General Assembly has launched a new online service that teaches basic web development for free, in your browser. It's called Dash, and it lets users learn how to use HTML, Javascript, and CSS by working through four projects of increasing difficulty.

As you progress through the projects — starting by creating a small personal website for imaginary friend Anna, before eventually coding your own CSS-powered robot — you'll unlock skills. These skills are dispensed by completing checkpoints, an engagement method borrowed from game design. General Assembly's chief product officer Brad Hargreaves explained to The Next Web that by using this method of learning, people were more likely to enjoy the process and stay motivated than they would using abstract texts.

Dash is free and teaches users to code HTML, Javascript, and CSS

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While Dash doesn't offer the range of programming and computing courses rival Codeacademy does, its design means that users are able to see the results of their coding immediately. The service also shows how your efforts will look across a range of viewing platforms, simulating both smartphone and computer browsers. All four projects are free to use, and only require that users sign up using Twitter or their email address.