Monthly: August 2016

As I write I’m on the 29 bus back to Brighton. This month I’ve been back at Tomango covering my old role there, therefore I’ve been back on these bus routes again. I don’t think I’ve missed these bus journeys. Right now I’m heading back to Brighton because, as of the last week, I’m now living there again for my next year at university. I still haven’t properly unpacked.

This month has been testing for sure, I’ve been working full-time at Tomango while at simultaneously preparing TRIM-IT for our beta launch next month. I don’t know when the last time I properly stopped was: there’s always more code to write, another call to take, a meeting to attend. The most trying time has probably been this first week moving in as we couldn’t get the Wi-Fi set up in the new house, so I was extremely limited in how much I could get done each day. I could literally feel the seconds ticking away from me and the stress building.

Thankfully we’re making great progress towards our iOS beta release despite this and the list of remaining items between Pete and myself is gradually shrinking. In regard to the web app, my friend and colleague, Trys, kindly offered to help me develop the front-end, which is a tremendous help! Looking back, this really was a 11th hour save and I’m extremely grateful – thank you Trys, I owe you one! As I mentioned before I’m using Angular 2 to create the web application and I’m finding it wonderful to work with. There’s still a bit more for me to wrap my head round, but I’m glad that I stuck in there and persevered with it – it’s starting to really pay off.

One bit that caught me out, however, was when creating a form to begin signing up our barbers. The form has to submit text and also image data to our API, therefore I needed it to be sent as multipart/form-data. In a StackOverflow answer I read that the Angular 2 HTTP service would not handle that and I’d need to create my own XHR. After setting it all up I had it submitting the data to the API, however it would not populate the necessary super global arrays. I struggled with this for most of the day as I could see from the “php://input” that the data was hitting the server, however nothing was happening to it. In the end it turned out that if you simply omit setting the content-type of the XHR completely, it figures it out automatically. And that’s all it took to fix it. This really stumped me and there were points were I genuinely felt lost with it – I was so relieved when I finally got it working.

Alongside this work I’ve been making updates and fixes to our API too. It’s been fun and also frustrating working with what I’ve built. The fun comes from seeing my good intentions play out, the frustration from having to sometimes smash them to pieces to meet deadlines. The good thing is that I know I can come back and improve it fairly easily in the near future and I’ve already got a lot of ideas on how to do so. During this time I’ve also realised the eventual need for continuous integration and have begun looking into Travis to handle that. The current deployment process is literally pushing to the master and FTP’ing the changed files, so of course this will need to change as we begin to scale.

I would be lying if I said that it hasn’t been a long summer, I’ve certainly learned a lot about programming and also myself. I don’t even mean that in a cliche way – I’ve really been tested by many factors this summer and experienced some of my lowest lows, but also some of my highest highs. As I get older I feel as though I better understand the saying “what does not kill you makes you stronger”. However I can’t say that this progress hasn’t come without consequences, I’m fully aware that my work this summer has affected my relationships with those around me. It has played out that to reach my ambitions I have had to be brutal with my time, which has been painful.

I don’t mean to end this post on a negative note however I don’t intend to sugar coat my experiences on this blog. I wouldn’t want to give the impression that it’s a breeze for me or that I understand new concepts instantly, because it’s not and I don’t always. It’s so easy online to paint a picture that everything is wonderful and easy, but the truth is that it isn’t always like that. I’d rather document real peaks and drops here than mediocre fantasies.

I’m looking forward to being able to look back at everything once we complete this beta and realise fully just how far I’ve come. It’s also easy to forget that I’m about to start my second year at university and that I’ll be opened up to even more areas of study than before. I’m excited for that, I love to learn new things. By the time I publish the next monthly post, I should have just started my lectures again.

Until then.