When we first started doing Data Flow Diagrams at the start of the semester I thought they were the worst thing in the world. However, as I came to understand them more and start to think about more real-world business problems that I was encountering such as creating a website for my Dad or as a side project for one of the many ideas I have I began to realize their necessity.
The scope of the aforementioned projects is large. Too large for me to remember in detail what goes where and what everything is supposed to do. When you create a Data Flow Diagram it lays things out in a clear and structured way that you can refer to throughout the design and implementation process. This makes sure that no features are lost or forgotten about and every process is connected with a reason. This means you aren’t spending time on things that in the end won’t matter to the final product.
Here is an example Data Flow Diagram for Solent’s Portal that I created for my assessment in this unit.
Whilst working on various projects this semester I’ve encountered the following technologies: Angular, React, Vue, and Node. I’ve experimented with them to some extent and found Node Package Manager quite useful.
Node you even have to set up as a server from which web pages are served from. This makes it particularly tricky, as most shared hosting packages don’t offer Node, or the ability to install it on the server, however, PHP is widely available and has a lot of support and documentation as it has been around for such a long time.
I think these technologies will come in very useful in the future. For now though, I’m not quite competent enough.
I’d wanted to buy a new laptop for ages as mine was quite heavy and I wanted to take it to lectures, and store it in my bag but couldn’t. This meant I was looking for something quite light. I also wanted something powerful as I do a lot of media production and web development.
Lenovo Yoga 520
I liked the idea of a 2-in-1 and shopped around a little until coming across the Lenovo Yoga Series which I really liked. I found a Lenovo Yoga 520 on eBay for very cheap and snatched it up.
I’ve had the laptop for a couple of months now and it’s been a great purchase. It’s fast, portable, and holds great charge.
I bought myself a pen to use with it too. Me and my girlfriend are going to create a digital comic to test it out so look out for that in the future.
One downside is that I tried to put another SSD in it, but I ran into the somewhat common windows 10 bug of a 100% active time even when the drive wasn’t doing anything. So I ultimately removed the drive and put it in my old laptop where it worked fine before selling it.
Seeing as I was going to be using my laptop a lot and I wanted to run the same programs as my PC I looked into deployment managers to keep them synced. However, this seemed like more effort than it was worth so I scrapped the idea.
NAS and VPN
I am, however, going to set up a NAS over the summer so that I can access my vast array of photos from anywhere. This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I’ve never had the technical skill, or the willpower to do so.
Now that I am at university and have multiple devices that need to access the same data it seems like the perfect time to implement such a thing.
I got a very decent router; the Asus RT-AC68U for free on Freecycle last year which has the capacity to run a VPN and even lets you access a drive over the internet.
I’ve already set the VPN up which works quite well and will add an extra layer of security to my network when accessing the NAS from university next year.
One drive wouldn’t be quite enough for the type of storage capacity I need so I’m looking to pick up a cheap second-hand PC this summer and turn it into a NAS with around 10TB of storage. Additionally, it will allow more processing power to go towards serving the data and again make it more secure as extra steps can be taken to secure the data on the one machine as that is it’s only function.
As part of my studies at Solent, we were introduced to using Git in our workflow. Git is useful as it means mistakes can be corrected by rolling back the code to a version that worked. I’d come across this before at Fluid Studios Ltd. where they were using Git Kraken, however, I’d never really needed it in my own work. I use GitHub to store all of my work and use Git on the command line to make commits. I haven’t actually needed it for version control yet, just as a space to showcase my work and how much of it I am doing. You can see on my portfolio an image depicting how many commits I’ve made in the past year.
I think transferring hosting provider was the single greatest nightmare I’ve had in my life. I bought a few domains with 1and1, hoping to get SSL certificates that were advertised, however you only get one SSL certificate per contract. I’d have to create multiple contracts for all my domains, and then would not be able to point them to the relevant sub-directory in my hosting package. So I decided to call it quits.
I researched hosting providers and found iPage to be fairly cheap and offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space. I routed my domains through Cloudflareto take advantage of the CDN and other features. Transferring my WordPress sites over was a big headache. 1and1 had included php.ini files in my WordPress directories which of course didn’t work with my new hosting provider. And I encountered the notorious HTTPS redirect loop that Cloudflare gives you.
However, I’ve now transferred all my sites and they all work, just about. There are still some errors with the WordPress installations. But I’ve saved money, and all my websites have an SSL certificate and make use of a CDN. I’m happy.