Memorable Projects I have worked on

Posted by Alan Barr on Mon 10 April 2017

I enjoy working in Software Development and I wanted to take some time and write about some of the things I have made that others have found useful. The first thing that I made that others found useful was a status page for logmein remote support lines. The company I worked for had client support staff that had to share about four licenses between twelve or so people. A common issue would be one support agent would be in a session then suddenly lose their connection when someone else decided they needed the line immediately. I found a very simple API I could use and with PHP and some CSS was able to report whether the lines were busy or not. It was really simple and not even that up to date but it was good enough and it gave the staff a chance to at least do the right thing.

The greatest feeling is when you make something and you know it is being used. I have made a handful of things that I could never say for sure that the client used or enjoyed. Making tools to benefit a team is a substantial way to accelerate the effectiveness of a team. Other projects I have enjoyed that made an impact are: a UI and interface to store key value pairs for cms data. A localization tool built into a CMS. A way to edit SEO data inline through a reporting page. A javascript bookmarklet to debug forms. Visual PDF differ using ImageMagick. A UI for using internal tooling to create test user accounts. A tool to export defect tracking from pivotal tracker.

I know that I have worked on many more things but the majority of the ones I do not mention tend to be one-offs related to collecting reporting data, updating legacy code, fixing bugs, and feature I did not receive feedback on. Aside from my first project the most enjoyable achievements have been from inspiring others. Once I started to learn JavaScript it made it a lot more fun when I could teach others what I knew. In another case I enjoyed seeing others take an initial idea/prototype/implementation that I had and creating something even better from that.

Jumping from idea to idea and creating many new things is not a common occurence for most people. I am not inclined to keep working on the same tasks over and over and enjoy pushing myself to learn and try new tings. I hope that with this blog my many experiments will benefit someone trying to achieve some task without having to struggle deeply.

Initially where I struggled to learn the most was when I did not know or understand where a lot of magic was under the hood. A learner is not going to understand a highly refined abstract program without understanding wy it was made that way in the first place.

At the start of my career I wanted to be the one that came up with a new idea that transformed how an action could be done. Now I can see that motivating a team to take on that challenge is much more satisfying than going solo.

tags: Career