Long time no see, I guess?
It’s been a while since we last talked to each other.
So, what happened since August 2016? Those who know me well would say: “Easy guess, he has been working on quite some projects!” And you are right!
Supposedly this is a detailed list of things I have concentrated on in the past sixteen months.
First of all, my own startup – Schoolm8 – went live back in October this year. Party time!
I went almost radio-silent to work on this project and learned a lot when it comes to legal documents, privacy policies, coding skills and much, much more. In short, at Schoolm8 we are making yearbooks for students who are about to graduate from high school. Those books are filled with a lot of memories ranging from personal profiles and comments from other students about you (only the good ones, of course! ;)) to the reports of school trips and funny comments said by teachers. Oh, and don’t forget the voting who is your favorite teacher!
On a side note, I made some notes about the educational system and wrote them down in the Medium publication “Develop Your Education”. There haven’t been recent updates, but I feel the urge to get something done there – maybe you want to have a look at it and add your thoughts. I am still thinking about becoming a teacher some day…
CEP Panels and Socialm8
Basically, I learned how to develop web frontends using Vue.js this summer after joining CCS in January – so I am not only celebrating the launch of my startup, but also my first anniversary at CCS.
Creating these yearbooks at Schoolm8 requires some work in Adobe InDesign. Therefore, I created a so called CEP extension for InDesign to ease the workflows of creating the books.
Coincidentially, at the same time, there was a Adobe Technology Partner Meetup in Munich – and I went there. Luckily enough, I met Ash from Adobe there who is actually the Lead Tech Evangelist for CEP. So we spoke a bit and we both had the same idea to get going with a CEP sample to build upon. Since I was quite comfortable with Vue.js and managed to get my first CEP extensions running, I managed to get a simple boilerplate template up on GitHub.
One of the extensions we created from that point onward was Socialm8, which integrates with Photoshop and InDesign and allows you to upload your assets directly to Buffer, so you wouldn’t have to handle your social media assets called promotion_2017_12_final_v2_final_white_small_changes_here.png. Just open the latest PSD file, select your social media profiles you want to post to, add a comment and hit ‘Post it’. It will take your current file, export it with the optimal settings to Buffer and boom, you’re all set. Since we have concentrated on pipelining content to Buffer itself, you are free to re-schedule content on their website or in their app.
Another extension was a Reference panel where you could load RefMan files and order them in a new panel, so you could use them easily in your InDesign documents:
Using #RefMan in a #thesis? You can import #RIS files to #InDesign now and use them for your #quotations. pic.twitter.com/A4m59d2BaN
— Daniel Baron (@barooney) 21. Juni 2017
User story mapping board
When I started hacking the Schoolm8 frontend, I thought about the reasonability to have a tool where you can note down your user stories. For example, “As Administrator I want to be able to delete a bad comment, so the student who received the comment does not get angry about it.” As simple as this task sounds, it’s not that simple if you have a lot of user roles and more than 120.000 lines of code to maintain and more than 70 actions you could take as a user.actionableactionableactionable
Therefore, I came up with a tool called Storym8 to manage your GitHub or GitLab issues within a single spot and assign user roles to certain user stories/issues and put them in larger epics to have multiple tests in one place and make it easy to find them. We define automated tests on the platform which are run, before a human being is asked to do all the tasks to verify your frontend and backend logic. For example: If you write a test to click a link that is called “About” and it is very small, the software will find it and it will be able to click it. A visually impaired user may not be able to click (or even find) it. So the user story will fail.
That’s where you will have to rethink your design approach. Or whatever loop you are currently in. Maybe you want to discuss things at the next Scrum planning meeting.
A tool that is in its really early stages is a tool called Optim8. It allows you to fetch the information about page speeds on your website – but other than Googe PageSpeed Insights, the idea is to measure the runtime on your server. That’s why we first started with a WordPress plugin. It will report to our services when and if any plugins are enabled and will be reporting issues in more detail than PageSpeed Insights would ever be able to. Since I was working with a lot of WordPress websites that had more than 70 plugins enabled at the same time, it might be a good idea to identify those which make the website slow. There are a few plugins that can do this for you, but the idea is also to connect more resources and other platforms that may analyze your website and get a result sheet with viable actions to take. Plus, it should measure your website if you release a new article to check if you added some sort of content that makes the website slow, e.g. a very big video or something alike.
Smaller side projects
I got my feet wet with Playstation Vita development again after I left the Playstation Portable scene in around 2009. I provided a sample program to download a file from the web. This is something I am really proud of since I first did this on my own on the Playstation Portable almost ten years ago.
Just last week, I fetched my Playstation 3 from the cupboard I had hidden it in for way too long to install PS3Xploit (and actually allow me to get back to coding for consoles!) It took me a while to setup the PS3 Toolchain on my secondary computer (currently dual-booting into Windows 10 and Ubuntu). But I may find some spare time to figure out what to develop.
I suppose this sums up all the bigger and smaller projects I’ve been working on.
One larger project is coming along the way and hopefully, I’ll be able to keep you posted on that much more frequently. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. (Should I? I mean… I can’t write with crossed fingers…)
I would love to hear your ideas about keeping the pace with writing. How do you keep content coming even if there’s nothing to tell? (There’s a joke about politicans… A: “What did you tell the people today?” B: “Nothing.” A: “Quite obvious. But how did you say it?” – just came to my mind.)
However, I decided to add a second page to this article, because there is more than just my projects. There has been a lot of stuff going on with my personal life, but I guess you were more interested in my projects.
You may stop reading if you’re a very, VERY bad human being and don’t care for what happened to me in the past sixteen months.
Also published on Medium.