Vue, all the myriad of possibilities I can envision in my own products.

I was sold.

You often hear this old marketing adage: “Sell benefits, not features.” Codepen sold the benefits, the possibilities, Vue School sold the features, the specifications. Not to say you don’t need proper instruction like online courses. At some point in developing a product, you probably bump into some issue that you would benefit from someone expert walking you through how it should be done, what the best practices are. But not the cart before the horse. When you get excited/inspired/passionate first about something, you’re willing to go through hell and fire to make it work. At least that’s how I work.

Coding is like cooking. And I’m your home cook.

Follow my daily writings on Lifelog, where I write about learning to code, goals, productivity, indie hacking and tech for good.

Top comments (6)

jennymills profile image

The best indication of coding potential in a non programmers is can the person write a good paragraph. Can he or she organise their thoughts, develop a topic, and sequentially present the points. Spell break up couple

paulalopez22 profile image

I gotta bookmark this website it seems very beneficial .

jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~

Thanks Paula!

licholslowry profile image

Your teaching coding, the focus on the process, and the phenomenal results people have when they can fix, remove or add ingredients throughout the process. spell to make him obsessed

jeffsvic profile image
Jeff Svicarovich; Product Hunt • Edited

Great and fun analogy :)

jasonleowsg profile image
Jason Leow ~

Nothing like a food analogy to make me salivate while reading!