Robert Tamayo


Avoid Syntax Highlighters when Learning Code

To gain the superpower of being able to instantly spot syntax errors in code, write your code in Notepad or TextEdit when learning. The syntax highlighting is helpful, but the lesson is not learned. You won't learn to see errors; you will only learn to look for the red and make a change.

I recommend spending the first month of learning to code by writing the code "manually", without syntax highlighting and by manually compiling it. When you use the command line to compile and don't use a syntax highlighter, you will not know of your errors until later. You will naturally learn to parse the code and read it for what it is, spotting syntax errors before you compile.

This translates well when you switch to using an IDE and syntax highlighting. Your eyes are noe trained to read code. The syntax highlighter will color variables and reserved words, but they won't highlight incorrectly used reserved words. Also, you will sometimes have to parse code on tools that don't have syntax highlighting, which makes the skill even more valuable. 
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