The Five Ws of the ZanGOlie Blog

Who is Writing this Blog?

A Mechanical Engineer doing a bit of coding in his spare time.

Where is this Blog coming from?

This blog will be coming to you from the beautiful twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, located in the southernmost part of the Caribbean.

Why Write a Blog?

Problem solving is a passion, and creating software is a great means of satisfying that passion. All one needs is a computer and the internet, as free open source tools means the barrier to entry is nothing more than taking the time to learn what to do.

I have dabbled in some code before (Visual Basic, C++ and java), but I never really tried to create something that was really robust. Most of my coding until recently, mainly involved simple customizations for existing commercial software. So I think it is time I really make an effort to improve my programming skill-set and I’ll be sharing the experience on this blog.

Apart from sharing, hopefully the process of gathering my thoughts to write a blog will allow me to determine the limits of my understanding, and present opportunities to engage and learn from others on the internet.

What Will this Blog Be About?

Smartphones are awesome! I really want to learn how to architect mobile web applications. I started dabbling in HTML5 and Javascript in 2013 as part of a project to see if I could do an app for a friend of mine with a small business. I reached as far as having the ability to create a simple image-list view of products, using the phone’s camera to take product pictures and saving product information to a WebSQL database on the phone. My friend has since gone on to greener pastures, so the plan is to start from scratch and fix the numerous shortcuts taken.

The architecture I have in mind for the front-end (the part of the application that runs on the phone) will continue to use HTML5 and javascript to enable the application to work on multiple platforms. The plan is to see how far the application can go with just the browser and use Cordova (which can package a HTML5 application into on app that can be installed on a phone) if it turns out some native capabilities are needed as features are added. In addition, I intend to learn just enough CSS to figure out how to structure the architecture for a CSS library such as Adobe’s Topcoat (which I will be using for visual style).  Since I am no graphic designer, and have no ambition of becoming one, I will not be focusing too much on visuals.

Some of the javascript libraries I used in 2013 to implement the front-end architecture were:

  • Backbone.js for creating a Model, View, Controller architecture.
  • Require.js for breaking the application into manageable modules.
  • BBUI,js for the visuals and handling screen transitions etc(this will be replaced but I intend to use many of the principles I learned from looking at the code).
  • jqMobi (now Intel App Framework) for dom manipulation.

For the back-end (the server-side), Java will be used to create a restful API, making this an opportunity to advance my basic knowledge of java.

Since this blog is starting with literally zero social media and internet presence, I’ll need to learn how to use Google Analytics, Search Engine Optimisation etc as well as user feedback to improve.

Setting up this blog using Amazon Web Services (AWS), Ubuntu,and WordPress are all fair game for blog posts.

This will not be some expert blog on the topics mentioned above. Rather, most of the blog posts will come from notes that I have made in Evernote, as I learn things I need to use.

When Will there be Blog Posts?

My initial target is to post at least twice per month, with one of those post being very detailed.

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