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Great list of Tutorials and Courses from Vanderbilt University

I’ve taken many online courses in diverse topics that I’m interested in, not just computer science but all kinds. Recently I have been slowly but surely working my way through Systems Programming in Android by professor Douglas C. Schmidt at Vanderbilt University. So far this course (which is free by the way) is really great. If you really want to understand the fundamentals about the Android operating system and understand exactly what is going on this is the course to take. Android is based off of Linux and shares many of the same concepts, this course digs into those differences and explains the similarities and what makes Android tick. I definitely recommend it if you want to get the edge on Android development.

Once you get through that course, or if you get bored of it you can check out all the other courses Professor Schmidt offers on his website which you can get to through this link.

Mobile First Strategy

Programming for the web has changed over the last so many years. In the past web design started with the desktop and ended with the desktop. But, then as time went by things began to change and tablets and mobile devices started to get a foothold in the market. People started browsing these devices more than they would on a traditional desktop computer. That means that web programmers and designers have to shift to designing for the user, to adapt to their needs and wants.

For example in the past when starting CSS you would build columns starting at say 970px and from their scale down to mobile sizes, not anymore. The best practice that should be done now is the opposite. Start with a mobile design then scale up to larger screens. Doing it this way makes sure that you web page looks the best at the very beginning on mobile, since that is where the market is heading. It also lets you focus on content, making sure it’s relevant and on point.

Mobile first was first coined by Luke Wroblewski in 2011, you can check out his book called Mobile First and his website here.

For years, most Web teams have designed products and information for the desktop/laptop PC. For these teams, mobile (if it even happened) was a barebones port of the desktop version. Sadly, this approach actually made sense for a while. Browsing the Web on mobile phones was painful; carriers controlled access to the Web on their devices; and mobile network speeds often made everything grind to a halt. So few people used the Web on mobiles and those that did were frequently faced with an unpleasant experience.

But things have changed so dramatically over the past few years that starting with the desktop may be an increasingly backwards way of thinking about a Web product. Designing for mobile first not only prepares you for the explosive growth and opportunities in this space, it forces you to focus and enables you to innovate.