Evolution Medical Communications

Hybrid App Designer: Five Month Contract Consulting with Precision Global Staffing
I just wrapped up consulting on a project (view gallery) that was built with Angular 2 and Ionic 2. I used Balsamiq for the low fidelity prototype, and Sketch to replace Photoshop as my design tool and Invision with it’s Craft plugins for the interactive prototype to help garner immediate feedback during functional demonstrations with stakeholders.

Due to the excitement generated by the first product, my contract was extended to build a second hybrid product (view gallery) with Ionic and Angular that uses ForceJS to access a Salesforce backend.

These value added mobile products are targeted to bring tens of thousands of dollars in sales to Evolution’s account executives.

I also created a few responsive post conference surveys for attendees using jQuery Validate to ensure data integrity.

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My Time at Adecco

For most of 2016 I was employed by bbbAdecco Group NA where we used Bootstrap, Grunt, Gulp, Sass, Knockout, SiteCore, and C#. The team uses an Agile development process with VersionOne software to track sprint progress, Team Foundation Server, and HP Application Lifecycle Management to track bugs. It was exciting to be engaged in a thorough agile process, and I have written an article on the process.

I also created a Virtual Assistant prototype with Ionic and Angular 1.

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Header Scroll Transition and the Will-Change Property

Recently I needed to make an animated header that slides up when you scroll down the page, and slides down when you scroll up- the idea is to give the user the navigation when you ‘assume’ they are reaching back up the page with that intention. With this opportunity, my intention was to use best practice and dynamically add and remove the will-change property when transition starts and ends. I was confused that will-change was not being added on transitionstart until I realized there was none – only transitionend. A quick search for a solution gave me this pen that uses CustomEvent. Read about CustomEvent on MDN.

Furthermore, I was unsure if dynamic will-change was even necessary, because when we use tranistion: translate() the element is already being moved onto the GPU so is there a need for this?

Anyway, here is a simple but useful version of dynamic will-change for both animation and transition. For will-change on transition I added with the onClick event and let transitionend trigger the removal.

See the Pen Add-Remove will-change on Animation and Transition: Plain JavaScript by Peter (@peterdillon) on CodePen.0

 

And the finished dynamic scroll-detected header transition:

See the Pen Sliding Header with Transform and jQuery with IE9 Support by Peter (@peterdillon) on CodePen.

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Three ways to use Modernizr

In the CSS:

As a JavaScript object:

Check for HTML element class:

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Agile

I am currently on a team that uses the agile process. We use VersionOne for sprint tracking, and TFS and HP-ALM for bugs. Here is my experience.


User Stories – Pre-sprint

The Functional and UX team writes “stories” that contain “user acceptance criteria” which explain in detail what is needed from a certain process. They tend to write things out like this:

1. The content manager needs to be able to add and control the order of ‘featured posts’
2. When choosing featured posts, the content manager needs to choose the order in which to display the posts
3. The choices the content manager will have are: date, alpha-numeric and most popular

…and so on.

The Sprint


Sprint Planning

The developers and scrum master meet in a room to read the user stories aloud, discuss complexity and issues, and try to answer any questions they may have.

Points

Developers and specialists then proclaim a point to estimate the complexity that it may take to complete their tasks. The agile point system uses the concept of “relative sizing.” Where most estimates will be at the lower end of the Fibonacci series: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and so on. The goal is to group things of similar overall difficulty rather than a precise estimate.

  • Complexity is the “stuff we have to figure out.” We know we can solve the problem, and we probably have a decent feel for how we’ll approach it, but we still have to figure it out.
  • Effort is the amount of stuff that needs done.
  • Doubt is about the stuff we don’t actually know if it can be done. Something that would cause you to spin your wheels for a while before you figure out if you can actually do the work.

Commitment

Here developers and testers offer to do and test the work.

Tasking

Developers then go to VersionOne and create tasks. Testers write testing parameters and process. This is where I will read the story over again, and really focus, imagine and write down every part of what I have to do. Here is where you make an hourly estimate.

Backlog

The collection of all stories and tasks for the entire sprint.

Scrum

A short 15 minute meeting where the entire team reports to the scrum master and discusses day-to-day issues and ‘blockers’ if there are any. The conversation goes like this:

  1. What have they achieved since the last meeting? (yesterday)
  2. What will they achieve before the next meeting? (tomorrow)
  3. Is anything holding up their progress? (impediments)

Velocity

The measure of the amount of work a team can tackle during a single sprint and is the key metric in scrum. Velocity is calculated at the end of the sprint by totaling the Points for all fully completed user story.

Blockers

When someone (e.g. John’s code is not deployed) or something (e.g. the ui is unreadable or program crashes) is stopping you from progressing further.

Burn Down

As you work, you can ‘burn down’ hours on your tasks. It is similar to a timecard process.

Demos

Once a week (or more) our department manager requests demos on stories so he can see the progress. It often contains positive feedback as well as constructive criticism. It also helps in getting a grooming session escalated since he holds more power than the developers. (This is not part of the agile process.)

Grooming

Along the way, you may find the task is completely off track, more difficult than expected or impossible to complete as expected and needs to be looked at again by the functional UX team. The scrum master needs to address the stakeholders as quickly as possible and if they agree that their initial requirements were incorrect, they can start a grooming process that allows them to change the requirements.

