My blog hasn’t been getting its updates for a while; Not because I’m busy, but because I didn’t have new topics to cover that hasn’t been discussed yet in other front-end or UI design related blogs. But 2013 has been a blast for me, and I will tell my story.
Building Zobe with Backbone.js
Earlier that quarter, I did a project called Zobe, an online IRC-like chat application built in Backbone.js and Go-lang. I did all the front-end stuff using Sass with Compass, Backbone.js with CoffeeScript, etc. It’s still up right now, but I haven’t pushed any updates in a long time.
My CoffeeScript skills leveled up on this one. The syntactic sugar is fun to write and easy to comprehend on the eyes.
I was using middleman for building the front end files for deployment which is pretty cool. But now, I’ve moved on to different workflows like Grunt.js or sometimes Yeoman if I’m feeling super lazy. It’s amazing how the node.js ecosystem flourished in such a short time.
Switching from Backbone to Ember
I gave Ember.js a try in the next couple of months and found out that I liked it better than Backbone. Mainly because it ships with a lot of features you’d need in an MVC: Two-way bindings, promises, etc. Versus Backbone which requires a lot of boilerplate code to get started.
Learning Ember had a bit of a learning curve for me but I ended up loving to use it since.
Building A Carpooling App with Ember.js
Around June 2013, I got the chance to work on re-vamping the web UI and UX for Tripid, a carpooling app that connects passengers and drivers together. The way I approached the problem for the UX was to list down all the possible steps in an action (like posting a new trip), and shortening them down as much as possible.
The problem with their initial UI was the amount of clicks that are needed to accomplish 1 task. I do my best to make the product as easy to use as possible even if it meant creating hacks that are outside the normal coding protocols. I only estimated that this project would only take 1-2 months to launch but there were some challenges that involved a lot of UX-decision making, writing code, building the CSS library. Hence, this took around 3 months time to build from the ground up.
Starting a Bitcoin exchange service, BuyBitcoin.ph
Last year I went to a Bitcoin meetup in Makati (Philippines) and met a few people. The meetup was about the current state of Bitcoin in the Philippines and what each of us can do to help improve the Bitcoin economy. There I met Lasse, the owner of Bitcoin Nordic who’s been in the Bitcoin business for quite some time. The first meetup sparked the tradition of irregular meetups with the BitcoinPH group, a community of Bitcoin enthusiasts in the Philippines.
We wanted to solve one particular problem… where can I buy Bitcoins locally?
The Philippines has a huge remittance market. Filipinos working abroad sending money to the Philippines can use Bitcoin faster instead of PayPal or Western Union. Businesses and the self-employed can now enter an international market without limitations from banks and constraints from PayPal’s withdrawal and transfer limits.
I met Sam, who has an extensive background in Business and is also a believer of Bitcoin, in the following meetups. It was then I asked Daniel, my boss who is now also my co-founder, to join forces with Lasse and Sam to start something small that would possibly help facilitate Bitcoin to the Filipino masses. After a couple of dinners together, we’ve decided to eventually start our business and give birth to our new baby, BuyBitcoin.ph.
If ever you need to purchase Bitcoins, our service allows you to make cash deposits to our bank. Just simply fill out a form, make the cash deposit, and enter your bank deposit code in the form (full instructions are listed on the site).
We also sell Bitcoins to anyone in need to encash their BTCs but we do require you to have a BPI, Metrobank or BDO account :)
Overall I think I didn’t waste my 2013. I made the most out of my time and met new fantastic people to work with along with some new friends. I’ve also successfully transformed my body from a sedentary nerd to a guy who now looks like he goes to the gym (lol). My future goals are to make our new Bitcoin startup push through and reach certain milestones in my fitness lifestyle.