Coding for Writers: Basic Programming
4.3 (409 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,079 students enrolled

Coding for Writers: Basic Programming

Learn to both code and write about code
4.3 (409 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
2,079 students enrolled
Created by Peter Gruenbaum
Last updated 4/2020
Current price: $30.99 Original price: $44.99 Discount: 31% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 16 articles
  • 36 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Write simple JavaScript programs
  • Understand basic programming concepts
  • Write documentation for functions, constants, and enumerations
  • 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

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 so that you can begin to document code. 

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 this course is for:
  • This course is meant for writers who want to learn programming.
  • No coding knowledge or experience is necessary.
Course content
Expand all 35 lectures 02:33:35
+ Introduction to Programming
3 lectures 16:47

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 12:19

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