Last, but not least – Daj się poznać

Ok, so this is my last blog post in the scope of Daj się poznać contest. I wanted to share some thoughts on how did it went.

What I can easily say about the period from late February till today is that I have learned a lot more than I expected, whereas I produced a lot less code than I thought I will. This brings some very interesting conclusions if it goes about summary report.

Predictions

One of the easiest conclusions I had is that while working on a regular project after work is possible, it is not as much possible as i thought it is. It is very good to be able to estimate such things, and sometimes it’s hard to get such experience because if one is not pushed to the limits by something (like the rules of the contest), it’s very easy to slow down, or even give up. Looking at the number of people that signed up for the contest and the number of people that did actually participate in it, I think it’s clearly visible. I am not surprised, at all.

For me, the main time-eater are kids, which are consuming most of my and my wife’s energy after work, even at night. I have always been reading and coding late at home, so when the contest has been announced, I thought it’s easy to cope with semi-weekly posts and a website project.

What I was missing at that time is that when you work on random stuff in technology you are familiar with, the time that you need to start coding is quite short. So even if you have half an hour, you should be able to ‘do something’.

When new technology appears and there’s a time pressure because of posts writing requirements, things are getting complicated, because before you actually start coding, you need to get to know few new libraries, or new language, new IDE, or maybe new everything. And then, after reading this and that, you ‘npm install’ and … it doesn’t work. So you’re browsing the web to fix all these tiny problems and sometimes it may take even few evenings to start coding. What is worse, is that you need to write posts, all the time, and it’s not easy to build a reasonable content if all you do is struggling with problems of that kind.

Improvement

Another conclusion, following the first one, is that generally speaking, I find it a lot more useful in the context of Daj się poznać, to learn more than code. I find writing code rather a simple process, usually, it’s the few underestimated steps that you need to do to wire things up and make it playing together, that are causing most of the headaches. You can’t learn it from a screen-cast or blog post, you have to face it by yourself.

I feel like I learned something totally new, just like I wasn’t coding ever before. That’s totally awesome, I have technical conclusions about the whole new JavaScript world and relation to .NET experience, I can compare experiences, which is I think the most valuable thing to mention.

Reference Point

Another thing is to be aware of the new technologies’ pros and cons, which is hard to spot when watching from the sidelines.

Before the contest, I have just watched the different talks about the new JavaScript trend and to be honest, I was even starting to think that maybe .NET doesn’t have any chances to compete with all these new shiny JS frameworks, linked with typescript, NoSQL databases and the whole open-source community of people being totally on fire with all this stuff.

This whole JS world has really a very good marketing around it, which probably comes from the fact that it’s open-source and you may find a lot of people loving it, the community is huge, they are excited about it and this is so far the most important and interesting thing I learned about it. I wish .NET community was such involved.

On the flip side of the coin, I learned that there are a lot of things that I don’t really like. I have found myself in a lot of situations where I needed to choose some ugly solution just because ‘it has to be like that’. I wrote about it in some posts before, like the mongoose typescript classes/interfaces design, where I had to repeat my code few times to have it both: working, and designed according to OOP principles. And I know that it’s not fully OOP if I repeat myself (according to DRY :)). Even typescript doesn’t help here, although I cannot imagine how hard would it be for me to accept the pure JavaScript approach. The only hope is that new specifications will introduce all the nice stuff typescript already has and this language will evolve and libraries will follow this evolution smoothly.

A good example for JavaScript world and the techniques used by different people is Angular 2 library. If you still didn’t try it, I think it’s the first thing you should do after reading this. That’s totally awesome framework to use and even if it can bring some hard moments, most of the time it does just great. It has also great community support and a lot of useful documentation and tutorials all over the web. This was even the case when everything was in beta. It’s even more great due to the fact that it’s written in typescript and as such its concepts are simply understandable for a .NET/Object oriented guy easily. Of course you have to learn some new things, but it’s relatively easy compared to the NodeJS stuff and server-side libraries available out there. The only thing I would like to know now is how Angular 2 compares to some other popular JS frameworks like Aurelia, or ReactJS, maybe in the next edition of Daj się poznać? 🙂

Social Media

To tell you all the truth, the fact that I’ve created a facebook fanpage is for me the best sign that I went through a big change and have opened myself for social media in a way that I wouldn’t do before Daj się poznać. I didn’t even have a facebook profile before, I needed to create it to run the fanpage. I’ve been already available on twitter, so this isn’t new for me, but generally speaking I can say that Daj się poznać pushed me to open myself to wider audience, which I’m happy about.

Blog

Blogging itself, as I wrote in my first post here, was always something I wanted to do. I even had an attempt long time ago, but I think I didn’t have any real content to share so that ended very quickly. I am still feeling that I need to work on the style I am using to transfer knowledge, especially when it comes to some detailed coding information as it’s always hard to explain it easily in a blog post (at least for me).

A lot of people have visited my blog from all around the world, including India, Canada, US, and many many others. A lot from Poland as well. This makes me feel it is worth to continue.

I will be blogging after the contest is over, so I hope somebody will visit this blog sometimes. The topics will be very likely focused more on .NET stuff than JavaScript, but I will not restrict myself in such way, I will blog about everything I think people should know, but I will try to stick to technical stuff, linked with software development.

I will inform about new posts on Twitter, FB FanPage and dotnetomaniak.pl as I am already doing recently.

.NET Videos

I couldn’t set up the working version for the end of the contest, which I am not happy about, but when I started to work on authentication, I couldn’t just leave it the way it was. I needed to try the approaches I’ve never used before, but this made my website not ready, and more importantly, it disturbed me with fixing the azure deployment stuff (which I blogged already about).

Of course I plan to continue to work on the project, just not with the same pace, I can share with you what are the plans for next phases:

  • JWT authentication based implementation with Auth0 library for Angular 2 on the client side and passport-jwt on NodeJS side
  • oEmbed approach to Videos Embedding on my website, in order to bring good experience to the users
  • Unit/E2E tests
  • Automated videos suggestions based on some predefined sources and filters
  • Users involvement in content creation (to be defined), including profiles, voting for movies, moderation, videos rating etc.
  • Styling application

I was thinking about moving the server side to .NET after the contest is done, but I haven’t made up my mind yet. It is very likely I will keep it as is, in order to stay in the JavaScript world and keep my knowledge and experience up-to-date.

Last, but not least

I wanted to say big THANK YOU to Maciej Aniserowicz for the trigger to make all this happen. The same goes to all people participating in the contest. There’s a very positive energy around the contest which motivated me a lot, when I was thinking to give up. The contest was definitely one of the best thing that happened to me in terms of personal development since the beginning of this year. Even if it was not easy for me to follow, I don’t regret a single minute spent on it and I think it was 100% worth it. I am nearly sure I will participate in next round, if it will only take place.

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