I have decided to create the Derek Podcast, this podcast is another way for me to produce content about my software developer career. I chose to start a podcast because its something I’ve always wanted to try and I appreciate the medium. My written posts will come back next week but in the meantime, here is episode 1. Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment or via Twitter.
If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been blogging much lately. The main reason for this is because I was tired of running my blog on a slow cloud provider. Up until this past Friday, I migrated my blog to Digital Ocean from Microsoft Azure. The migration process was super simple and only took about an hour, to get things transferred to my new provider. Before the migration, I was consistently having performance issues with WordPress on Azure. For example, it took forever to publish a simple post, the page would consistently load for a while before I could start writing. Another issue was that updating plugins or other components of my website would cause WordPress to get stuck in Maintenance Mode. The only easy way to get everything working again was to use an FTP client and remove a certain file from the directory structure of my website. However, the main driver for the migration was the price per month to keep a relatively small site like this up all the time. The price was about $200 a month alone. Keep in mind, I also have various servers for the backends for various applications on Azure. After a while, keeping all this up was getting very expensive. I even asked Microsoft what my options were to improve performance and help on how to reduce my price. They had a few good suggestions, which I implemented but it still seemed slow. I had the option to upgrade the server running my blog to something more powerful. The recommended option was out of my price range.
Recently, I wrote a blog post called The Gear I Use To Get Things Done. In that post, I outlined all of the computers and other gear I use to get my work done. Out of the list of products listed was a 2015 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It was a great computer for the time and it served me very well, until two weeks ago. During this time, I was browsing my Twitter Feed and saw numerous posts about discounts on the 2017 and 2016 MacBook Pro 15″ with Touch Bar at B & H Photo. Since I was in the market anyway for a more powerful laptop, I decided to check it out. However, the specs of the machines that had the discount were not going to be enough for my workload. With this in mind, I would look out for a good deal until Apple decides to update the MacBook Pro for 2018.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have made great progress on two apps that I’m writing. Working on these two projects every week has been a personal goal of mine since I started this blog, and I’m excited to see what the future holds. However, this progress means that the development process starts to slow down and the testing phase begins. This past weekend, I spent most of my time getting ready to move my apps into testing mode. During this time, I developed some tips in order to help newer developers get ready for testing.
At the time of writing this post, I have been blogging about my software development career for over a month. Without a doubt, this has been an awesome career move for me. Ever since I posted my very first post I’ve gotten multiple compliments on the design of this website. These comments specifically surprised me the most, since I’m not a designer at all. However, I’m willing to work on the design of my apps until it looks good. I realize that I have not talked about iOS development lately. Don’t worry, I just finished the iOS app for Park-Lane Tobacconist. I think the app turned out quite well, and I definitely have plans to write about some new topics I learned during the process of making that app. I also plan to expand my writing in the area of mobile development to include Xamarin. I recently took on a cross-platform mobile application project, as a reason to check out the latest versions of the technology. I’m still in the early stages of this new project but my early thoughts on using cross-platform tools will be coming out in the next couple of weeks.
As many of you know, I like to stay busy. At any given time I have about two or three software projects going at the same time. Currently, I have 4 projects going right now. These projects include 2 mobile apps and 2 web-based projects. In addition to all of that, I work full time and attend college at night. However, I love being busy with my software projects because it helps me learn new skills and helps me get new client work. With that being said, I still find room in my day to taking care of myself, spend time with my family and to enjoy a good show on Netflix. To achieve a decent work-life balance, I had to develop a system in order to manage my time better in order to make room for my projects. The result is a four-step plan that anyone can follow in order to improve your efficiency.
