Web Development Assistant
(6 Month Placement, Future Jobs Fund November 2010-May 2011)
I have been here at Proboscis for six months now and surely the time has moved really fast. The FJF placement scheme has allowed me to acquire new professional skills needed to understand the real world and the working environment. The skills I have learnt have been advantageous because they have allowed me to take on significant challenges such as working on the integration of the online Bookreader for Bookleteer eBooks.
I would like to thank Giles, Yasir, Stefan, Alice and the rest of the Proboscis team for participating and encouraging me in my working life at Proboscis. This involved our regular Monday meetings where I was given the chance to talk through my objectives for the coming week and what I had managed to achieve since the last meeting.
Here at Proboscis I have been inspired from both creative and technological perspectives, which as a combination has been a great quality to develop for my profession.
Life at Proboscis
I have been working on various parts of the technological side of Proboscis mainly the front end and back end of the Bookreader so that the visual styling matches with the Bookleteer look and feel. The way we as a user would feel that the Bookreader is part of Bookleteer.
I have also contributed towards user testing this Bookreader such that no issues are found in any other browsers or devices. The browsers compatibility testing did involve making sure devices such as iPhone or any Android device displays Bookreader accurately.
I had issues in the past with setting up a local server to duplicate the live Bookleteer site. After having the help of Stefan and Yasir, I have managed to get this working successfully which then allowed me to work on redesigning and creating a new user interface for creating and editing eBooks in edit Bookleteer. This involved removing tables to div tags, which is defined using style-sheet. This is a better method to use because I believe that table tag is meant for listing tabular data, it is not optimised to build structure. Having div tags should improve the search engines optimisation too. I have also managed to remove some drop down options and replace them into radio buttons, which now has pictures to illustrate different options. This new design went live on the site as the final culmination of my placement.
Since my last post I believe my confidence has been boosted a lot as I worked along with internal and external members of Proboscis. This has allowed me to understand other projects that Proboscis deals with, which include non-technical ones too.
Life Before Proboscis and Now
The quality of information and knowledge I have received from Proboscis team members are priceless. This is because I had help from internal staff, freelancers and external members such as Stefan and Paul. I have worked under pressure where I was facing challenges from different perspectives. I believe I took those challenges seriously and researched viable solutions with the help of Proboscis members, which has allowed me to learn new things each and every day. For example:
- Learning & using Github code repository
- Installing and managing Linux Debian Squeeze operating system
- Working with command lines
- Managing branches and merges in Github repository
- Creating pricing estimator for eBooks and StoryCubes ordering system
- Learning the backend complex framework of Bookleteer to integrate with front end page designs
- Testing & providing technical support for the Bookleteer User API
My goal before joining the FJF scheme was to work towards a career in web development or assisting with web development. My goal remains the same and I believe that finding a job in this sector in the future will be a lot easier due to the experience, new technical skills and confidence I have built from being here at Proboscis.
I am now looking forward to taking up a new full-time job working where I will be contributing towards the software and web development side of a business. I strongly believe that this experience has made a difference towards my career path as I know what I want to do and now have the confidence boost to do it. Thus I am also happy to be continuing a working relationship with Proboscis as a freelancer and help towards the development of new services/products in the future.
Moin Ahmed, June 2011
I have been here for over three months now and conversely, time seems to have flown past so quick. I will now describe the work I have been doing and knowledge that I have gained from working in Proboscis.
My last impression was focusing more towards the research of Proboscis’s back end system and how the system is helping many organisations in UK and worldwide.
From the research, I have managed to understand that the Bookleteer system was used a lot internally and externally to create eBooks and Story Cubes to share experiences through this media. Having a system that generates a lot of traffic, it was important to make sure that the process of ordering prints or even to create eBooks/StoryCubes is easy for users.
Past and Present Work
There are some changes I have made since my last impression:
- Some tweaks in bookleteer blog CSS design to improve page layout.
- Adding a slideshow of images of some eBooks and StoryCubes to the bookleteer home page.
- Creating an online price estimator for bookleteer’s short run printing service allowing users to customise parameters (such as size, quantity and shipping destination) and receive an immediate estimate of the costs of printing ebooks or StoryCubes.
- Improving the navigation menu of the main proboscis website to allow as many drop down options as required.
- Testing the bookleteer API for bugs and reporting back to the chief developer.
- Working on design improvements to the user interface in bookleteer for creating eBooks.
I have recently started working towards redesigning and developing the front end system for bookleteer ordering systems. We should be able to incorporate this system with Paypal’s payment system to make the process a lot easier and faster for users. This should allow the invoicing to be made a lot easier than the current system.
We are also looking forward to re-designing the back cover of eBooks such that more spaces are available for users.
Knowledge and skills gained from working in Proboscis
So far I believe my knowledge of WordPress has increased dramatically as I can now work on the back end of WordPress where I believe I am confident enough to edit/add scripts to make the WordPress page more personal yet leave the CMS system unchanged.
My knowledge of CSS has also increased dramatically as I have now managed to understand the requirement for CSS in IE, which involves a lot of tweaking to make sure the pages display accurately.
Using these two solid skills, I have managed to design and create WordPress Portfolio of my own.
For further interest in the future, I want to create the admin side of the pricing estimator page, which will allow the admin to change the figures in database which will reflect towards the estimator and the final cost.
I look forward to working in Proboscis every day and enjoyed every moment of my time spent here.