Time to sum it up!
Today I can definitely say I feel proud of myself 🙂 Even though I could have made some of my posts published during the competition better. Even though I could have made my MoneyBack app developed during the project faaaaar more advanced.
I already wrote in the beginning of the competition, that for me neither completing the application nor becoming a perfect blogger with thousands of readers was the point here. The real goal was to arrive to the end, meet the competition’s requirements and feel proud at the end of this story – and this is undoubtedly how I feel now 😉
I’d like to shortly presents a few interesting statistics concerning the content I produced during the 3 months of the competition (March-May 2017):
- I wrote 21 competition’s posts (including 1 published in February, so not really counted)
- I checked-in (added, changed or removed) 19,381 lines of code (including auto-generated parts)
- top-viewed post: Simple habits for better productivity with ~2600 views for the time of writing this post
- best-ever number of daily blog’s views: 2121 views on 28.05.2017
- top referrers: Reddit with 613 views, dotnetomaniak.pl with 603 views, Google Search with 365 views
- most views from: United States (1503), Poland (1418), United Kingdom (274)
- 33 comments added in total on the published blog posts.
What was good
I have listed several aspects of taking part in DSP competition that I feel especially good about. These include achieved goals, as well as some activities I wanted to begin doing since a piece of time.
Starting a technical blog is one of my best achievements in the competition. It showed me that I really like to publish my insights, share my knowledge with the others and just write solutions to precise issues I’ve met here. Even during those 3 months I referred back to the posts I’ve wrote few weeks ago when I needed to refresh something I already did. Writing a blog post about something, which is public and read by other people (in many cases more experienced programmers) enforces the writer to organize and collect the knowledge he or she is willing to share. This helps making self-learning process really solid and more effective.
(+) Learning mobile development with Xamarin
For a piece of time already I’ve wanted to start mobile development with Xamarin platform. Maybe I haven’t arrived to deeply advanced development stuff, but I definitely learnt the basics of Xamarin and implementing Android apps using it. I was able do it with my daily-used C#, so there was no big entry threshold here, even with many really frustrating issues met on my “Xamarin way” which I’ve been sharing with you here 😉
(+) Open-source contribution
I had an opportunity to publish my source code on public GitHub repository, so other people can potentially see and make a use of it. I really love the idea of open-source, so it was another nice experience. I even found out that each public repository should have a license file added to be considered “really open-source” 🙂
(+) Reading other participants’ blogs
During my DSP adventure I’ve been reading many blog posts published by the other competition’s members. I’d even say that I’ve never read that many posts from different authors in such short period of time. It allowed me to see different writing styles and get the knowledge about various kinds of technologies I had never worked with.
(+) Learning, learning, learning…
Basically – I learn maaaany things during the competition. Starting from technical stuff about Xamarin, through writing a blog, configuring and setting-up WordPress, promoting myself on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Reddit to gaining a lot of knowledge by reading another blog posts on totally various topics. Those 3 months definitely generated a lot of valuable knowledge of different kinds in my head.
What was bad
Of course I also have few aspects of my activity during the competition that I consider as done in a wrong way. I’m also putting here few things that made me frustrated during the competition and wasn’t even my personal mistakes.
(-) Wrong planning
The most basic mistake I’ve made (and I make it in many aspects of my life, as many of us, probably 🙂 ) was a wrong planning. I wanted to write it was too ambitious, but it’s not even really the case. In the beginning of the competition I should have made a long-perspective planning (what parts of my app should be completed until what date, how many posts should I publish each week/month etc). It would probably help me to do more and eliminate lack of time I’ve met during the contest.
(-) Irregularity in posts’ publishing
I know that I was publishing my posts totally irregularly, sometimes at late hours when everyone potentially interested was already sleeping 😉 I also didn’t establish any constant days on which posts on my blog were to be published. This was wrong. It’s another consequence of wrong planning.
(-) Not promoting the blog enough
In general, promotion of my blog posts boiled down to publishing the URLs on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. By the end of DSP I realized the power of Reddit – it’s really worth thinking about promoting good content we produce there. I also could have been more involved in DSP channel on Devs PL Slack – many interesting discussions were held there and people got to know each other 🙂
(-) Too long blog posts
During few weeks in those 3 last months, I had really limited time to work on my DSP project – especially when it came to publishing a blog post, which was a mandatory requirement. Sometimes I really felt this is a mandatory requirement, not a pleasure. However, if I’d have written shorter blog posts, but maybe with a bit less of content, I wouldn’t have such feeling. When writing my posts I was many times starting a post with “In this short post (…)” and then, after 1 or 2 hours writing it, I came back to the introduction in order to remove the “short” word from it 😀
(-) Fighting with “machines”
That’s the part I surely never enjoy about the programming – fighting with weird, unknown issues met during development. Few weeks during the last 3 months were really hard in terms of time for the competition’s tasks, but some were really loose during which I was initially highly motivated to make a significant progress in development of MoneyBack app. However, then I was encountering mysterious problems with Xamarin, Visual Studio and other things which only made me really frustrated and burnt out all the motivation I’ve had. There are some positive aspects of it – for instance creating and self-answering a StackOverflow’s thread which really bumped my statistics on that portal 😉
What I would change the next time
If I take part in the competition again (next year, maybe? 😉 ), I’d obviously try to get rid of all above-mentioned bad aspects of my work. The must-dos for the next time are:
- plan the work from the beginning to the end of the competition (set concrete, long-perspective deadlines)
- publish tasks list (like Trello board) in the beginning on the project so the deadlines set are “promised” publicly
- set-up fixed days and times during the week when blog posts are published (use WordPress’s automatic delayed publishing)
- write shorter blog posts that can be read in ~5 minutes with less, but more decent content
- before using a particular solution for an issue, better examine the other possibilities, i.e. don’t choose to use the UI component firstly found in Xamarin docs (which are not always very good quality) – explore the other blog posts on that topic and see what other people used.
Summary – so what’s next?
For sure I will still work on MoneyBack project. You can follow the progress on its GitHub repository. It’s a great app for pet-project which I was missing before.
Of course, I will also run this blog as I really enjoy sharing my knowledge here, both for the others and for myself to be able to refer back to it after some time.
I’d like to congratulate all DajSiePoznac2017’s participants for your endurance and the commitment we all did to both open-source world and programming blogosphere. I wish you all the best of luck in voting for the best DSP blog/project. Hopefully see you on 17.06.2017 in Warsaw on the official closing of the competition 🙂
I also want to say thank you to Daga who supported me in my way throughout the competition and many evenings spent on writing blog posts or programming 🙂
I’m also very grateful to all blog’s readers and supporters who left any feedback or comments here – your insights were very helpful!