DEV Community

loading...
Cover image for Tips for New DEV Members

Tips for New DEV Members

torianne02 profile image Victoria Crawford ・Updated on ・7 min read

One of my favorite aspects of working as a software engineer coach at Flatiron School is our requirement of students to write blogs. It was this requirement, when I was a student, that sparked my love for blogging, and I really enjoy trying to pass on that love and excitement to my students.

When we first start discussing the blog requirements with the students, I always bring up DEV as a friendly blogging platform for beginners. I encourage them to signup with DEV and start building their online presence.

My experience reading their blogs on DEV has brought a few small tools/skills to my attention that newbies writing on DEV are lacking. I know that my students aren't the only newbies to this blogging platform, so I wanted to create this blog post about helpful tips I think all DEV members should be made aware of.

Without further ado, let's

penguins slipping into the water

Markdown Tips

These tips are for the purpose of helping you while writing your blog posts!

Creating Code Snippets

Creating code snippets in markdown is really easy and something you will use quite often while technical blogging. There are two types of code snippets that you can create in markdown. One type is an inline code snippet. The other is a multiline code snippet, also known as a fenced code block. Both make use of what is known as the backtick or backquote ( ` ).

Inline Code Snippet

If you ever want to mention any small amount of code, a built-in method, etc. that won't need multiple lines, you should use an inline code snippet. In order to create an inline code snippet, all you need to do is utilize one backtick before and one backtick after the code you wish to be displayed within the code snippet.

Here is a peak at what this should look like within the text editor:

example of using inline code snippet displayed within the text editor

Here is what this code looks like in preview mode:

example of using inline code snippet displayed in preview mode

Multiline Code Snippet

Now that we know how to display a simple inline code snippet lets dive into a multiline code snippet. I think it's really important to know how to make a multiline code snippet because most code that we want to display to a reader is how a method should look/function or the way a file should appear. To do this, we need to include multiple lines of code, hence the multiline code snippet.

In order to make use of a multiline code snippet we must start with 3 backticks then press enter/return to go to the next line to start writing our code. Once we are finished writing the code we wish to display, we use 3 backticks to close it off.

Here is a peak at what this should look like within the text editor:

example of using a multiline code snippet displayed within the text editor

Here is what this code looks like in preview mode:

example of using a multiline code snippet displayed in preview mode

Don't move on from multiline code snippets just yet, because I have one more trick to show you. Some of you may be looking at the above code snippet thinking "Why is it all black and white? Where are all the colors?" Well that is because we haven't specified a language! Yeah, that's right!! You can specify a language to a multiline code snippet so that you can add the functionality of syntax highlighting. All you have to do is add the language name following the first 3 backticks.

Here is a peak at what using Ruby should look like within the text editor:

example of using a multiline code snippet with Ruby displayed within the text editor

Here is what this code looks like in preview mode:

example of using a multiline code snippet with Ruby displayed in preview mode

For JavaScript:

example of using a multiline code snippet with JavaScript displayed within the text editor

Here is what this code looks like in preview mode:

example of using a multiline code snippet with JavaScript displayed in preview mode

Creating Hypertext Links

For me personally, it really makes me uncomfortable to see a full URL in a blog post. An example of this would be https://dev.to/torianne02. I prefer to create a hypertext link which takes up less room (more often than not) and looks cleaner. So, I could reference my DEV profile like this. See? Looks much cleaner!!

Guy lifting glasses in amazement

In order to create a hypertext link we need to make use of brackets and parentheses. The words you want to display go inside the brackets and the link URL itself goes inside the parentheses. I know a lot of people have a tough time remembering which comes before the other. My way of remembering it is thinking that it's in alphabetical order. B comes before P in the alphabet!

Let's take a look at what this looks like in the text editor.

example of how to write hypertext link in text editor

Outreach Tips

These tips are geared towards helping you reach a larger audience! They aren't must-dos but I highly recommend them if you want to grow your audience and gain more exposure.

Use Tags

One way to gain more exposure is to appropriately tag your blog post. For example, if you are writing about building RSpec tests you could use the following tags: ruby, testing, webdev.

{% tag ruby %}

If it is a really basic explanation of RSpec tests, you could even use the tag beginners.

This brings me to my next point: some tags have rules/guidelines. On DEV, tags are moderated. If you tag your article with one and it doesn't fit within that tag's guidelines, a moderator can remove the tag from your article and will most likely email you with an explanation of why it was removed. I'm speaking from personal experience here, getting an email may not always be the case.

Locating Tag Guidelines

There are two places that I know of to find guidelines for the tags.

  • While in the v2 editor on DEV, when you enter the name of a tag, if the tag has guidelines, there will be a view rules button that appears in the list of choices to the right of the tag.

image of v2 editor with tags that have view rules button

  • Another way to see the guidelines is to go to the tags page on DEV. If the tag has guidelines they can be found within the left sidebar.

image of beginners tag page

Managing Your Post

My last two tips are in regards to after your post has been published to the wild. When you go to your article page, right by the read time you should see two buttons: EDIT and MANAGE. I want you to click on that lovely MANAGE button.

image of article page with manage button circled

There are two things here that I'd like to discuss which both help get your article more exposure.

image of manage page

Add a Tweet Suggestion

There are multiple different DEV accounts on Twitter that could possibly share your article, especially if you use tags. The main DEV account shares all different types of articles on Twitter. There is also a ton of other examples of DEV accounts, such as The Ruby DEV, The JavaScript DEV, and the The Beginner DEV. There are many others as well!

