I’ve managed to follow the ruby on rails guide I had linked to previously to build up a basic ruby on rails environment, ruby on rails takes a lot to get to grips with, to me its nothing like any dynamic language I’ve worked with before. Syntax is completely different, instead of a “;” to end a line you just go to the next line, so I’m finding it really hard to get to grips with and understanding how to even build something is even harder.
I understand some basics and how to now export some information in json format, for example if I needed to use it in an iPhone app which I will most likely be doing sometime near in the future. This is the main reason for my learning this. I will be working with Paul Bingham a fellow peer who has designed an iphone app and I’ll be building it to make it a reality. For this I need to look into Restkit, a iOS framework to convert a json string into compatible format to use within an iPhone app. At the moment I’m just scratching the surface of what ruby on rails can do, and I’m sure as the months/years go on I will improve my knowledge of ruby on rails.
Because the service runs on a rails server and not php etc, it means that you can just upload files and it’ll work. For the time being I found a site http://www.heroku.com/ which is free and allows you to host your rails server. It is possible to have a rails server running on your own hosting plan but some services dont allow you do this, as I have found out my hosting plan doesn’t support this very well so I may be changing hosting packages very soon. But for the time being for testing heroku is the perfect solution for me.
And still my productivity on PPD is not going as well as I’d hoped as I’ve been too busy mainly looking into ruby and gaining new skills.
As previously mentioned about working with Paul to produce an iPhone app, its called GoMe. GoMe is a bucketlist where you can create lists of things you would like to do and able to checkin to these places when you have completed your challenge you set yourself. In march I am going to be working with Paul and taking his visuals he will be supplying to get a semi working prototype and get a better understanding of how all the ruby on rails stuff actually works
Goals for March:
- Investigate into Restkit and understand how it work
- Have a go at developing a little prototype using Ruby on rails server, heroku, Restkit and building the app in Xcode for GoMe App with Paul
Now with Ruby on rails, I had heard about it in the past but never really come across it in work. I wanted to look into it as I am wanting to improve my skills and have more things to add to my CV. I had took a look at a guide here: http://guides.rubyonrails.org/getting_started.html I found this guide a really good incite into how to setup a ruby on rails environment and how to make an initial setup. In the future I plan to look at it further and put it into practise and build an app or two in my spare time but thats in the next few months/summer.
Overall in January I’m really pleased with my progress and I’ve managed to manage my time better and get modules in early, first time ever I’ve done that! Only thing I feel like I’m neglecting is my PPD terribly and I don’t want to be in the situation as I was last year and rushing everything in the last few weeks before hand in.
Goals for February:
- Create an initial ruby on rails environment
- Start gaining knowledge about how it all works
- Learn how to get the ruby on rails server online
- Improve productivity on PPD
Regarding my report I had to write, it was a right rush of a job I didn’t plan it out really and at times during writing it, it wasn’t very formal. I believe this was the reason for a huge different between the two pieces marks. I also tend to find when I write pieces of work I don’t read over what I have done and this is my biggest mistake and I’ve never learnt to do it, because of this I make lots of mistakes with punctuation mainly and I always forget to break things up into paragraphs, I am finally starting to do this and you can see, kind of. I just think right I’ve written it and thats it and don’t think about all of these things until I go to hand it in and by then I don’t have the time to fix all of these silly little issues through my written work.
Today we’ve been given two new modules, one focuses on our portfolio reviewing what we have and building a new one up.
I’ve already got a website and portfolio online but I really need to review these and redesign what I have. I think I should spend less time with my girlfriend so I can concentrate on this module and get a really good mark.
I’m going to make a plan for what to include:
Hard copy portfolio:
- DIBI design
- Graeme Dentith
- Develop some iOS app designs
- All of the above
- Epic Dive
- Trees are best
- Old portfolio designs
- Raft from Graeme Dentith (3D Model)
- Hi-res book design
Mentioning above about developing some iOS app designs. I have never designed an iPhone app solely by myself and I want to do this to improve my skills and get better at design. To go with this, I most likely will try to develop the apps too add more to my portfolio and also improve my skills by producing the kind of apps I’ve not developed before.
So in December I have been setting myself the challenge and goals to re-design my entire game “Cosa-Nostra” progress had been going really well but nearing the end of December progress slowed down quite a bit and resulted in me handing in the website to be marked minus about 5 incomplete pages. Although not finishing off the complete site I have put loads of work and effort into getting to its current stage and it took a lot of man hours, so really I’m not surprised I didn’t get it all finished.
Overall I’m happy with the progress I have been making over the past month but I still need to manage my time better, at the moment work is really busy so its hard to keep on top of everything. Also to me, my work comes first over my college work, so that took the priority.
