My January Sideprojects: What, Why and How.
I am usually busy with my full time job at karriere.at and some smaller projects for clients besides. So for me, sideprojects are the only way to try new technologies and do fun things that have no place in real work.
What i have done …
hackerjobs.at is a API Implementation from karriere.at but only for IT and Tech jobs. It uses google translate widget to display the results in english too (it works surprisingly good). In the future i want to add a view for job details and more infos about “work and life in austria” for users abroad.
memes-generator.net is a webapp for creating meme-pictures. The sort of: funny picture with captions.
What i have learned …
- As database i used redis only. I always wanted to do more with it and now i know much more about designing key-value stores and how to setup and configure redis. The site is programmed in php and with phpredis there exists a very strong, fast and well-documented client-library for php.
- If you have to deal with images, ImageMagick is the weapon of choice, most times i just use it to create thumbnails. Now i know how to create and combine images with custom fonts and styles. It’s really easy to use ttf fonts with ImageMagick and you can get many fonts from google web fonts (yes you can download it as ttf).
- It suprised me that the state of AJAX Uploaders is not so solid i considered … i wanted a library with drag&drop support and easy to use … after trying some other libs i used jquery fileupload, for my taste its to huge and complicated but i have nothing better.
- The state and usage smaller components like Facebook comments, Google Translate widget and Twitter Like button. It sounds unimportant but especially the social network components evolves very quick. Eg.: I didn’t know the counturl or dnt params for the Twitter button.
Why you should do it …
- Starting a new project force you to think over things you usually dont think about. At work we have a big project and framework and we only change the foundation only once in some years. For memes-generator i had to think about routing, controllers and a simple framework, thats really different from a big zend framework project.
- Try some new technologies like databases, apis or programming languages, it helps you to understand problems better and you will see things from other directions.
- Do some other stuff besides your real profession. You can do some graphics or online marketing (adwords) and seo stuff that you don’t do usually because other persons are responsible for that in your company.
- Change your mind on things. If you try new libs and tech you will get much deeper insights to it … so you can revert or maintain opinions you have built in past only from reading news or talking to friends.
- Get some insights for your work but from another side. As a user of the karriere.at API i discovered things that aren’t so good as i thought they are when i developed it.
Some questions to discuss …
Do you do side-projects? Why or why not? How do you get inspiration for side-projects and what did you do in the last weeks?
btw. we at karriere.at released a new version last friday: http://www.karriere.at … it features also some interesting new things like: LESS-based stylesheets, much more CSS3 and HTML5, Vimeo Videos and nearly vanilla js only client side scripting … you can check it out and give feedback (the site is in german).