I wish to say 0 f*cks were given into this project but..

Over 20+ was contributed by Colin himself and another uncountable number of f*cks were given when we had to reworked the UI for the third time.

I got to say that this is the first module I’ve taken which made my parents worried about my health.

The final project marks the first time that I’m working for a non technical client and this is also the first time where I found myself truely appreciative of practices such as requirements gathering and client management.

Sadly, we did too much of the former (requirements gathering) and too little of the latter (client management). Every week we would have a meeting with our client and every week without fail there will be some new hurdles hampering progress. Major UI revamps, killing of a feature that was painstakingly built, changes to existing workflow and many more. All these changes might seem trivial from the client point of view, but each of them takes time and that eventually lead to the team running around in circles.

Hence the very plain chat app which was presented during our progress report 2 which we thought had to be written. As a note, the chat functionality was actually built within 2 to 3 weeks into the project along with a functional NLP chat bot implemented by Kiwi.

However, I believe client management wouldn’t really help in our case because the client doesn’t know what he wants in most of the cases anyway. It is difficult to manage the expectation of someone when the expectation is everchanging.

At the end of the day, despite my misgivings about the project, I honestly feel that the team has really worked our a**es off and built a product that has really capture the essense of what our client has envisioned. Apart from a few issues withstanding,  I believe that it has the potential to do us good. So good luck to my team and press on!

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Its now half way through the final project and I thought I can share some of the progress so far.

So for the first sprint, we managed to get a chat system up and running! Buggy as it is, it still works and since then we’ve improved on it..so I can say its currently useable now! On my end, I did the UI for the chat and since this is my first time making a UI for chat, I’ve learnt a few stuff along the way.

Then the progress was somewhat slowed due to requirements changes midway into the second sprint, but I’m glad to say we’ve ironed those issues out and now we’re well on our way into our second big feature!

Hopefully this app will be good enough to score during STEPS, keeping my fingers crossed. Have a nice day =)

After assignment 3

So assignment 3 just ended. All those sleepless nights working on improving what I can in terms of UI and UX is over too. To date, I feel Jigsaw has the most polished UI I’ve made so far. It does have its shortage of features compared to existing solutions out there, but I think at least we have solved the problem we set out to solve.

We’ve decided on our final project and not surprisingly, I will take up the job of front-end developer again. Initially we wanted to try out android programming but eventually we felt that our lack of experience with it might hamper the user testing process. That means we are probably sticking with our familiar MEAN stack and mobile web app development. Not that I am complaining but the only thing I wanted to accomplish in CS3216 was some experience in Android development. Oh well, good thing is there will be a designer on board! Sad thing is, he/she probably doesn’t know how to program. This is probably the calm before the storm…so good luck to everyone.

Depressed

Assignment 1 is finally over but I’m not happy at all.

Firstly, I’ll start off with this week’s pitching session. What I felt was an important takeaway is that, an idea must be unique and feasible. After the session, I felt that some of the pitch were a tad too unconvincing and unrealistic. In my opinion, one that really caught on to me is Nom Affairs. The idea is simple, unique (or at least to me it is) and relevant in today’s context, would absolutely love to work on it as a final project.

Secondly, a small reflection on Assignment 1. Authorific is an app born from a good idea. However it is during implementation where I felt the inadequacy of myself as a front-end developer. Drawing and designing is not my forte at all. Never once in my ten years of primary and secondary school curriculum have I passed Art at all (I mean it). Although Authorific works in terms of workflow, I personally feel that the look of the application could have been better, yet personally, I felt that I was hitting my limit in terms of design. I guess non-designers front-end developers can only draw inspiration (read: copy) from works of other brilliant designers.

Thirdly, Assignment 3 has started. Development has been going along fine. I’ll be doing front-end once again. This time round, I took a different approach in terms of UI. In Authorific, our UI focus is set to deviate as much as possible from Material Design. However, this time I’ll be following Material Design Guidelines like a bible, just to see if it will help improve my “design sense”. So wait for it.

Fourthly, having troubles coping with the rest of my modules, hence the title of this post. I think if you take a look at my modules you will feel that its very manageable, however currently I am struggling quite abit. Oh well, I guess at least I am doing CS3216 right. CS3216 > other modules

Thanks for reading my rant. 24 hours is not enough got to get back to work.

CS3216 Assignment 2: Application Critique for Slack

Powerful integration:

Group 9 mentioned that Slack provides powerful integration and personally I have tried using Slack integrated with Trello. In my opinion, it is no simple feat to have an API that is able to be integrated with so many platforms and more apps should develop with extensibility in mind.

Markdown:

Markdown texts are more and more commonly used. This is the first messenger that I have seen that actually allows markdown messages to be sent. Personally it helps to bring across a point more vividly.

Slackbot:

Personally I haven’t use the Slackbot apart from letting the bot guide me through the tutorial. It feels like going through a “code academy”ish tutorial in which you are figuring out the correct set of actions to make the bot continue. Although the group mentioned about the viability of selling the bots as a service, I personally do not see this idea taking off as the bots are too ingrained into Slack to be of any use for daily life.

Thoughts: 

I personally find Slack a very visually attractive messenger. I find that some of the integrations are not very useful but it definitely helps the app to sell. More on the integration of apps, I think it will be nice if more apps are like Slack that is easily integrated into existing apps. It helps to grab the attention of the users from the other platforms. This is also a trend as more and more apps are exposing APIs for other developers to integrate their apps with one another. Hopefully, as this trend continues we will find that navigating between apps will be a more seamless experience and reduce the amount of app switching that a user has to do.

Zendesk lesson learnt

From Zendesk’s personal recount, I think that having a dream team for a project is not always viable. What matters more is your team’s tenacity and motivation towards the goal. Hence, instead of having your dream team, I think it’s more important to have a motivated and commited team that share the same goals. That was the case with Assignment 1. We do not have a designer in the team however we make do with what we have and strive towards realising our idea which gave birth to Authorific (www.authorific.tk)

So far so good…

So far, the pace of the module can be said to be manageable. Assignment 1 is coming along fine, lectures are easy to follow and the other modules are also still ok. However, tutorial starts this week and I hope that I still can cope.

The project is coming along pretty well, so I guess I’ll share a little about it. The title of our project is called ‘Authorific’. It is a social collaborative writing site, meaning people can get together and write stories. The initial idea came from Anand and we started working on it about a week ago. As of now, we have a working site however much is still left undone. I am part of the front-end team with Anand while Anthony and Ian work on implementing the backend. Hopefully we can gather testers before the mid-assignment deadline.