Goals I’m going to set myself for January are:
- Take a look at Ruby on Rails documentation and start taking in some knowledge about it
Unfortunately last week I didnt manage to make any goals or reflect on my previous weeks goals, for a change there is a genuine reason for this, I ended up being really ill on sunday & monday which meant the time i should of been in college doing my PPD I was in bed, because of the lack of time outside of college I hadn’t managed to catch up and get some goals down, this also meant I didnt achieve all the goals i set out to achieve, I managed to partially do pages “Crimes” and “Steal a car” but still need perfecting.
I’m going to be setting the same goals as two weeks ago,
- Rewrite more of my php (majority of it as its really bad!)
- build pages:
- Steal a Car
- Search Enemy
At the beginning of last week I had set out some goals of building the basic html5 framework and responsive design and to start pulling out the php from my existing files and recoding some of it, what I achieved in the past week was:
- Built html5 framework with majority is responsive will need a couple tweeks
- Found out how rubbish my previous code was
- rewritten loads of php
- Implemented a login system
- Implemented MySql database
- Implemented pages are:
- Home (After login)
- Site Updates
- Users Online
- Find a Gangster
- My Family
- Implemented css3 features:
- box shadow
- text shadow
- rgba colours
- font face
I’ve managed to achieve loads only downside is trying to do this all around my job work, so which has meant lots of late nights this past week. Despite this I’ve achieved everything and more of what I thought I’d be able to get done in the spare time I had, time management improvement is still on going!
For this week coming I plan to:
- Rewrite more of my php (majority of it as its really bad!)
- build pages:
- Steal a Car
- Search Enemy
and if I manage to get these pages finished sooner than expected then I’ll move on and make a start on the pages under the heading “City”
This project was when I had to design an iPhone/iPad app, initially I worked in a two man team with Paul to produce one together, and then we went our separate ways to produce our own from our ideas.
The main thing to me would stood out in the feedback was that I couldn’t really demonstrate a lot of the Apple guidelines that I know of with being an iOS Developer. I had originally decided to do an app I had been working on at work which was Epic Dive, I now realise that this was a very bad mistake. It made my work and skills I could show very limited. With it being a game a lot of the Apple guidelines are N/A which was my fault really, as I had mentioned in my evaluation I hadn’t thought it through properly at the beginning and I so wish I had thought of another app to do, it would of been more work for me but it would of improved my skills a lot more and on top of that I would of got a better mark.
Another thing I have noticed is that I had forgot my basic introduction and descriptions to each thing as I had forgot to include an introduction to the actual project so anyone looking wouldn’t really have a clue what I am actually on about which isn’t good, I need to remember in the future to do this. I also missed out a description about the video I had included which demonstrated the app on an iPhone, consequently missing out this description resulted in me not getting a better mark, but overall I’m still pretty chuffed with the mark I got regarding how terrible I felt I had done with this module.
I received my feedback for my first handed in project from the first year, in this project I had to build a website with the use of html5 and CSS3 features.
I was really pleased with my feedback with this project and really surprised with how well I have done, the reason I say this is because the previous time I had done any design/html/css work was back in May because at work I have been doing development and hadn’t touched the web for quite a while. I noticed that the highlight of my project was that I had included a framework which supported responsive design, I had never done this before so it was really a lot of trial and error trying to get things correct and learning all about it and how it all functioned, this I will definitely be taking forward in the future with doing this I now understand that there is no need to have separate domains for different devices if your site gracefully rescales based on the size of your browser/device screen.
An area I felt bad about was that I had forgotten to comment some of my code, being the CSS, the reason I had missed this out was that I just purely forgot which was why I forgot here I think what could be good in the future is to make a list of what I need to do and then I shouldn’t forget minor things like this in the future, I could maybe even go to the extent of using an issue tracker like Jira which is what I use at work just to document what things I have outstanding and to see what I have accomplished.
Another thing I did very little with was CSS3 features, it mentions in my feedback that I should of included some CSS3 animations, I agree, this was really just down to my time, and really not wanting at this point in time sit and learn how to do it and rather focus on other areas which could benefit me more like the responsive framework, Less+ I used.
Every time I write, be it an evaluation, essay, report, I always forget to include quotes if I should be including them. I think I need to start doing this as I think it’ll bump my marks up a lot, I currently haven’t been doing this as I don’t look at books and very rarely look online, I just get my head down and just do it and even the cases when I may look at things to help me I never think about taking a bit of the information as a quote to show my understanding.
So in the past few weeks I have been a little laxed with the planning on weeks ahead, this has been for a few reasons, mainly because of bad time management! Unfortunately its not as simple as just doing a degree at college and at home in my spare time I’ve also got to fit in my full time job which takes up quite a lot of time which means college time can be limited at times.
Because of all the time having to spend on work means that college has had to take the backseat sometimes, which isn’t really ideal because it means I dont achieve the best mark I could actually get, but a compromise has to be done so I can get both done, and the majority of the time work is the main priority.