If your reading this, then you stumbled on to my next post since writing my introductory post on New Years Day. If you have not read that yet, I strongly suggest you do that to learn more about why I’m blogging. Anyway, today’s post is all about some recent findings I discovered during the development process of the ParkLane iOS app. My use case is pretty simple and common for the platform. I have a login and sign up ViewControllers inside my app where the user can fill out some fields to create an account in our database or login into a existing one. However, I needed some kind of alert to pop up on the screen to tell a user if one of the following errors occurred:
Wrong Email and Password
As you can tell this presents a problem. I know Apple has something to solve this called a UIAlertView. Its pretty simple to use, it looks like this: let button2Alert: UIAlertView = UIAlertView(title: "Title", message: "message", delegate: self, cancelButtonTitle: "Ok", otherButtonTitles: nil)
// show alert on screen button2Alert.show()
I wasn’t worried to use this code because I’ve used it before, However Xcode presented me with this warning:
UIAlertView is deprecated. Use UIAlertController with a preferredStyle of UIAlertControllerStyleAlert instead
This left me puzzled, after doing some research this change occurred around the release of iOS 8 in 2014. After thinking about it some more, It must have been a change that I simply missed, and I take the blame for it. In a request to redeem myself I took out the old UIAlert code and replaced it with the newer UIAlertController.
After trying this new API, I have to say I like this better than the old UIAlertView. The newer framework seems like more work, but your getting more control over your alerts. Here is a quick code example to show you the difference.
If your familiar with how iOS views work the this seems pretty straight forward. I bet developers that don’t understand iOS or Swift can figure out what this code does. I also enjoy that the addAction method has a completion handler in order to execute some custom code when you tap a button on the alert.
Before I go, I realize that this first iOS post was pretty simple but do not worry. I have plenty of content coming up on more advance topics. So keep following my blog and be sure to follow me on Twitter to be alerted when new content is posted.
At the time of writing this post, its currently New Years Day. I figured today would be the perfect day to layout my vision for this site, and talk about some goals for my software development career in 2018. For easier reading purposes, I have broke down each of my goals into sections.
Why start a Blog?
This past summer, I read a book called ‘Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual’ by John Sonmez. This book has changed my perspective on life, In return I begin to start the journey to take back my time and try to work for myself. This book explains how important it is to market skills as a software developer in order to get new clients and maybe a higher paying job. This book also mentions multiple times that a blog is a perfect medium to market my skill sets through blog posts and links to previous work. However with that being said, This isn’t my first time blogging. I’ve been trying to blog about various topics ranging from programming, tech news and video games for many years, but at the time I was very young and was not thinking about a long term career goal. This time it is a completely different perspective, I really want to be able to turn my skills into a sustainable business where I can be happy with the work I’m doing while taking back my time. Blogging into 2018 should help me do that while being able to market myself.
What are you going to be blogging about?
This is a very good question. While I was building this site, I often thought about what I’m going to write about. After some thinking I came up with the following ideas.
Documenting the progress on my side projects: At the time of writing this, I’m currently working on two side projects. Both of these projects I’m extremely passionate about and generally enjoy working on them. However, I think writing about these projects will help potential job recruiters and new developers some perspective on what technologies I know and use.
Documenting my experiences learning Swift again: It is no secret that I love Apple and the iPhone. When the Swift Programming language was announced in 2014. I was hooked. The announcement couldn’t not have come at a better time either, I was just about to graduate high school and start my first year of community college. With that in mind, I stayed up late reading Swift tutorials, watching Swift YouTube videos and reading the official Swift iBook. I made a few apps and submitted them on the App Store during that summer. The apps were not very good, but I was proud of them. However, I also wrote a lot of Swift code. (most of which I lost due to a hard disk failure :/). Since I started working full time, I haven’t had a chance to use Swift, Most of my day is spent in Visual Studio and C#. Don’t get me wrong, C# is one my personal favorite languages and tools like Xamarin make it possible to develop mobile apps in C#. However, through my experience, these tools are hard to use and I have ran into problems with them. With that being said, I can’t wait to start learning Swift again and to create better apps.
Software Development tips and tutorials: This is a pretty generic topic but I figured since developing software is a learning process. I figured I would create some content on how to accomplish certain tasks, tutorials on certain frameworks and languages and good tips for newer developers.
How often are you going to post?
This is a easy one! My goal is to post one blog post a week on any of the following topics outlined above.
If your still reading this, congratulations you have made it through my first blog post. Its only going to get better from here. If you have questions, comments and concerns please use the contact section of the home page or email me if you want to get a hold of me.