Coding for Writers 1: Basic Programming
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Coding for Writers 1: Basic Programming

Learn to both code and write about code
4.5 (91 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
504 students enrolled
Created by Peter Gruenbaum
Last updated 9/2017
Current price: $34 Original price: $45 Discount: 24% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 16 Articles
  • 36 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Write simple JavaScript programs
  • Understand basic programming concepts
  • Write documentation for functions, constants, and enumerations
View Curriculum
  • Love of writing and interest in coding
  • A modern browser, a text editor (you can use a free one), and a word processor (Word, Google docs, etc.)

Course Description

Are you a writer who wants to learn how to code? There aren't many people who can both code and write well, so if you can do both, you will find there many exciting, highly-paid opportunities in the technology industry. This course teaches basic programming to writers, combining learning about coding with learning to write about coding. 

The course uses JavaScript, but talks about other programming languages as well, including providing a survey of common programming languages. It covers common Computer Science concepts, such as variables, functions, conditionals, loops, etc. 

You'll have hands-on exercises in both writing JavaScript code and documenting constants, functions, and enumerations. You'll end with a final project where you build a therapist bot. (It's not as hard as it sounds, although it's really not a very good therapist.)

What Is in This Course?

By the end of the course, you will understand the basics of programming and be able to write simple JavaScript programs. In addition, you will learn how to document constants, functions, and enumerations. In this course you'll find:

  • 2+ hours of videos
  • 17 hands-on exercises to lead you through writing and documenting JavaScript
  • Multiple choice and code quizzes
  • PowerPoint presentations as a resource for every video lecture

The course takes approximately 4 hours complete, depending on how fast you are with the exercises.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is meant for writers who want to learn programming.
  • No coding knowledge or experience is necessary.
Curriculum For This Course
35 Lectures
Introduction to Programming
3 Lectures 16:48

By the end of this lecture, you will understand the value of coding and writing, and you'll know what the course covers.

Preview 10:13


  • Programming instructions
  • The concept of functions
  • Case-sensitivity
  • Lines of code
  • Introduction to JavaScript and HTML
  • Software Development Kits
  • Audience
What is Programming?

Create your first JavaScript program

Exercise 1: Hello World
Programming with data
8 Lectures 37:43

This lesson covers:

  • What are data types?
  • Common data types
  • Strings
  • Numbers
  • Booleans
  • Objects
Data Types

This is a short exercise to give you a little practice working with strings.

Exercise 2: Strings

Please answer the following questions about data types.

Data Types Quiz
5 questions

This lecture covers:

  • HTML (tags and attributes)
  • How to add JavaScript to HTML 
  • A little bit about functions and object oriented programming
HTML and JavaScript

This exercise will give you a feel for how to use HTML and JavaScript together.

Exercise 3: HTML and JavaScript

This lecture covers:

  • What variables are
  • How to name variables 
  • Static vs. dynamic data typing 
  • Declaring and assigning variables 
  • Constants 
  • How to document constants

A hands-on exercise to learn how to document constants.

Exercise 4: Documenting Constants

This lesson covers:

  • What operators are
  • Number operators
  • Operation order
  • Assignment operator
  • String operators
  • Boolean operators

For this exercise, you’ll create some HTML and JavaScript that uses some of the operators you’ve learned about. 

Exercise 5: Operators

See if you can answer these questions about operators in JavaScript.

Operators quiz
3 questions
Functions, Conditionals, and Loops
10 Lectures 40:11

This lesson covers:

  • What are functions?
  • Passing data in and out of functions
  • Creating and using functions
  • Function parameters
  • Return values
  • Local and global variables

For this exercise, you’ll create some JavaScript functions and compare local and global variables. 

Exercise 6: Functions

Please answer these questions about JavaScript functions.

