CodeGorilla keeps going: 17th of August 2017

We got the GO! So that means Codegorilla is recruiting new potential Full Stack Web Developers to be trained in 3 months followed by an internship. The rules for companies wanting interns from CodeGorilla are amongst others that they are obligated to sign an agreement in which they state that the intern will be hired after their internship, provided there is a mutual satisfaction about internship of course. For many potential participants the bootcamp will be free of charge and funded by local governental agencies like, for example, the municipality of Emmen, The Netherlands. As I myself am living proof that the CodeGorilla approach works, I am proud te stay involved in CodeGorilla and it’s philosofy and so I urge any Dutchman reading this to apply for the next bootcamp.

You’ll acquire many new skills and we look further than just coding skills. The 21st century skills after all, are equally important for today’s employers. I can personally vouch for it, if you develop junior level hard skills and posess a nice set of soft skills, like ownership, entrepreneurship, etcetera, you’ll far more than likely to find a suitable job when you walk out of CodeGorilla’s door. But that’s not all, once you complete the bootcamp, you’re a CodeGorilla for life. This means that you’ll be a part of a community of developers that help each other out and stay connected to each other. Any problems you face, be it technical, social or professional ones, there’s a load of CodeGorillas to help you out, back you up, advise you or whatever. So again, I urge you to apply for the CodeGorilla bootcamp and change your life forever. With the skills you’ll acquire, you’ll be ready for the future. You’ll be the wizard that picks up new development techniques in no-time and understands how they work. Apply now at CodeGorilla.nl. See you soon!

The Electronic Learning Environment: 14th of August 2017

Welcome to a new week! Want to know what I will be up to for the next couple of days? Keep reading..... The plan is to build a so called Electronic Learning Environment for the next batch of CodeGorillas that will be attending the coding bootcamp in Emmen. As I was part of the "pilot group", guinea pigging the way for many more Gorillas to come, a lot has been learned by me as well as the organizers, managers, coaches and other stakeholders-with-titles. We came to the conclusion, amongst others, that it would be a good idea to let potential candidates lay a foundation of knowledge on their own, before the bootcamp starts. This way the unmotivated are filtered out immediately and when the assessment-hackathon starts we are judging a group of people that should have some knowledge of web technologies. Knowledge which they then can apply to their given case. Furthermore, we are building the ELE to combine all learning- and communication tools that are now used seperately by coaches and participants. First of all, we'll make a connection to SoloLearn so we can monitor progress by aspirants before we ever welcome them to the bootcamp in the first place. When that's in place we're off to a great start I believe. Implementations will include a few widgets like a calendar, chat, forum, news and so on. Easily scalable, and all electronic tools in on webapp built with the Yeoman scaffolding tool. I'm collabbing with Bert Leiting. That's the man that coached me for the most part when I was discovering web development myself. I'm thankful for getting the chance to keep working with him. As a self-taught coder, he is a fine example of an entrepreneurial person and living proof of how you can become a developer, no matter where you came from. Might you be a Dutchman and intrested in becoming a web developer, sign up for the next CodeGorilla bootcamp and I'll see you there, soon!

The Digital Garage: 7th of August 2017

Hello there, long time no read. It's been a week, but an exciting one indeed. I was simply too busy to write a decent blogpost but with a set goal now finished it is time to write down what I have been up to. At least that's what I figured, might you dare to disagree, by all means stop reading and do something useful.
Still here? Good! As you have probably read this posts title you could have derived what I have been up to, but for those readers not having a bell rang I will explain. The Digital Garage ("digitale werkplaats" in Dutch) is a place where Google is teaching anyone interested in online marketing the basics in this area of expertise. As I see myself becoming a developer and not a marketeer I figured having the basics down is more than enough. I should be able to advice clients in how to approach online marketing techniques like SEO, SEM and display advertising, at least in my opinion I should be. For the specialistics I'd advise anyone to hire a real marketeer, but if your developer can help you get going with this stuff, it could never work as a disadvantage for me I believe.
Anyway, I managed to complete all 89 (or so) lessons, correctly answered enough questions of the final exam and received a digital certificate from Google. The things endorsed by IAB Europe and everything. So, I am now certified in "The Online Marketing Fundamentals" and although this is not a direct requirement for web development, it certainly is a related subject, especially to the so called outsider.