All of these accounts have thousands of followers. If you don't add a tweet suggestion they often choose a random quote from your article. If you want to have control over what quote may get displayed alongside your article, I suggest adding a tweet suggestion.

Choose an Experience Level

This one is pretty self explanatory. There is a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being for "total newbies" and 10 being for "senior devs". Choose what audience you want to reach with this blog post. If you are writing a post for beginners, choose something closer to 1. If you are writing something that is really complex and is meant for more experienced developers, choose something closer to 10.

Final Thoughts

Throughout this article I've given you quite a few awesome tips to help your blog posts gain more exposure as well as a few tips for when writing your blog posts. I hope that y'all have found them useful and maybe have learned something new!

I will note here that you do not need to implement my tips. If you don't you can still write great blog posts and reach a larger audience. These are just things I notice work for me!

Happy writing!! ✍️

dog happy typing on laptop

Note: This posts cover image is brought to you from a hike I did at Zion National Park in Utah.

Discussion (16)

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him) • Edited

This is a great resource for newbies to DEV. Thanks for writing this. One thing I would add is, get to know the liquid tags offered by DEV's editor as they offer rich embedding of popular sites/tools like Twitter, codepen, Instagram etc. When you're in the editor, simply click on the ? button at the bottom of the editor to see the list of supported liquid tags.

Looking forward to your next post!

Collapse
torianne02 profile image
Victoria Crawford Author

I attempted using these for the tags themselves within this post when I was discussing tags, but they wouldn't work within my post. 🙁

#ruby

This tag is for questions related to the Ruby language, including its libraries.

Yet I use it here and it works. 🤔

Collapse
nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him)

Hmm, could be a bug. If you can still reproduce it, consider opening an issue in the DEV repo.

GitHub logo thepracticaldev / dev.to

Where programmers share ideas and help each other grow


DEV

DEV Community 👩‍💻👨‍💻

The Human Layer of the Stack

ruby version rails version Travis Status for thepracticaldev/dev.to Code Climate maintainability Code Climate test coverage Skylight badge CodeTriage badge Dependabot Badge

Welcome to the dev.to codebase. We are so excited to have you. With your help, we can build out DEV to be more stable and better serve our community.

What is dev.to?

dev.to (or just DEV) is a platform where software developers write articles, take part in discussions, and build their professional profiles. We value supportive and constructive dialogue in the pursuit of great code and career growth for all members. The ecosystem spans from beginner to advanced developers, and all are welcome to find their place within our community. ❤️

Table of Contents

Contributing

We encourage you to contribute to dev.to! Please check out the Contributing to dev.to guide for guidelines about how to proceed.


Codebase

…




Collapse
jep profile image
Jim

Thanks for the great article. The section about the backticks ( ` ) is surprisingly important. I'm embarrassed to admit it took me years...yeeeeears of using a computer before I ever realized there was a backtick key🤦‍♂️ I remember being so frustrated whenever I'd encounter these "weirdly formatted apostrophes" and couldn't reproduce code or commands without having to copy&paste. I also remember the moment I saw an animated scene in a game, that just showed the tilda button pressing and depressing with information on what it did in game. I sat there for a solid 20 minutes just completely dumbfounded.

Are...you...serious?

Quick follow-up question about the first few paragraphs where you discussed blogging being a requirement for your students. Why does there seem to be a push to get people coming into Tech to be hyper-social social media users? It's like there's now a requirement where in order to be in the industry you have to have an active public git commit history, a daily blog, give talks at cons, and be super active on Twitter. It seems kind of foreign to me. What am I not getting?

Collapse
torianne02 profile image
Victoria Crawford Author

I believe there is a huge push to be active on social media and blogging platforms because it is a form of networking. I think networking is the big push here.

When you become active on these platforms, you start interacting with people from all over and you can try to leverage that to try and find a job.

This is all just a guess from my experience though, so I'd take it with a grain of salt.

Collapse
cguttweb profile image
Chloe • Edited

I did not know about adding the language for syntax highlighting always wondered how that worked great tip thanks.

Collapse
wrightdotclick profile image
Thomas Wright

It's worth noting you can even use languages you might not always expect, like bash!

Collapse
peter profile image
Peter Kim Frank

Amazing post!

Collapse
singh1114 profile image
Ranvir Singh • Edited

When I started out as a programmer under a good mentorship, I was forced to write posts every day to share whatever we have accomplished on the last day.

It was very frustrating at times to find time for such a trivial thing but now I really like the idea of blogging regularly.

Nice post.

Collapse
mzaini30 profile image
Zen

Can I use Dev to post about non-technology; like psychology, book review, etc? Hehehe..

Collapse
torianne02 profile image
Victoria Crawford Author

There is a tag

#watercooler

Light, and offtopic conversation.
that is made specifically for this type of thing. 😊
Collapse
mzaini30 profile image
Zen

Thanks 😀

I'm new here.

Collapse
desoga profile image
deji adesoga

Great post Victoria. This is gonna go a long way helping beginners who are interested in writing on here.

Collapse
mohantammineni profile image
Madhan Mohan Tammineni

Thanks for the info!

Collapse
sag1v profile image
Sagiv ben giat

Nice one. I wish DEV would support line highlighting in code snippets

Collapse
jarvisscript profile image
Chris Jarvis

Thanks for the tip on specifying a language in code snippets. I edited on of my CSS posts and it looks better now. Which means some time I'll have to go and edit the code in other old posts.