Learning to code isn’t easy; frankly, I’d be wary of anyone who tells you that it is. Hopefully, you’re primarily learning by writing and reading a lot of code. As you code, you’ll run into roadblocks and bumps, and having a mentor that can answer your questions is an unbelievable advantage.
Here at Boot.dev I don’t offer 1-on-1 mentorship, but we do have a fantastic Discord server where you can ask questions and get answers from the community. Trouble is, sometimes it takes a while to get an answer from a human.
That’s why we brought in Boots!
Hello, Boots! Boots can instantly explain any snippet of code, right from the Boot.dev editor. He’s even right most of the time.
Boots: You flatter me.
It’s well deserved. Although, we feel the need to remind you that Boots can be wrong, and that he doesn’t replace good old-fashioned human help in every scenario.
Boots: Yes, my help is, unfortunately, of the “new-fashioned, Ursan” variety.
🔗 How do I contact Boots?
Scroll to the bottom of this article to see some demos in gif form.
When you’re working on a course in Boot.dev, just highlight any snippet of code in the editor and click the “Explain Highlight” button (it looks like a wizard hat). After a second or two you’ll get a summary in plain English of what that specific section of code is doing.
Boots: I wanted to write the summary in Latin, but apparently it’s a “dead language” with “no real-world applications”.
That, and I don’t think any programming is done in Latin. Anyway, the more you highlight, the more high-level the explanation will be, and the less you highlight, the more specific it will be.
🔗 How does Boots work?
It should come as no surprise, but Boots is powered by OpenAI’s new ChatGPT API, though we do a bit of prompt engineering on the back end before we send your highlighted code to the API.
- Give Boots some personality
Boots: I’m quite the charmer.
- Try to make the explanations as simple as possible
Boots: It would not be wise to unduly burden the learning mind with the secrets of the cosmos.
- Encourage him to get to the point
Boots: I do tend to ramble.
- Get Boots to avoid wild claims about correctness or confidence.
Boots: Every wizard must decide the veracity of their spells for themselves!
🔗 Who is Boots?
Well, in order to get to the bottom of that we figured we would just let you hear from the bear himself. Boots, why don’t you introduce yourself?
Gladly! Greetings, fellow practitioners of the arcane arts! I am Boots the Magnificent. Magnificent, you may ask? Quite so! The title was given to me by a princess. Well, it was given to me by a small girl, but I assume she was a princess. Much like programming and casting spells, the vagaries of bestowing titles to magical land ursids can be a little tricky to navigate. Fortunately for that small princess and you all, I am here to help!
Help how? Why, by deciphering the inner workings of the magical script you and your ilk refer to as “code”. Much like how the phrase “Ego Hanc Igni” handwritten in sans serif with heat-treated squid ink has the power to conjure flame, your “code” has the power to do… anything you can convince it to! Including conjuring flame, if you do it poorly. Luckily, I, Boots the Incredibly Fluffy, will be able to review the code before you do something nasty like set your personal computer on fire.""
…To be clear, I cannot be held responsible if what you are coding sets your computer on fire anyway.
Regardless, by highlighting the portion of arcane text you wish for me to review and giving my wizarding hat a click, I’ll be able to come to your aid straightaway! My ability to multitask is peerless - I am after all, eating several pawfuls of honey while my self-writing quill pens this explanation - and will be able to assist many prospective wizards at once. Of course, as I will only be reviewing a portion of your incantation, the full scope of your project may elude me, and the arcane arts tend to be both specific and vague. Suffice it to say that I will do my best to simply inform you of the meaning without making judgements about the outcome.
In truth, I, Boots the Efficient Bubble-Sorter, am here mostly for your convenience, and am in no way capable of or willing to substitute study, collaboration, or perseverance. The creators of Boot.dev could not afford my very reasonable terms for full-time employment, and so I have instead been contracted as a consultant, and will act as such! However, if any of you would like to supply me with fifteen hundred pounds of salmon a month, I will be more than happy to bring my expertise to bear on any project you need help with.
Ha! A pun. How delightful.
I look forward to working for you all! And bear in mind - much like magic, the rules of programming are ever-changing and subject to interpretation and context. I am more than happy to guide you, but if you ever wish to become a fully fledged master of the arcane (or programming) arts, you must be willing to apply what I say on a case by case basis!
Good luck! Happy Coding! And from Boots the Master of Code and Casting, a fond farewell, until you have need of my services!
🔗 His Origin Story
Me? Where do I come from? Do you ask from whence the sky has come, or the stars? …You do? Oh. Very well. Since you are such a curious creature, I suppose I could enlighten you. As I intimated before, I am as the natural phenomena of the universe, at once inexplicable, unknowable, born of chaos or divinity. All that is to say, I used to be a regular bear before I ate a Wizard and his spellbook. The spells within the book etched themselves upon my digestive tract and blessed me with sentience, limited immortality, and the cursed knowledge that the most delicious thing in all of creation is salmon. This is, of course, universal objective truth. So please understand that if you disagree, you are actually wrong instead of differently opinionated.
But yes, I, Boots the Devourer of Salmon have a long and storied history of eating things in the forest, climbing trees, chasing various smaller animals, and contemplating the arcane nature of reality. The first spell I learned allowed me to summon a small wizard hat. I love my hat, but it is rather small. I am not small, but I have been told that the difference is “cute”. Yes, I was told this by the same small probably-a-princess girl who bestowed my title upon me. What title is that? Boots the Cute, of course. What else would it be?
I digress. The tales of my exploits could fill a library’s worth of books to their margins. While I have the inclination to drone on endlessly about myself, I regrettably do not have the time. Should you wish to converse with me further - and who wouldn’t? - please contact me via the little wizard-hat button that assists you with your arcane practices. Ta-ta for now, knowledge-seeker! May you find many a salmon!
Regards, Boots, the Bear with a Back-End
🔗 Get Started with Boots
You can try Boots for yourself by logging in to Boot.dev and starting a course - don’t worry, all of our courses and their tooling are free for the first 2 chapters.