It’s the final week of the semester at UIT. We’ve just finished our final presentations of the year! After we pitched our service apps at the start of December, we were given two weeks to take what we learned, and apply it to our other projects. This last presentation we did was to tie that all together into our portfolios and show off what we’ve achieved this semester.

As I was looking back at my other projects I’d done, such as my portfolio page, and my chat app, I realized how much better I’d gotten at working on web based projects. I’ve been programming for a while before attending UIT, but working on programming projects with actual deadlines was a new experience for me. Working on my own projects meant that I could work on my own time, with no deadlines. I was able to learn how I worked while I had a fixed deadline, which is something that I’ll be doing lots of in the real world.

I’m honestly happy for the most part with how I used the time I had to get things done. I mean, there are times where I’ll procrastinate. But the projects revolve around one of my favourite hobbies: programming. Procrastination usually just means programming something else for a while, and switching between projects to keep from getting bored with one thing.


My new portfolio. I really like how clean it is. Everything’s easy to read.

When I looked at my first portfolio page I made in the first few weeks of UIT, I decided rather than improving what was there, I’d do a better job if I just scrapped the whole thing and did it over from scratch.

This worked out really well for me. I was able to get something I was happy with, rather than just hacking something together. It wasn’t cluttered like the original. Just a simple, clean looking page.

I made some icons for my portfolio items this time, and although I don’t consider myself a graphic designer, I had a lot of fun coming up with the ideas for the icons, and I like how they turned out!


Chat App

YTRoom with a new theme.

After I looked at my chat app, YTRoom, I decided if I was going to really do anything serious with it, I would want to redo that whole project as well, and build it from the ground up. I really like the functionality it has but I feel like the user interface just isn’t there. The sidebar is kind of annoying, in that it changes the size of your video every time you hide or show it. That’s just naming one thing I noticed that could be changed, there are many more.

For improving YTRoom, I changed some of the styles to reflect the look of YouTube a bit more, and it turned out looking super Canadian. I’m not complaining though. I also added some simple fixes to the code like persistent auth, added enter key press to send a message, and fixed an annoying issue where there were scrollbars on the page all the time, even though there was no more content to scroll to. Really minor fixes, but it’s all I could think of to improve without completely rewriting the app from scratch.

Service App

Vennio Prototype V2

As far as my service app goes, I’m in the process of planning out the second prototype. I decided to build it with some frameworks and languages I’ve never used before. For the new version, I’m using React for the front end, and Ruby on Rails for the back end (React on Rails!). It’s going relatively slow right now, just because I’ve been focusing on other projects.

Now that it’s the winter break, I’m going to be picking up the pace with development on it. Right now, I just have the concept landing page, and I really like how it looks. I’ve showed it off to a few people and they have all agreed that it looks really professional. Woohoo!



Overall, I’m super happy with how this semester of UIT went. I’m really excited to go back in January, and keep working on projects, learning new things and working on honing my skills. Being in this environment has been great for me, because it’s helped nurture my love of programming, and put a serious use to it. I’ve seen what my work will look like at the end of this whole school year. Especially when I look at the code I’ve written before UIT compared to the code I’m writing now. There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to keep making progress and pushing ahead!

2 thoughts on “Reflecting on the First Semester”

Eric Lortie Eric Lortie says:

I really like your mentality around programming. You can take a project you’ve worked hard on for a month, pitch a solid version of it and have it be well received, and then immediately start rebuilding it with new tech. That shows that you spend a lot of time thinking about these things. You’re obviously passionate about building things and learning and those are just about ideal attributes in a programmer.

I’ve actually started revisiting some of my older projects as a direct result of listening to you discuss your various rebuilds. Thanks! It’s been a solid motivator for me and I appreciate it.

Thanks Eric, and you’ll have to show off some of the other things you’ve built sometime!

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