2 years later.

Well after well over 2, nearly 3 years I’ve revived the blog.

A whole lot has changed in that time, it’s kinda crazy…

Betfred

Firstly I left my very first developer job, much to my sadness. I came across a new position with Betfred which would allow me to develop my career in the direction I wanted it to go, in that I would be joining a company that was undergoing an Agile transformation. Working as part of a team in an Agile environment was something i was really missing before, but now i’m reaping the benefits. The amount of knowledge and experience I’ve gained so far from this position is unquantifiable. I feel like I’ve undergone a complete transformation, and am now capable of writing software to a standard I didn’t think I was capable of. (I need to stop underestimating myself!).

As much as it was hard to leave my previous position due to the rapport I had developed with colleagues and the managing director himself, I believe it was absolutely the right thing to do and the perfect time to do it. Being the only developer at the company, I didn’t want to leave them in a position of difficultly. Luckily I mentioned the open position to my brother, who was keen to become a developer after being a hobbyist since a young age, he has successfully taken on my previous role and is making amazing progress as a Junior Developer. I can see him become very successful in the industry.

 

Homeownership

Pretty self explanatory, yet nonetheless exciting times. As of November 2016 me and my partner became homeowners. Searching didn’t really take all that long. We knew that we wanted to stay within the Winstanley Area of Wigan, where we had previously been renting a property together, so that narrowed the search down dramatically. After viewing several houses in the area, we stumbled across this one. We fell in love with it straight away. The room sizes were perfect, very generously sized garden and the added bonus of being backed on to by woodland. Now don’t get me wrong, there is lots of work that needs to be done to modernize, but i’m embracing that as part of the fun and experience! After all, I made a career out of wanting to be creative.

 

Fatherhood!

Also, last but by absolutely no means least, I became a father for the first time! Baby Jacob John made his way in to the world on the 23rd February at 16:47 – (Just in time for dinner!). Becoming a father has been one of the most amazing experiences I could have ever imagined, and this is only just the beginning. Coming home from work and seeing his face light up when he see’s me is one of the most amazing feelings in the world. You can have had a very stressful day where nothing has gone to plan, but coming home to that just makes every ounce of worry and stress disappear in an instant. He’s developing an amazing little personality – such a happy baby and I couldn’t be more proud.

 

On-wards and upwards…

So after a rather incredible and life changing 2 years, and feeling very accomplished – I’m left wondering what’s next? Well I aim to keep on doing what I love – Developing software, learning new things each and every day and who knows where it may take me. But whatever challenges lay ahead – Bring ’em on!

New Series of Posts

It doesn’t take much to notice that I’ve rather neglected this blog recently due to a rather hetic life style i’ve lead lately. I am however, hoping to start using this as a respository of useful code examples that not only can I easily refer to in future, but to hopefully help others whom may be looking for a similar solution.

The first category I’m going to target is “Back to Basics”. Simplistic code examples that are used on an (almost) daily basis.

I’ve noticed that the Google gods have been pretty kind to me, and certain posts on this blog rank quite highly on the googles. :Happy: Hopefully this will continue will futher posts that I intend to make :).

Check back soon, or subscribe for email updates.

You can also follow me on twitter: @danashurst. Chances are you’ll get a follow-back because I’m nice like that 🙂

That’s all for now!

PHP Tools – A Must for Visual Studio lovers.

Last week I returned to University to complete my Degree in Multimedia and Internet Technology. After spending over a year in the routine of working 9-5, it’s been quite a shock and will take some time to get used to it all again!

Since branding myself as a .NET developer, I’ve grown very accustomed to the .NET language and developing for web using ASP.NET. However my final year has none of this at all, with the Advanced Web Development module focusing solely on creating large scale web applications using PHP.

Visual studio 2012 is my favourite of all the IDE’s – Especially with intellisense being an utter Godsend. During second year of my course, we used NetBeans for the PHP module. I quickly found that I wasn’t very keen on this as an IDE, begging the question now – If only I could use Visual Studio, in the same way I develop C#, but for PHP.

PHP Tools

PHP Tools box render.

It didn’t take me long after Googling around for solutions for me to stumble across this little gem; PHP Tools developed by DEVSENSE Software Solutions. A quick scroll through it’s features, and I had already made up my mind.

In the past, I’ve found that when using another language, in another IDE is like learning a whole new thing. But with PHP integrated nicely into Visual studio, I feel that I can now focus on what matters most – Learning the language and learning how to develop large scale web applications.

I’ve spent a little while playing around with it, and I’ve found that I am able to adopt the same methodologies I had been using when developing in C#, in PHP. Fantastic. I am now able to focus solely on learning the ins-and-outs of PHP without the hassle of getting used to a whole new development environment.

Whilst the full Professional version of PHP Tools is not free, I can wholeheartedly say – It’s worth every penny! There is however a free version as well as a 30 Day Trial of the professional version for you to make up your mind. For me however, it didn’t even take 1 of those days for me to decide that I needed this!

Great success.

I’m approaching the ninth month of employment at my placement, and have received an informal offer for full time employment once I have graduated. I couldn’t be happier with this. I love the work that I do, and I know that I have so much more that I can offer the business.

With the business now owning it’s own dedicated server, we have the capacity for rapid expansion and have much better end user experience – with page load times now a fraction of what they once where. With this in my arsenal i’m confident that we can achieve much greater things.

I’m extremely excited and grateful knowing that once I graduate, I potentially have a job to go straight back to with a company I love working for. 🙂