A new week: 31st of July 2017

It's Monday! Time for a brand new week of exciting opportunities and stuff. I am very happy to be a future member of CodeGorillas core staff. My role will be that of Monitor, which in my case will mean that I will act as Product Owner for any product future bootcampers at CodeGorilla in Emmen will be developing during their training. There is a big pile of online resources available on how to be succesful as a Product Owner. Now it's up to me to translate that to my specific role and factor in that I am working with dev teams made up out of people without any developing experience. That's a challenge, which I like. I know where I came from, 3 months back I was clueless about web development. Now, I can find my way and actually develop something cool and deployable in few minutes. Other than that, I keep discovering new, cool tools and resources almost on a daily basis. Want a taste? check this business.site which I just made in 3 minutes.
Anyway, the future looks bright and the people to be in that future are much to my liking. I'm ready, let's go!
For Dutchies, here's my learning plan for the next 3 months

Product Owner in a Learning Company: 25th of July 2017

So, how to be a Product Owner...... The term product owner (PO) is probably something you've heard about if you have ever been active in a (software/development) company using agile practices like scrum. The PO is the one connecting the dev team to the business side of the product, constantly balancing between the two. This is, to the best of my knowledge, not an easy task as the typical developer and the typical developer do not match in most cases. This makes the PO role mighty interesting and at the same time, not a task that's suited for everyone. Personally I can see myself taking on this challenge and by spending some hours browsing, surfing and googling I came to the conclusion that there are a lot of online resources but not in the form that my role is being defined. Most resources, logically, explain the PO role in a company full of knowledgable developers who have a clear understanding of web development. The obvious difference of course being that in my case, I strictly deal with entry-level developers without any professional coding experience. Next to that, every CodeGorilla part of the team is here to learn coding and experience personal growth in hard- and soft skills alike. This means that I will have to find my own way in how to fulfill the PO role, baring in mind that the ultimate goal here is for the people to develop their skills, not to develop a product. Not to say that developing a product is of no importance at all, but the emphasis is on the learning aspect, not the production. Well, we'll see how this goes, for now I'm pretty confident. I think I can get all "students" to their personal desirable skill level and at the same time let them experience the joy of completing a product and publishing it. After all, how awesome is it that something you created becomes available to the world and every connected person on the planet can see and experience what you can do? Speaking of such, check out my latest creation: gathering news from any feed you want and might you be interested in such a product, send me an email

The Codathon: 20th of July 2017

Time for something fun! The CodeGorillas are doing a Codathon today, a full work day to spend on creating a website for a real life customer. The customer happens to be the education architect here at CodeGorilla whom just started as a business owner and doesn't have a website yet. So let's see if there's a website ready to go online by the end of the day. I must say I have good faith in the CodeGorillas to produce something really cool by the end of the day and if anyone is able to really amaze the jury, of which I will be a part, it would make a happy (boot)camper. So like I said I will be a juror today, but I'm also available as a source for any help needed. All in all the assignment was taken in professionally and cordially by all participants, participants whom I still see as my peers I might add. Next to being a very practical, real-life simulating case it's also a very good learning situation. I firmly believe that at this point, everybody learns most and fastest just by doing what they are taught to do. If you want to become a web developer and you have your basic knowledge in order, all you need is as much experience as possible to become better at your job. That's also the main reason I keep starting up new, small projects. It's just to see if I can realize whatever plan springs to mind and I must say 90% of everything I try, I succeed in. Just knowing that what I want is possible is enough for me to start building. And by trial and error, I eventually produce what I roughly had in mind. And more importantly, gained more experience in web development. Today's ultimate, higher if you will, goal is to open everybody's eyes on this subject. Learn by doing, it's the most effective way. Trust me, I know.... You can find my latest little mind spin on Github