Good and bad points from the feedback received from past two modules:
- Well presented A3 boards
- Good use of a framework
- Good commenting of html 5
- An effective working responsive framework
- Representation of cross browser testing
- No introductions
- forgetting to comment on CSS, should comment whilst doing something and not going back later to put commenting in
- lack of CSS features
- lack of quotes in report
- lack of time management
Things I need to improve is mainly time management, which I dont think I can really. I have too much to fit in a week to manage to do everything thats required. What I will try and do is do things when they need to be done and not leave things to the last minute, I think best thing I can do is if I dont get a chance to do something is to make a list and keep adding things to a list and cross them off once I’ve completed them.
All the bad points are all me lacking in some way, not including something or not enough things. this is really just down to lack of time available to do things and as these two modules were really a learning experience for me too I’ve had to learn new skills which I haven’t done in a while which takes time out of my productivity of getting work done.
This week I’m going to push on and create the basic html5 framework and responsive design for the game and hopefully start at pull out my php content, most likely condensing it down and recoding some areas with my new php knowledge from the past 8months at work.
This week I plan to make some progress on the Collingwood Builidings website brief given to us by Status Digital.
corner curl shadow effect
With this list done, I plan to design straight into the browser and get the majority of the layout completed this morning.
Through out the rest of the week I’m going to complete at least the home page design.
So a little while ago we ended up going to Hedgehog Lab, for me it wasn’t just a, “oh what do they do there and find out”, because I actually work there myself, it meant that I had to present what I’ve been doing and explain how I went about doing certain things, so that was a pretty fun experience for me.
So what is hedgehog about?
Well they are primarily a development agency creating amazing backend code for web and devices. Using php for the web projects and objective-c for the iphone apps. I only say iphone apps as thats where the market is at the moment, companies only wanting to develop for iphone first because of the hold apple have on the market, the percentage of consumers owning iphones is way higher than other phones like android based phones and blackberry.
Who works at hedgehog lab?
At the top is Sarat and Mark who are the co-founders of the company, two great guys who know their stuff. Below them is Craig Tweedy, the head developer and project manager for most projects. So thats the main employees. After them are two junior software developers, who is a guy called Simon and myself, and lastly Lauren who is in the year above me on this course is the User interface designer. Alongside the developers and designer, there is a head of sales, Phil, haven’t really had a chance to chat and meet the guy properly as he is based down in London. Although it doesn’t seem like a pretty big company because there is only 7 employees, well thats actually quite big for this kind of industry.
Although I’ve only officially been there just over a month and currently only on a temporary contract I believe if I push myself and prove myself I’ll have the opportunity to become a full time permanent employee which is what I’m striding towards, when I first started off doing html and css 5years ago, I never thought about doing development for iphone, but to be fair they wern’t around 5years ago, I dont think? But ever since they came out I never thought I’d be doing what I am doing now, I guess I was given the opportunity and I took it and done my best and think I came out with a good result.
so in AD103? I redesigned my site from a static site i built prior to coming on to the course to a wordpress based site. image included. I was pleased with my efforts at first, but then I hated it, everyone else seemed to like it but I felt it wasn’t that good as I’ve always tried to stride to create a current trend website but it always seems to turn into a generic design by myself and no where near a current trend. I ended up finding out about a CMS called drupal when i went for a talk at hedgehog lab and was given a book to read up on about what drupal is about so instead of reading, as i hate reading i thought i would redesign my site and build it around drupal.
So thats what i did! Spent a couple of days/nights getting to grips with drupal and built my site with a whole new design, very minimalistic. At first I was like WOW drupal is amazing, but then after a couple of months of working at hedgehog lab i soon realised its a write pain to work with, but at the moment i’m not migrating to another CMS so its staying for the time being. So thats the end of my site rebuild? wrong. Everyone seemed to hate this minimalistic design, bit of a knock to the system, i thought it was a pretty good design to keep the site minimal and have the emphasis on the content, and work i’ve created. i didn’t want to draw too much attention away from it, obviously it wasn’t appreciated.
Another few months passed and it came to when I needed to include a portfolio of my work, i thought it was the best opportunity to redesign my site again to what you can see before you, i felt i’ve nailed the design on the head. a logo created by a peer to represent me, top images to showcase my work effectively, and still plenty of space for content! i think i’ll be keeping this design for a while. only improvements i still need to do is to have more interactively like on the homepage, adding a slider at the top for showcasing more work as i progress to add more, and just general changes to make things seem much more smoother, try and get myself more familiar with jquery and i think i could be able to make a few simple changes which could in theory make a huge difference to how a user interprets the website!