Retrospective

At the end of the sprint, the entire team once again gathers to discuss how this sprint went and present ideas on how we can improve for the next one.

Hardening and Refactoring

A time between sprints allotted to going back and looking over the work you’ve done and making it better. We all know that when that sprint deadline is looming you may take some short cuts, or not spend as much time on optimization as you would have liked – this is the time to do it.

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Chrome’s Refresh Tools

Normal reload
This will use the cache but revalidate everything during page load, looking for “304 Not Modified” responses. If the browser can avoid re-downloading cached JavaScript files, images, text files, etc. then it will.

Hard reload
Don’t use anything in the cache when making the request. Force the browser do re-download every JavaScript file, image, text file, etc.

Empty Cache and Hard Reload
This does hard reload – but also looks for items downloaded and cached after the page has loaded, such as adding a new script tag to your DOM, or by using RequireJS etc. Any AMD-based library (such as RequireJS) basically loads its scripts lazily. In that case, you have to empty the cache to make sure that really everything gets a hard reload.

Keyboard command to open devtools: Cmd + Opt + I — or J if you want to focus the console when opening.

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Interview Challenges

I am in the process of interviewing and wanted to document all the code challenges I am confronted with.


For every repeating letter in a string, add a “*” between them.

See the Pen String Manipulation JS Challenge by Peter (@peterdillon) on CodePen.0


Check if a given number is a power of 2:

See the Pen Check Power of 2 by Peter (@peterdillon) on CodePen.0


Presented with a photoshop design I was asked to code this in 20 minutes, making sure the bottom 3 elements were coded in flex-box:

See the Pen Interview Code Challenge by Peter (@peterdillon) on CodePen.0

What does jQuery .delegate do? How is it the same or different than .on? What does .off do? What is bubbling?

See the Pen Event Capturing with .on, .delegate and plain js by Peter (@peterdillon) on CodePen.0

How does css animation and transition work?

See the Pen CSS Transform, Transition and Animation by Peter (@peterdillon) on CodePen.0

Photoshop Challenge:
I was asked to grab a layer with a drop shadow effect on it from within a full page layout design document and export it as a png with transparency and effect included.


  1. Right click on desired layer and choose “Duplicate Layer”
  2. In dialog “Destination” choose ‘New”
  3. This gives you a new document the same height and width as the original with your new layer in it’s respective place
  4. Choose menu “Image > Trim” (There are many options when trimming but for this purpose the default meets the requirement)
  5. To save as, you have two choices, the classic “Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S” to open the “Save For Web” dialog or you can Right click layer and choose “Quick Export As PNG”
  6. Compression varies – on small simple graphic QE was more compressed – on large colorful file – SFW was smaller.

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JasonP and Cross Domain Access

In the jQuery ajax request, the use of a callback function wraps our data to allow the cross domain access to happen.

This allows us to request the JSON via AJAX using JSONP (json + padding) and the callback function we created around the JSON content as seen here on this file that sits on my personal server (not codepen)

Here is a pen of the final result.

See the Pen Load JsonP File From Cross Domain Server And Store In localStorage() by Peter (@peterdillon) on CodePen.0

I found some pretty useful documentation here:
Sitepoint article. I could not get the second non-callback method to work. Any help there would be appreciated.
Sam Croft article.
Oscar Godson article.
Stack Overflow

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User Centered Design

The process by which the the end users needs and limitations are the leading factor in design of the software product. This requires usability testing at each iteration of the design process to test the validity of the assumptions made by the original requirements. This lends nicely to an agile methodology in that you may need to modify the original requirements many times.

Consideration for a users mental model is also used to problem solve at each stage of the development process. Mental model means, a persons perspective upon first use of the product, which may include their use of similar products, or if they’ve never used a product to solve the problem.

Competitive analysis – the practice of analyzing your competitors products – can be really helpful in avoiding common pitfalls and finding new innovative ways to address problem solving.

Comparative analysis is forming ideas from use of unrelated products that may have completely different goals. This is especially true for software design being that we have a limited interface with a user (UI, forms, clicks, swipes, screen readers etc.) and it is typically delivered through a browser. I have personally developed ideas for new products based off ideas I’ve developed from dissimilar products.


    Principles

  • The design is based upon an explicit understanding of users, tasks and environments.
  • Users are involved throughout design and development.
  • The design is driven and refined by user-centered evaluation.
  • The process is iterative.
  • The design addresses the whole user experience.
  • The design team includes multidisciplinary skills and perspectives.
    Purpose

  • Who are the users of the document?
  • What are the users’ tasks and goals?
  • What are the users’ experience levels with the document, and documents like it?
  • What functions do the users need from the document?
  • What information might the users need, and in what form do they need it?
  • How do users think the document should work?
  • What are the extreme environments?
  • Is the user multitasking?
  • Does the interface utilize different inputs modes such as touching, spoken, gestures, or orientation?
    Elements

  • Visibility
  • Accessibility
  • Legibility
  • Language

This article is my own words, and the lists are from this Wikipedia article.

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CSS Attribute Selectors

Finding and selecting

Here is a list of attributes. In my career I’ve used exact values, ^, and * in many applications, so I’m making a personal list because it’s useful to know the other options available.

The three tough ones for me to remember are:
$ – ends with
| – (pipe) find dash separated value
~ – find space separated value
(Ref 1 Ref 2)

In use with div, class and id.

Multiple attribute selection

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