Learn You Code

An in-progress guide for those learning to code

Stuff you should know about Emmet

In the section about installing a text editor, I mentioned that you should install Emmet.

I am of the opinion that typing HTML tags is a big waste of time for dumb jerks. If you write any amount of HTML, you can save a lot of time and reduce typing errors by learning to take advantage of Emmet's shortcut syntax.

You don't necessarily need to know every shortcut on the Emmet cheatsheet, but there are a few shortcuts that are so incredibly useful, that you should stop whatever you're doing and learn them right now.

The ! character

! is probably one of the biggest timesavers when you're first starting out. Just type ! and hit the tab key and you'll get a skeleton of an HTML5 page structure, which looks something like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8" />
    <title>Document</title>
</head>
<body>

</body>
</html>

The . and # characters

Next, you'll want to learn how to add classes and ids to HTML elements using Emmet. Say you want to add a div with an id of container...

If you type div#container and hit the tab key, you'll get:

<div id="container"></div>

and the cursor will be inserted between the opening and closing tags.

If you wanted an image with a class of gallery, you could type img.gallery and hit the tab key to get:

<img class="gallery"></img>

The * character

The * character multiplies whatever came before it. So if you type li*5 and hit the tab key, you'll get:

<li></li>
<li></li>
<li></li>
<li></li>
<li></li>

The > character

The > character allows you to nest HTML elements. For example, if you type ul>li and hit our trusty tab key, you'll get:

<ul>
  <li></li>
</ul>

Event better, you can combine this with the * character to do something like ul>li*5, which would give you:

<ul>
  <li></li>
  <li></li>
  <li></li>
  <li></li>
  <li></li>
</ul>

Go find you're own shortcuts

These are just a few of the Emmet shortcuts that I use daily, but I highly recommend spending a half hour to an hour checking out the Emmet Cheat Sheet and trying things out for yourself.

Then pick a few that you think might be particularly useful for you and write them down or put them in a notes file or something that you can refer to later.

For each of my languages or programming environments, I keep a text file that has keyboard shortcuts that I'm trying to learn. I don't necessarily try and learn a million, but I find the ones that seem most useful and try and use them often enough to really learn them.

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