I guess it goes without saying that 2020 has been a strange year. Despite what has been thrown at us, I feel that it also opened up a great opportunity to progress. All of that time spent indoors with not much to do gave me the opportunity to spend more time on personal projects and blogging, as well as opening up more doors in my career due to remote work becoming more widely available.
This blog post is my personal log of what I got up to, and what I achieved in the world of tech this year. Time to rack my brains and remember when I got up to all the way back in January, when the world was a very different place!
A project that I started in 2019, Kanbo was a kanban board application inspired by Trello. I wanted to extend the features of Trello to fit with the way that I liked to plan my projects (and also didn’t want to pay for Trello’s paid plan… cheapskate).
I learned a lot from this project, with my biggest goals being to have near 100% unit test code coverage, abstract away some common functionality in to libraries, and to create an application that I could use for future projects.
It was a success! You can view the write-up I did for it here.
Client Work (Jan - Feb)
An academic portfolio that I created for a client. I was happy with the final design of this portfolio, with the style being quite different to my usual. Full CMS was set up with the use of NetlifyCMS.
Portfolio Redesign (April)
When I was growing eager to leave my first job, I spent some time rebuilding my portfolio site. I decided to ditch the fancy animations and dark colour scheme for something more casual, yet minimal and professional.
It was inspired by Tania Rascia’s website, and it’s a project I’m definitely proud of - I achieved everything that I was going for, and still keep it maintained and updated.
Blog Posts (April - Present)
Between April and August, I wrote a total of 15 blog posts. Writing blog posts is something that I’ve wanted to get in to for a while, and being in a lockdown and not having any ongoing projects seemed to be the push that I needed to get started. I covered a range of topics including:
- Angular unit testing
- Setting up a typescript project from scratch.
My most successful article being about how to unit test observables in angular, with it appearing on the first page of google when searching ‘angular testing observables’. I was pretty happy with that!
Storm Gaming Technology (August)
In August, I jumped ship and joined a new company: Storm Gaming Technology. I was excited to take the leap in to professional full stack development, as well as dropping the junior from my title.
Whilst there, I developed a full stack application for monitoring user transactions using Angular and Node, as well as refactoring a legacy codebase, introducing CI pipelines with unit tests and linting.
My time there was fairly short though - mostly because I was working on my own for projects. Being a person that loves a good chat at work, this didn’t fit very well with me whilst working from home.
Scoop (September - Present)
My biggest project to date - and still ongoing. I started this because during the lockdown, I started investing and keeping a closer look at my finances. Starting on an excel spreadsheet, I eventually thought - hey, I can make an app out of this!
Featuring PWA support, a full user authentication system, notifications and much more, it has been a great project - with lots of things learned along the way. I also spent quite a bit of time on the design (both mobile and desktop), and I’m really happy with the way it turned out.
The best thing about it is that I actually use it myself to keep my finances in check! Nothing better than using an app you built yourself. 😎 Check it out here.
Angular forms library (September - Present)
Whilst building Scoop, I was also working on a new library: NgxFormTrooper. Form trooper is an active angular library that attempts to wrap the angular reactive forms in order to reduce the amount of boilerplate needed (especially in the template). It is my 3rd iteration on a forms library, and it has grown to include many different types of form inputs, customisable with css variables.
You can take a look at the project here. Please bear it in mind, it’s still in alpha and not officially released yet!
In November I joined CrowdComms, a company that creates applications for companies to host online events and conferences. For this role, I returned to my original role as front-end developer. In my time there so far I’ve been learning a lot about web accessibility and have just started working on a super cool new project. The nature of which I am probably not at liberty to disclose! But so far, I’ve really enjoyed working at CrowdComms, and really appreciating the atmosphere of the company.
At CrowdComms, I’ve also been introduced to the wonderful world of NgRx - this is all very new to me at the minute, but I’m enjoying picking up new skills as I go along!
A new setup
With remote working becoming a large part of my life, over the past year I’ve been slowly building up my WFH setup. As of this week, it’s finally reached a point of completion.
I love it! It’s my favourite place to be, and working in a place so aesthetic makes me a lot more productive. As well as the pretty LEDs, recent upgrades to my mouse and keyboard have increased my productivity massively.
What about now?
Well, we’re coming up to the end of the year and development on Scoop has slowed down a little bit. I still have a large backlog of things that I want to add, but all of the core functionality that I originally wanted to include is now implemented, and the application is in a pretty production-ready state.
For Christmas, I got an Arduino starter kit, so I’ve been playing around with a few fun projects for that. Maybe next year I’ll have some interesting ones to showcase!
I’ve been toying with a few ideas for my next project, with one of them being a habit tracker (new year, new me and all that jazz!). For this project, I’d be looking at expanding out my current stack a little bit - with the aim being to build it using NgRx and Tailwind (both of which I am not familiar with), alongside the usual Angular and NestJS of course!
Overall I’m pretty happy with the projects I’ve completed this year. I definitely haven’t put out as much content as last year, but that’s OK.
I’m also super happy with my place of work, feeling like I can settle in and work for a company that both values me and has a great working environment. It’s also fun to be working on some pretty cool stuff!
Here’s to 2021! 🍺