My Programming History: As of July, 2017

Coming up on my 1-year of being ‘between jobs’ (reasons explained within), figured I’d pay a tribute to all my developmental years up to now. Beyond the technologies I’ve semi-mastered along the way, and the projects I’ve completed, I’ve always enjoyed learning and, quite simply, being productive.

  • I started programming with Atari Basic. I used cassette tapes to record my programs.
  • Did some Atari DOS manipulation.
  • Got my first PC and learned about MS-DOS 3.x.
  • Learned about advanced batch files.
  • Got pretty heavy into AutoLISP (and some DCL) for AutoCAD.
  • Moved on to learning HTML (that new thing they called the “world wide web”).
  • I never went with AOL… I went Prodigy, CompuServe, then Concentric.Net was my first web host (a place to put those HTML files).
  • Learned some basic CSS (best viewed in Mosaic).
  • Learned some basic JavaScript (and took a couple classes).
  • Tried learning Java (but was still trying to figure out what it was; the only thing that made sense were applets).
  • Learned some CGI scripting.
  • In 1998 I picked up Microsoft Access (even took a class) and ASP 2.0. I created my department’s Intranet site, complete with a ticketing system, authentication, and even provided myself and one other with super-root admin access. I then created another department’s Intranet site, and ran a ‘gift of the week giveaway’ using a pseudo lottery-type ASP program I’d written (which I later converted to PHP/MySQL).
  • In 2002 I moved up to PHP and MySQL (an indefinite thanks goes to phpMyAdmin for helping to learn MySQL).
  • Armed with PHP and MySQL, I created my own online “Crystal Figurines” gifts shopping web site (for which I made enough to cover the costs of operation; which included charitable donations). I created my own custom shopping cart catalog, created my own administrative portal, and automated the inventory process (using a combination of QuicKeys and Excel VBA). I also learned quite a bit about SEO, and a little bit about security (like, what ‘not’ to do).
  • Still armed with PHP and MySQL, I created over a dozen custom add-ons for a shopping cart catalog (OptionCart), and became a reseller.
  • Got my first full-time ‘web dev’ job in 2006 and learned JSTL and JSPs.
  • Dipped a little into Prototype and Scriptaculous, and was introduced to a little AJAX.
  • After being downsized, got another job in 2008, did more basic JavaScript, some proprietary JavaScript, and learned some SQL Server.
  • One job later in 2010, I was back in JSP-land, picked up jQuery (after figuring out what it was), learned some depth to AJAX, and became a little familiar with Oracle’s ATG (and subsequently, Endeca).
  • On the side, I learned Foundation 5 (for fun and future potential) which helped later in creating a client’s (on the job) mobile site.
  • I took that a step further, with the same client, and advanced their Homepage to Foundation 6 (fully responsive and A11y-compliant).
  • I continued learning about CSS preprocessors and front-end build toolsets.
  • Also on the side, I found and learned Laravel (also to help me understand the MVC paradigm better, by working in one variation of it hands-on for the first time). I learned what migrations were and how to work with them (including rollbacks). I also learned more in depth about Routing, Models, Controllers & API’s, and Blade, their own front-end view layer. Despite my struggle with understanding migrations (which I later came to know and appreciate), I had a lot of fun learning Laravel.

In Aug 2016, after I was downsized (for the 3rd time in my 3-job ‘web development’ career), I learned everyone outside of the company I’d spent near 6 years at, had moved on to JavaScript frameworks as the status quo. “Front-End Developer” titles were now owned by Unicorns, meaning you now, nearly always, need to have ‘design’ experience for that title (that title is also still known as UI/UX Developer, or anything with “Designer”). Despite a large appreciation for design, in having little to no actual ‘design’ experience, I took the Engineering route.

  • Fresh out of work, I finished my active Laravel web app and did one follow-up web app in late 2016 (tying them together by applying the same Auth system and ‘preferences’ panel).
  • I then moved on to learning Vue and Vuex, and learned enough in 3 months to have some fun creating my first SPA (and first SPA game). I tied this into the same Auth system as my previous Laravel sites.
  • Still having no real bites on my resume, in April 2017 I shifted gears to React and Redux, all the while continuing to try to advance my core JavaScript knowledge.

As of July 2017, I have just recently completed my 3rd React project (although the 2nd was a ‘standalone’ React component extracted from my 1st web app). My next goal is to learn React Native, and convert my latest React web app into a native Android app. 🙂 Say hello, August.

Productive learning is fun!

– Keith D Commiskey

Keith D Commiskey

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