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Coding Prototypes, Even if You’ve Never Tried

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Nate Schutta

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Building prototypes using JavaScript and jQuery isn’t a black art. Ease into mobile prototyping—from using HTML and CSS in a text editor to debugging what you’ve built.


Demystifying JavaScript

  • Fundamental JavaScript elements such as keywords, functions, and variables
  • What JavaScript looks like
  • Different developer tools, and an introduction to working in the console

Introducing jQuery

  • What it is, why you’d want to use it, and how it’s different from JavaScript
  • The CSS Selectors lab, find something based on CSS and then doing something with it
  • Where to find plugins, and where to put them in your code so they’re most useful


Using jQuery Mobile

  • What widgets are built into jQuery Mobile, plus how to use them
  • Ways to manipulate a theme so it looks the way you want it to
  • How pages are structured—it’s simpler than you think!

Building a mobile app

  • A step-by-step process for building a mobile prototype
  • What tools to use for simulating and testing the prototype on a mobile phone
  • The limitations of jQuery Mobile, including the “uncanny valley” issue

Not a coder? Not a problem.

See how the parts fit together

Walk through a step-by-step process to build a simple application. You’ll put the pieces together with Nate’s help, then leave the workshop saying “I can do this.”

Get your team on the same page

An hour of prototyping can save days of meetings and misunderstandings. Collaborate with developers earlier to refine interactions; your team—and users—will thank you for it.

Step beyond basic CSS and HTML

You already write some CSS and HTML in a text editor for browsers. Now it’s time to boost your front-end development chops, and Nate’s got you covered.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Use browser tools and a text editor, comfortably
  • Debug what’s screwed up
  • Understand various JS error messages
  • Use the not-so-mysterious dollar sign ($) with ease
  • Understand and navigate the DOM
  • Simulate a mobile interface right on your laptop

4 Practical Takeaways from Nate’s Workshop

A working prototype

You don’t need JavaScript expertise to build a mobile prototype. (As you’ll soon learn for yourself.)

A plan for testing on mobile devices

See how your prototype actually works on different kinds of devices.

A repeatable process of prototyping

A fast way to communicate your ideas—without breaking anything or changing everything.

Faster development lifecycles

Prototype sooner and your entire process will be tighter. Your team will be happier, too.

This workshop includes a hands-on building exercise.

With Nate’s help, you’ll build a mobile prototype — something like a Tripit- style application. You’ll build out the pages for the prototype, use widgets like lists, create a detail page, decide how to handle transitions, and even experiment with different themes. You’ll have everything you need—including a great coach—to get your prototype up and running.

Nate Schutta, Mobile Prototypologist

@ntschutta on Twitter

Nate Schutta is one of those people who makes everyone feel comfortable. He’s an exceptional coach who seems to provide such practical advice that it’s like he’s known us for our entire lives.

Well, you’ll see. (And it’ll be lovely, too, because he happens to be an authority on designing beautiful presentations.)

Nate’s expertise in prototyping comes from working with cross-functional teams. As a software architect, he focuses on making usable applications — the ideal end-result of any project. He’s written two books on AJAX and Java, and he’s a fan- favorite at the talks and workshops he’s delivered around the world. Plus, he’s got an HTML5 Live Lesson that you can download.

In the evenings, he’s an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, where he talks about what he’s learned, the tools and methods he uses, and the benefits of dynamic languages. So if you’re reading to step into some mobile prototyping with a seasoned instructor, now’s your chance.