Workshop: Learning to play like a programmer: web mash-ups and scripting for beginners

Half day tutorial for the pre-conference workshops for Digital Humanities 2012: Learning to play like a programmer: web mash-ups and scripting for beginners.

Abstract:

Have you ever wanted to be able to express your ideas for digital humanities data-based projects more clearly, or wanted to know more about hack days and coding but been too afraid to ask?

In this hands-on tutorial led by an experienced web programmer, attendees will learn how to use online tools to create visualisations to explore humanities data sets while learning how computer scripts interact with data in digital applications.

Attendees will learn the basic principles of programming by playing with small snippets of code in a fun and supportive environment. The instructor will use accessible analogies to help participants understand and remember technical concepts. Working in pairs, participants will undertake short exercises and put into practice the scripting concepts they are learning about. The tutorial structure encourages attendees to reflect on their experiences and consolidate what they have learned from the exercises with the goal of providing deeper insight into computational thinking.

The tutorial aims to help humanists without a technical background understand more about the creation and delivery of digital humanities data resources. In doing so, this tutorial is designed to support greater diversity in the ‘digital’ part of the digital humanities community.

This tutorial is aimed at people who want to learn enough to get started playing with simple code to manipulate data, or gain an insight into how programming works. No technical knowledge is assumed. Attendees are asked to bring their own laptops or net books.

The tutorial will include:

  • what a humanities data set is and how to access one
  • how web scripting languages work (using JavaScript as an example)
  • how to sketch out your ideas in pseudo-code
  • the value of visualisation tools in understanding the shape of a data set
  • prepared exercises: ‘hello world’, using script libraries for mash-ups, creating your first mash-up using a live cultural dataset (e.g. a timeline or map),
  • how to find further resources and keep learning

Related link: Links and slides for ‘Learning to play like a programmer: Web mash-ups and scripting for beginners’

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