By Glitch Team

April 19, 2023

Making learning to code fun: A Q&A with Sonny Li, Codédex founder

Learning is one of the most important and arguably, foundational, values that Glitch was built to amplify. Whether you’re brand new to creating a website, or figuring out how to make ActivityPub fit into your plans to create the best new RSS feed reader – creating requires problem solving, growth and learning.

Participating in the Glitch community, you can see the encouragement and collaboration around learning almost everyday. For that reason, we were very excited to feature Sonny Li, a Glitch creator and founder of Codédex, a platform that combines nostalgia, gaming, learning, and most importantly—fun! Please enjoy our recent conversation with Sonny.

Glitch: How did you discover Glitch?

Sonny: I’ve been using Glitch for so long that I don’t even remember! Glitch has been my go-to anytime I want to get an MVP live and shareable without going through all the dev setup! I can just plug in my code and boom, it’s live.

I’ve built MLPs (minimal lovable products) for my startup ideas, webVR sandboxes, fun applets, and even learned Node.js on Glitch.

By the way, congratulations on your recent launch of Codédex! What was the inspiration for creating it, and giving it that name? (Is it a play on the name Pokédex?)

Yesss! It’s pronounced Codédex like Pokédex. We’re a bunch of gamers, so this is a hat tip to a franchise that practically raised us. Our north star is to make learning to code as fun and collaborative as playing a Pokémon game with friends.

Why do you think creating a platform to help folks learn how to code is important?

94% of people who learn to code online give up in mere days. That’s not okay. Especially when coding literacy is one of the most important skill sets for the digitally native generation. We want to empower the next generation of builders and dreamers with the learn to code platform and community that they deserve.

How’s it going so far after launch, and what’s next for the platform?

It’s been a wild ride! We launched on Product Hunt in November 2022 and since then, we’ve seen crazy interest and traction from learners all over the world! In just a few short months, we have tens of thousands of registered users, over a million page views, and it’s still going up. We went to HackNYU recently and five different students told us they learned Python on Codédex.

Anyway, super proud of what the team has been able to accomplish in this little time, and beyond grateful to see how well our product is resonating with so many users around the world. I mean, people in 174 countries are using or have used our platform! Mindblow.

Codédex isn’t your first big project made with Glitch – tell us a little bit about Karaoke Nite, including the inspiration behind it!

Haha yeah, Karaoke Nite is an online karaoke room where you can sing with your friends! It was born during the pandemic when everyone was remote; I wanted to bring people together!

It started off as a WebVR project, meaning that you can do it in a VR headset and interact with others as 3D avatars, but people kept asking to see their friends’ real faces, so it pivoted to a more Zoom-like room instead.

It’s still live and hosted on Glitch!

Do you have a favorite project you’ve seen on Glitch?

Absolutely! I’ve saved a few in my bookmarks. One being a ML5 web app that detects yoga poses: Another one being the course that got me interested in A-Frame:

What frameworks or new additions to HTML/CSS/JS have you had your eye on, but not gotten around to trying out yet?

I would say Three.js. I’ve always wanted to experiment with ways to make web pages more immersive. 3D feels like the future.

What is your favorite thing about the internet?

It connects me to my family in China, including my dad who’s back there living part-time now. I grew up in Shanghai, but moved all over Europe (Germany, France) and the United States (Oregon, Ohio, New York) because of my parents’ jobs in academia. I remember crying once back in 2009 when I was riding my bike home because I felt so helpless that I couldn’t see my friends and family, but thankfully the internet has allowed me to do so even being half way across the globe. So even with all the baggage and problems the internet has brought to humanity, I will be forever grateful for this part alone.

What’s next for you (and the Codédex team)?

I think this tweet says it all. We are now shifting gears and taking gamification to a whole new level – we are talking about cutscenes, world maps, skill trees, spider charts, and character customization! It’s about to get wild.

Where can we find you online?

I’m @sonnynomnom on Twitter and the same thing on LinkedIn! My DMs are open so let me know what you think of Codédex! :)

Love learning? Us too, and we’d love to hear more about your learning experiences. Tell us all about your favorite platforms, projects you’ve created, or ideas for learning on Glitch in our community forum or find us on Twitter or the fediverse.

*Illustrated image courtesy of Sonny Li. *