A few weeks ago I blogged about an online course dedicated to Chrome's DevTools. That was my first experience with Code School and I thought it worked very well.

This weekend I decided to try their Backbone course. I've been learning Backbone over the past month and as I had a free pass, I thought I'd check it out. The course is very well designed. Each video is approximately 7 or so minutes long, a perfect chunk of content to digest. I've completed the first Backbone course and am mostly through the second, and only once or twice did I need to pause the video so I could mentally "catch up" with the material. Each video is a professional affair. This isn't some guy with a web cam (like most of my videos).

I was fascinated by the challenges in the DevTools presentation and was happy to see they worked well in the Backbone course as well. To be clear, these challenges aren't asking you to type exactly a precise line of code. No, if they ask you to do X, then you can (for the most part) write it exactly as you like. I really dig this. Here's a simple example. Imagine you were asked to write a function that added two numbers and returned the result. You could write it like this:

Or like so:

Most of us would probably prefer the latter. It is more concise and simple. But if you are new to JavaScript, you may be more comfortable with the former. I know when I was learning jQuery, I found many of the examples a bit too hard to parse as they were long lines of things chained together. I intentionally broke those examples up so I could follow the logic better.

So as I said - Code School's challenges allow you to write your code as you see fit and not worry about precisely matching some unseen expectation. I love it. Sometimes it doesn't work well. I got some very odd errors a few times. But I never got stuck.

Code School costs 25 dollars a month to enroll. Just the one course I took was worth ten times that. Your enrollment covers all of their courses. You can also download the videos and slides so you'll have access to the material later.

Want to try it out? This link (for the next 48 hours) will give you a free two day pass (and extend my free trial too :) - http://go.codeschool.com/IyebUA.