I went to the library and picked up a book for the first time. It was called, “The graphic designer’s guide to effective visual communication”. Its really inspiring because it includes things I like to do and have done in the past, collage designs, layout, typography. Which is all of what I usually look at online when I normally do my research, using Deviant Art and other inspirational website. I believe since finding this book, I may widen my inspirational search to books and magazines instead of just online, only thing is the internet is easily accessible where as to look at a book I have to go to librarys/shops which is very time consuming.
Paul went first showing the book, or should I say books he found inspirational. The first book he showed was, “Breaking designers block”, he picked up this book because the current unit he is doing he’s actually struggling to design something and he finds this book will help with getting the inspiration to push forward with what he is producing. The second book he picked up was, “Digital Lab: Print and electronic design” its more about editorial layout, I liked this book, although its more about printed media, I feel a lot of techniques can be put into web design, and layout, laying things out correctly.
John was next, he mentioned that a little while ago he had been in the laing art gallery and was looking at the stationary, he noticed it was by Charley Harper. The book he picked up was by him, “An Illustrated Life”, obviously its about illustrations, about nature, natural forms, using geographical shapes, plenty of bright colours and textured with paint and brush marks. I really enjoyed looking at this book, the illustrations are really inspiring, simple shapes, but effective design.
Florrie presented the, “Web Designer Magazine”, as well as being inspiring with modern trends and different styles it also includes tutorials in photoshop and php to boost your skills. Libby and Jonny had mentioned a couple of other magazines which could be inspiring, “Creative Review” and “.Net”.
James also presented a magazine, “Computer Arts”, it includes plenty of inspiration to do with typography and current trends. It helps with branding because the branding he is needing to do is just typography. I don’t believe magazines give me much inspiration, but they do help me with tutorials to develop and learn new skills.
Jonny presented a book about branding, “Loslogos”, he presented this book because hes currently struggling with creating branding and he wants to stop relying on others and be able to do things more himself, he wants to develop his skills to produce better feedback. Paul also mentioned that logopond.com is also a good place for inspiration with branding.
At this stage in the course I’m about 90% pleased with my progress on the course. I’m not 100% because really college isn’t really on the top of my priorities as it should be. Initially at the start of the course I just had the one job at Morrisons working 24hours, and even doing that was a push as I was spending more time there than at college. After a few projects were finished Libby got me in touch with the owner of Hedgehog Lab, Sarat, and I ended up doing a work placement for just over a month 1 day a week. Since then I’m now working for him 3 days a week, 24hours, whilst dropping my hours down at Morrisons to 16hours, college really is struggling to be fitted in at the moment so its a bit of an uphill battle to do everything, especially when i ended up breaking my laptop a couple weeks ago too! At the moment I only have 1 day dedicated to college and the other being a day off, else I’ll be going mad. So because of this my time management is to pot and I’m trying to do everything. I hate to say it, but I’m seriously behind on my PPD, Digital Skills, and my freelance unit, which I should be putting my Hedgehog Lab work towards. Three weeks into the unit, and literally done nothing. Need to get a move on! I reckon I’ll manage to get everything done, I’m just not sure of the quality of it all though. I feel that I’m having to rush to get things done, either because of doing daft shifts at Morrisons so I’m too tired, or I’m doing something else. Now with having 3 units to get in for the same date, 12th May, its going to be tough, but I’m sure I’ll manage to pull it all together, at the latest the easter holidays, time to hopefully catch up on things.
Graeme came to speak to us today. I enjoyed his talk about how he got to where he is now, a lot different to Lee’s talk. How they differed was that Graeme got an education, foundation degree in graphic design then topped it up to a full degree. His illustrations proved this, he is really talented. After having both talks, I’ve realised if I was to go freelance in the future I wouldn’t want to do everything, I.E. design and coding. I think I would prefer to work with someone, them doing design and myself coding. I believe this would be a good partnership, I’d just have to find someone who has good capable design skills and is up to date with trends, maybe by the end of the second year I may have someone to collaborate with to work with in the future from the course.
Got my marks and feedback from my first hand-in at college. I’m amazed with what I got, I wasn’t expecting
it to be as high as it is. I found out that my writing isn’t as bad as i thought and i just need to get the confidence
to just do it, instead of dreading it everytime.
Things which i felt went well are:
The wireframes and the group tasks, i found these easy enough to do.
Things which i didnt think went that well are:
I hated doing the written report, but it had to be done. I just wanted to get it over and done with so near the end i just put in “enough” words so i could just hand it in without checking the quality of what i wrote. I shouldn’t of done this, I need to build up the confidence so i can just write it and care about what mark i’ll get for the standard of work that i produce.
makes a simple animation of increasing size of menu when mouse is over the header.
mouseover “tooltip” boxes to appear with info inside.
Well yeah, title says it all. Finished making my blog for my first unit at Newcastle College and I guess it’ll be pretty empty until half way through the academic year.
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