The Big Overhaul: 13th of July 2017

It's time for something new! Although the WebDevPro Shop will stay in development my focus is shifting somewhat due to recent developments. Huh, what, how? Keep rolling your eyes over the text and I'll try to explain. First of all, I'm not a fully experienced developer. I am merely a coding student participating in the CodeGorilla bootcamp in Emmen, The Netherlands. Being a student in this bootcamp I have been asked how I would like to become a Coach for future students. I'd love to do that! Just imagine: you're part of a 3 month course (followed by a 3 month internship) that will ultimately CHANGE PEOPLES LIVES!!!! I have found to love web development, the ultimate cool is writing code which will make all sorts of cool stuff appear in your browser, that's just mind-bogglingly (that a word?) AWESOME. The greatest thing about the CodeGorilla bootcamp however, is that we are not being tought in the traditional way. All bootcampers are trained by Entrepreneurial Learning. Effectively meaning that all knowledge you acquire will be found by yourself and you, as the student, are in control of what skills you are developing. Besides that, the focus is no less on your soft skills as it is on your hard skills. Everybody is trained to be a developer+ if you will. A developer that is not only skilled at coding, but even more skilled in learning quickly and picking up new skills by self-learning. Communication and general social skills are also important here, you become a developer and develop traits that are highly sought after in today's IT-job market.
So, my role will become a (fictional) Product Owner, if you don't know what a Product Owner is or does, read up here and find out. The difference between a real life product owner and my role as a product owner is in a nutshell that I have to keep it educational, which I will and can do, no doubt about that. So yesterday the former product owner gracefully signed over his tasks to me and I and he together broke the news to my fellow bootcampers. The transition went smoothly, no resistance from anybody, even some happy/content reactions, Great! So this morning I re-introduced the morning scrum for all sub-groups and product that are in development. Next to that I asked all groups for a backlog, which is indispensable for using the scrum method correctly and filling in the role of Product Owner. So far, so good, I won't bother anyone with the deeper details, but there's obviously a lot more to it than what I just described here. Anyway, shoot me a message if you're seeking for a bit more info on the matter. Come back later and read up on how things are going. You might just be surprised!

The WordPress Scan Page: 10th of July 2017

♬ It's just another manic monday..... ♬
Time to get to work after an awesome weekend filled. I can still feel the beers trying to leave my system but as always, that's not getting in the way of my work! So, opening my MacBook this morning at first, I had no idea how I was going to fill the day. Only one thing was sure: I was going to work on my webshop project. And with so many things that need to get done, I had enough choice to start the week. I already downloaded and tested some security tools and in particular a tool to accurately scan WordPress sites including all plugins installed on the targeted site. So I figured today would be a good one to create a page dedicated to that particular service. Last friday one of my coaches suggested to use a script that would generate a background with the famous "Coding Rain" we all know from the The Matrix Trilogy. So there was my first challenge. I managed to find such a script and implemented it on the page. I decided to leave out the usual header as I thought it would be a bit too much in combination with said script. I did however implement the header menu for easy navigation, in my opinion a must to keep all of the project uniform and to let users easily navigate all pages. I changed the script to make the Code Rain red instead of the usual "Matrix Green" to let it blend better with my overall style. Next to that I decided to use a form for requesting a scan rather than run a lot of scripting in the browser I feel this will keep the non-serious people out, we'll see if I'm right. But of course, such a form requires some server-side scripting for which I used good ol' PHP. I made a PHP script once before, but that one submitted the results to a CSV file. For this project I wanted the form to be emailed to myself as well as the person requesting the scan. It took me a while, but I managed to get it done. I created a new email address to recieve the generated mail and tested the functionality thoroughly. All is fine, I did it. I'm starting to feel like a real WebDevPro. Pretty proud of myself, accomplishing this on ♬ just another Manic Monday ♬
Check out today's work here

