Onion Studio | Agencia de marketing digital
1, julio 2019

The odyssey of choosing a platform to learn frontend online

Onion Studio

Un artículo de Onion Studio

When we were looking for an online platform through which our frontend team could improve their knowledge and learn more about javascript’s frameworks that come up every other day, we reached a point where we tought we were ready to give up in our quest.

After going through different Udemy courses, and a few others on Lynda (now LinkedIn Learning), we realised they weren’t technical enough. Perhaps there were other that were technical enough, but we couldn’t find them amidst the avalanch of options. We searched, we compared prices and ratings, we chose a dozen… and though we had better and worse experiences with them, none were what we needed.

We gave up for a while, using just YouTube videos with somewhat handmade itineraries that we made for ourselves. We added up a few blogs and Twitter accounts, but the process was, still, too tedious.

The appearance of Treehouse (and Ryan Carson)

And then, Treehouse came up. I can’t quite remember if we found it through Facebook or Twitter, but it was a straight revelation. Not was it only specifically focused on frontend but it incorporated the learning paths we liked best on Lynda. With programs suited for every level, the choice seemed to have been made for us. At the same time, someone mentioned on Twitter the discovery of one Frontend Masters. We wrote the name down but carried on with Treehouse, since the great Ryan Carson was on it, and we admired him so much since his days of Carsonified.

However, the beginnig of the first course left us dissapointed. Apparently, the episodes lacked nothing (except, perhaps, subtitles), but the rhythm tended to be boring and the technical difficulties were not minor. On Apple TV the subtitles didn’t work, and the app for iPad was inexistent. It was browser or nothing. Also, the price wasn’t all convenient: 199 dollars a month is not exactly a bargain. We started to notice that the platform was more like a susbtitute for the programming bootcamps that are so popular nowadays. It wasn’t exactly what we were looking for and a very clear sign of that is that we found ourselves postponing trainning time every time we had the slightest overload of work. Which is to say, all the time.

Frontend Masters: love at first sight

We had heard about Frontend Masters and we’d kept the link, but we hadn’t take a good look at it. The product design wasn’t as refined as Treehouse’s, and because it didn’t had a trial period we postponed it until we finished our first month on Treehouse. But a glance at Frontend Masters’ catalog of courses, teachers and the bonus details of live workshops sufficed to make us want to try it out. And here we are today.

Given everything we have gone through, a bit of initial distrust was due. It didn’t last for long, though. All it took was to go throught the first React introduction with hilarious Microsoft’s Brian Holt. The development was quite enjoyable, the technical aspect was spot on (subtitles and apps worked flawlessly), and the price (39 dolars a month) made it perfectly affordable. The courses are highly ellaborate, and they encompass practically every discipline that may interest a frontender: from CSS and Sass to WebGL, through React, Angular or Ember.

In addition, it has a not inconsiderable number of free courses, a YouTube channel, and a great communication through newsletters handled by company’s CEO Marc Grabanski himself.

Three months later, all we can think about it going through the whole thing. And we deemed it necessary to share our experience with those who might be going through the small odyssey that is finding a decent trainning platform for frontend developing.

Everything we’ve tried so far

During our search journey we have left behind several portals that, we are sure, have interesting courses we didn’t try out for one reason or another. Amongst them Pluralsight. This platform earned our dislike after it bought CodeSchool, a pioneer portal on online frontend trainning, that was virtually abandoned by Pluralsight until it essentially died (meaning it was closed down).

CodeCademy looks better, as do the infinite resources that FreeCodeCamp offers (we follow them through their YouTube channel rather than through their courses and itineraries). For the moment it doesn’t take much more: with Frontend Masters and A book apart‘s books, we are good to go.