Functions quiz
3 questions

This lesson covers:

  • Why function documentation is important
  • Summary 
  • Remarks 
  • Parameters 
  • Return value 
  • An example of function documentation
Documenting Functions

Let’s try your hand at documenting functions. Imagine you are documenting a JavaScript SDK for a social network. This exercise gives you the functions you need to document along with notes from talking to the development team. 

Exercise 7: Documenting Functions

This lesson covers:

  • If statement
  • Else statement
  • Else if  statement
  • Nested if statements
  • Switch statement

For this exercise, you’ll create some JavaScript functions with conditionals.

Exercise 8: Conditionals

This lesson covers:

  • Why it's important that your code is easy to understand
  • Comments 
  • Variable and function names 
  • Good formatting
Making Your Code Readable

For this exercise, you’ll add comments to your code from the previous exercise.

Exercise 9: Comments

Answer these questions about comments, variable names, and formatting quiz

Comments, variable names, and formatting quiz
3 questions

This lesson covers:

  • What are loops?
  • while loop 
  • for loop

For this exercise, you’ll create some JavaScript functions with for loops. This one uses quite a bit of math. 

Exercise 10: Loops
More Advanced Concepts
4 Lectures 22:44

This lesson covers:

  • How to document Booleans, Units, and Callback functions
  • Links
  • Fonts 
  • See Also section 
  • Sample code
Advanced Function Documentation

For this exercise, you will document some more functions using the best practices I gave in the previous lecture. 

Exercise 11: Function Documentation, part 2

A brief introduction to Object Oriented Programming.


  • Classes
  • Fields
  • Properties
  • Methods
  • Class (static) methods and properties
  • Documenting classes
Introduction to Object Oriented Programming

Please answer the following questions about Object Oriented Programming

Object Oriented Programming
3 questions


  • What are programming languages
  • Why do we need more than one language?
  • Descriptions of C, C++, Objective-C, Swift, Java, JavaScript, C#, Python, and Ruby
  • Other languages
Programming Languages
Advanced Capabilities
7 Lectures 23:49


  • What are collections?
  • Arrays
  • Objects
  • Accessing array and object elements
  • Looping through arrays and objects

For this exercise, you’ll create some JavaScript functions that use arrays and objects.

Exercise 12: Collections

Answer these questions about collections.

Collections Quiz
3 questions


  • Why have enumerations?
  • Enumerations in Java
  • Enumerations in JavaScript
  • Documenting an enumeration

For this exercise, you will document an enumeration in the form of a JavaScript constant object. 

Exercise 13: Documenting Enumerations


  • What are libraries?
  • Documenting libraries 
  • How to use JavaScript modules 
  • Library locations

For this exercise, you’ll use a JavaScript module (that is, library) to draw a chart.

Exercise 14: Libraries


  • Why automated documentation generation
  • How JSDoc works 
  • What automated documentation code looks like 
  • Tools for various languages
Automated Documentation Generation
Final Project and Review
3 Lectures 12:12

For your final coding project, you’ll be building a therapist bot. Don’t be intimidated – it’s easier than it sounds. 

Exercise 15: Create a Therapist Bot

Exercise 16: Make Your Code More Readable

Exercise 17: Document Your Code

Exercises 15-17: Create and Document a Therapist Bot

Review of all the lessons and where to go from here.

Review and Next Steps

Get a discount on the first course in the API Documentation series.

Bonus Lecture: Offer for First Course in the API Documentation Series
About the Instructor
Peter Gruenbaum
4.5 Average rating
1,133 Reviews
3,763 Students
5 Courses
President, SDK Bridge

Peter founded SDK Bridge to bring together his love of technology and writing. After 10 years as a software developer, he learned the skill of API writing at Microsoft. Since then, he has worked as an API writer to describe APIs for eCommerce, automobile traffic prediction, electric utilities, mobile phones, and tractors, just to name a few. In addition to API and SDK documentation, he creates video tutorials for software developer audiences. Peter received his BA in Physics from the University of Chicago and his PhD in Applied Physics from Stanford University.