Post-Course Stress Disorder

So I missed the last 2 blog posts with very good reason. Two Fridays ago was mid-final project and there really wasn’t much time to breath. Last Friday we all presented our final projects to the class, broke at 3:30 on our very last day of WDI and went to the pub before our graduation party. Very necessary celebrations.

The only thing I really missed discussing bar final project chat was our awesome computer science week, which took place in the morning sessions of Week 11. The structure of this was altered so that each student in the class needed to go home and plan a lesson on a specific computer science topic. I was given queuing theory, which I was none too excited about until I actually researched and planned my lesson. Turns out queuing theory is kinda awesome. We also learned about sorting, binary, prime numbers and fibonacci sequences, data-tree structures, etc. and unrelated but equally useful, stock options. It was all really interesting and useful to go away and study something on our own, with the added pleasure of having everyone teach us something.

Other than that, the last 2 weeks were spent almost entirely with James P. and CJ, my two team members for our final project. We had the option of working on whatever we wanted, and with anyone we wanted, for the final project. Everyone in the class other than us and one other pair (Britney Jo and Julien) opted to work independently. So we knew this meant 2 possibly negative things for us: 1. We would have to make a damn good product as there were 3 of us able to contribute to it in the same amount of time, and 2. We were up against time in that agreeing on decisions and version control would both slow us down. But we also knew it meant 2 positive things for us: 1. We thought this might set us apart come presentation time and we, in theory, should get a better product for the same reasons, and 2. We know the value of working together as a team in programming, which is why pair programming is such a big thing – you learn from each other, you catch each other’s mistakes, you help one another out – and you learn how to work with other people.

So after a LOT of debate between the 3 of us in week 10, we all finally agreed that it was the best way forward.

We worked awesomely as a team. I really couldn’t have asked for a better one. It helps that we all have the same sense of humour, none of us are sensitive when it comes to insults or offensive teammates, and we are all absolute workaholics. We literally worked every single day of the allotted project time and more (seriously, we started early despite having other work), and other than CJ being much better at code than James and I, we are all relatively quick thinkers, speakers and coders, which helped a lot. Pace is a huge thing when working with others.

We also all really love each other and have become incredible friends over the course of the last 3 months, and this extends outside of our group. Our class grew so close together having spent so much time together, and we became like one big family. I was sincerely entertained by every person in the course and without getting too mushy, I couldn’t have asked for better course-mates, instructors or GA staff members. But enough of all that schmooze – that’s just the post-course depression getting me down.

So our team wound up deciding to make a site that we called EHXE. It is essentially a checkin site that allows you to populate a map and a timeline with your experiences, both past and present, from anywhere in the world based on geolocation, using the Google maps API. It enables you to enrich these checkins with words, photos and sounds (and soon to be video), which you can then categorize by colour and add people to the EHXEs. The site is default private so that you don’t have to worry about what you upload, write or who you include, but there will be potential for sharing in the future.

It is a javascript heavy site, written in coffeescript and using jquery, and obviously with the backbone of ruby on rails. This was a big challenge for me as I felt really unconfident with javascript going into the final weeks, but this was one of the things that I set as a personal goal, to become more familiar with javascript and challenge myself to write in it – and I did! I learned a TON from CJ who has been coding since high school in one form or another, and I loved my group to pieces despite the NUMEROUS arguments we had throughout this time. We went through 3 full site redesigns (the onus of which ultimately fell on me) but in the end wound up with something much better than what we had originally planned because of this.

So enough of all that – check out the site here. It is a responsive site and works on mobile and tablets but we are at the moment having some issues with safari so Chrome is best on desktop. Navbar is in the upper left (we have a walk me intro but it sometimes doesn’t pop up) so please do sign up and start adding some EHXE’s of your own!

ehxe

EHXE

We were asked to present to potential hiring partners the Wednesday night before the project was due (so it was still a bit incomplete but definitely presentable) and we received awesome feedback, which makes us really optimistic about job prospects and also the future of the site should we all decide to continue pursuing it. It obviously still needs a lot of tweaks and additions that we would like to complete to make it better, but for a 2 week project, we are all really pleased. We even managed to make tshirts, which was adorable and made our final presentation to the class on Friday a little bit better, in addition to our voluntary presentation that evening at the graduation party to over 90 people across GA.

I also have to mention how awesome the other projects were – because they truly were awesomely impressive. I can’t believe what we have all achieved, every single one of us. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I helped to design and write copy for our class yearbook site. It will be fully updated by the end of the week hopefully, as at the moment the bios are not complete and final projects are not yet posted, but when it’s ready I will post it on here for everyone to see.

So that is all – our graduation party was awesome and bitter sweet – we had a hilarious mishap where, after a dance party at GA, we were meant to be surprised by a 2 hour party bus, but it showed up over an hour late with hostile staff members and no onboard bathrooms, so after some shouting matches, we all vetoed the plan and redirected to having a house party at our regional director Matt Cynnamon’s house instead. It was sort of a perfect end to the course and amazing to hang out with everyone one last time, despite Matt accidentally ordering 8 anchovy pizzas at 2am (no one like anchovies Matt – hilarious!).

I miss everyone greatly and fortunately will be able to see a lot of people in London still, but it is odd having the first Monday in 3 months without an early morning trek to GA for croissants, our weekly scrum, and a lovely lesson of code with a stellar group of people. So it’s off to the job hunt, which so far is going great, and let’s see what is next to come.

Goodbye General Assembly WDI London June 2013!

GA WDI London June 2013

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