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Tutorials and Expiration Dates

For the past half year or so I’ve been lucky enough to have worked on an ASP.NET project from the safe confines of well defined requests from the client and mentorship from a veteran programmer. Learning this way is great, and I get a feeling of comfort knowing that any dire problems can be clarified by either talking to my mentor/boss or talking with the client directly. This is like being in an insulated heated gazebo during a steady storm, with beer and munchies at the ready.

Learning on the internet is more like being thrown into a massive bazaar where sometimes the people are trying to sell you on following their tutorials or instructions that may have been written four years ago with dependencies glowing a red hue of security flaws. Others may have tantalizing titles and recorded demos, but an hour in you find that their code is missing crucial parts, or that other dependencies have been updated causing breaking changes. I call these kinds of problems expiration date problems and this has been my experience as I’ve embarked on learning Angular 7 in the wild.

How can you filter tutorials and guides to get a better experience and waste less time?

There are so many awesome tutorials out there that it can be overwhelming. So, how can you filter tutorials and guides to get a better experience and waste less time? To that I say, exactly. Filter and common sense are your two best buds. When looking on YouTube, filter tutorials that have been created a month or less ago. As for common sense, consider what level you are in the language. Are you a beginner? Then a 6 minute video claiming to create a MEAN Social Network app is probably going to either be sped up or just highlighting the conceptual things you need to know, not the step by step approach to get you used to the language/framework. The hour and ten minute video uploaded about CRUD operations is probably the better way to go. Next check the comments (also common sense). Are a lot of people noting how they couldn’t get the app to work without any kind of resolution from the uploader or other peers? That’s a big enough red flag to toss it. Last, check the date. Web technology is moving so fast that something from 6 months ago may be completely unused or changed so completely to be unusable. My rule of thumb, is to treat it like milk times four. If it’s a month old, it’s good. Anything more than that and you’re pushing your luck.

TL;DR -Check the tutorials comments section / length (if it’s a video) and draw conclusions from common sense -If it’s more than a month old it’s entirely possible that it’s not going to work

Stay salty out there my fellow web enthusiasts

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