Presenting Progress: 7th of July 2017

Alright, it's Friday. In my case this means presenting my work of the past week to the coaches as well as peaking at what my fellow CodeGorilla bootcampers have done. But for this post, let's focus on my own development process. You can read what I have done in the past posts, so no need to rerun all of that here. I must say I got the impression that all coaches were quite content with my work. I have shown them all of my work from the last week, got some pretty good input and feedback which I will try to implement today and the coming week. I have shown some tools and systems I plan to use for security scans and such, as well as mention some changes I will be applying to my previous work Because I have no planning for this project I got the OK to use this blog as kind of a hindsight planning. My reasons for this: I don't like working on a set schedule, mainly because of my lack of development experience I can't really tell how much time certain tasks will take. From what I have learned so far I can see that the things that seem to be simple can take up a lot of my time, while other tasks I expect to be monstrous turn out to be done in a matter of seconds (so to speak). But anyway, as long as I keep making progress and get things done everybody's ok with me continuing to work as I am doing now. However if my progress is slowing down the option for the coaches is still open to get me to make and follow a planning. I'm not too afraid of that happening, mainly because now I feel free to work on whatever part of my project I wish to focus on and I can easily switch between tasks at will. This in return means that I will keep going forward on an acceptable pace and I can show progress every single day. I trust myself to keep that up, I certainly know I can, so why not do it, right? By the way: I changed the "you have reached the end, go back up you must" animation. Hover over it and spot the change. It's also clickable now.

Jolly weekend and see you on Monday!

The PayPal Integration: 6th of July 2017

Time to get PayPal working. For now the shop isn't a full cart app, but the possibility to buy a digital product and pay for it using PayPal is live. I've set the functionality to the so called 'sandbox' mode PayPal offers which is basically meant to test functionality. Well.... It works! And I gave a live demonstration to some guests that we had over at CodeGorilla in Emmen. Our technical coach wasn't present today so I can honostly say I made the integration work all on my own. It took two tries yes, but it works and I'm glad I have developed the skills to spot the mistake I made at the first try. I'll be touching up the template site tomorrow to make the look of it like it should be, but the functional part is done. Also tomorrow I'll be presenting my progress to another coach and I'm feeling pretty confident about it.
If you take another look at the live example page (linked in my previous blog post) you'll see I made a Paypal overlay for the template and a fixed 'back' button to easily return to the template selling page.

Time to get to Work: 5th of July 2017

Hi there and welcome back. Let's see what we're gonna do today. I took a quick look at the PayPal API to accept payments. I think it's relatively easy to implement, but of course I can't be sure at this point in time. When taking a look at it I realised I would have to make a page to sell a product first, then implement the PayPal module to accept payment. Why PayPal? Well, I don't like banks in general and with PayPal anybody can easily set up an account and use their credit or debit card to make payments. Easy enough, and if you don't have an account set up yet, it's like a few clicks away. I even think, but am not sure, you can just use your card to pay and set up your account in the process.... So PayPal is my way to go. Br first, I'll be setting up a product page to test if my theories are true.
So, it's the afternoon now. I have finished my first template! The time doesn't allow me to implement the payment module so that will be my goal for tomorrow. Once I get that to be fully functional I can obviously reuse the implemented code for all other products to be sold in the WebDevPro Shop. The template is built purely on HTML, CSS and JavaScript and I have a live example available. Check out the template page right here and click on the link there for a live example. Thanks for the read and keep coming back to follow the development.

First post: 4th of July 2017

Welcome to my first post. On this page you and I can keep track of the development of the WebDevPro Shop. First of all, how do you like the storefront? I know, I know, it's the only part of the shop so far that's actually available, but we all have to start somewhere right? Just keep in mind that I only started coding 2 months ago. And now, instead of developing a ready made CMS webshop, I'm doing it all on my own, by doing what I have found to love; coding. I tried the WordPress thing, it's just not for me, I'd rather actually code than use predefined restrictions and try to make it work for me. That's why I forfeited my original (self-chosen) assignment and decided to do it this way. My CodeGorilla coach praised the bold choice I made and if I can deliver a realistic planning for this project I am sure I will get his approval to pursue my goal. Which is developing a functional webshop on my own, without a CMS as starting point. So how will I take on this assignment? Well as you might have seen already, the webshop as well as this blog is built on a template. But that's all, there's no pre-built functionality, no payment modules, WYSIWYG editor or anything like that. It's all coded by me personally. I am feeling confident about this project and I'm excited to start working on it. Keep coming back to follow my development as an entry level coder. I'm confident that I will be able to surprise you, because once again: I only started coding 2 months ago.