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How to develop web applications. Prerequisites — December 10, 2017

How to develop web applications. Prerequisites

Allow me start by apologizing for missing to post in the previous week. Without further a do, let me start from where we stopped in part one of the series about learning the modern way of developing web applications.

But who am I and why do I fit to be your tutor this festive season?

I’m an African Ugandan internet student, businessman and trainer. Besides technology, I purposely encourage and guide people through the process of becoming self-aware for mindfulness and peace.

Over the years I have studied and learned about PHP, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, SQL and Content Management Systems which has helped build a skill, career and establish Gagawala Graphics Limited a business offering web hosting, web management and web design in addition to printing and graphics design to people of Uganda both within and in diaspora.

I tut at Hostalite Cyber Academy and part of the core volunteer team at You Inspire You.

What do I need to know before following the series?

  • I wouldn’t say you need much if you’re passionate besides being able to code in HTML, CSS, JavaScript(jQuery) and VueJs, and PHP(OOP).
  • You should also be able to find a web host to practice or alternatively install Lamp(linux) or MAMP(iOS) or WAMP or XAMPP(windows).
  • Ability to install and setup WordPress.
  • Lastly but not least you should be able to read and understand English.

What next?

For now get ready for next part of the series which is Web design vs Web applications development.

In that article I will share my opinion backed by 5 year experience about the differences between web design and web application development. I find this necessary because many people confuse the two.

See you next week.

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Learn the modern way of developing Web applications this festive season for free. — November 26, 2017

Learn the modern way of developing Web applications this festive season for free.

If there is anything I’m passionate about nothing beats the passion to use technology to benefit fellow humans.

Since I got the opportunity to live in the generation where the world is a global community because of internet, it gifts me the privilege to learn and share. This festival season, I would like teach you about developing functional web applications using modern tools and approaches.

Take a look at the table of contents.

  1. Prerequisite
  2. Web design vs Web applications development
  3. Extending is smart!
  4. Components of a Web application.
  5. Powering web applications with WordPress
  6. The do list application

At the end of the tutorial I expect the reader to:-

  • To differentiate web design from web development.
  • To learn the different components together with their functionality in web applications.
  • To develop web applications using WordPress as an underlying framework.

Stay tuned for the next post, in which I will reveal my experiences and the requirements you need to benefit from this short but practical tutorial.

 

 

 

Our volunteer’s hurting set back!!! — November 12, 2017

Our volunteer’s hurting set back!!!

The trendy today in a country commonly known as peaceful and a pearl of Africa since the landing of the Europeans dating back 100s of years ago is the total opposite.

It is sad to accept but it’s true, the reality and what we have to find a solution for. I used to hear the so called group of angry youths going around Kampala beating innocent civilians and stealing from them what belonged to them. This were just stories on the internet until recently when 3 of my own people, one of them almost lost life to this group. The other two lost belongings such phones, laptops etc.

One of my people is a young skilled, hard working web design and volunteer aspirant who volunteered to redesign our website youinspireyou.org. Whose way of living has been made difficult by the greedy lazy group of thugs who stole two laptops from him while in a public taxi.

How did it happen?

At around 10:00am Calvin took a taxi from Bukoto heading to Kampala city center, on their way they realized there was a lot of traffic jam which prompted them to U-turn through a different route.

He recalls, being requested to properly close the door closest to him. Then a lot of things happened in this short period of time.

Upon noticing disappearance of the bag were the laptops, that’s when he was sent out of the taxi.

What does this mean?

  • Reporting the case to police won’t really help because so many people have lost their belongings in a similar or worse process but no help has been offered to them besides spending some amounts of money to police.
  • We have to take it and agree that Calvin won’t be able to earning a living until after several months.
  • The development of youinspireyou.org website will pause until further notice. Meaning the arrangement of our community technology skills program( Mobile Digital Hub) has been dented/negatively affected since one of the most active volunteers has no means of contributing anymore.
  • Most importantly is to replace the laptops, therefore we have to raise above $1200 and replace the two laptops.

How do you handle such cases in your location?

 

Web design vs Graphics design, my honest opinion — October 29, 2017

Web design vs Graphics design, my honest opinion

A few days a friend came to me with a question. I believe it was a result of looking a web design as a tough game. Since profound web designers have to pull off a lot of skills to be able producer an above average website.

Her question was. Of graphics design and web design which one is smaller than the other? Find what I answered below.

Though the answer I gave to her was brief, let me try to elaborate.

By definition.

Graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving using one or more of typography, photography and illustration. – Wikipedia

Web design is the process of creating and updating websites.

Web designers may have some level of graphics design skill say they the ability to use graphics design applications such as Sketch or Photoshop or Adobe illustrator to create web layouts and mock-ups which are the static and none functional representations of a website. It is also true that web design encompasses numerous disciplines such as User Interface design, User Experience design, Information architecture, navigation ergonomics.

I will categories graphic design into two primary categories .i.e. Screen and print graphics for more clarity. For whichever element that is designed but won’t be out put through printing on paper, wood, metal, clothes etc I will consider that designed for electronic screen display hence have under screen graphics contrary to it’s sibling which is targeted for print media.

Websites are among those products that will be designed following all graphics design aesthetics and tools but will be primarily accessed on screen devices like desktop computers, laptops and hand held devices.

To conclude, I will say web design is a discipline in the graphics design ecosystem. Other disciplines could include motion graphics, video editing, animation, logo design etc.

Do you have a your own opinion, criticism or suggestion? I have opened and allowed to receive your comments below.

What will be able to do in 2018? — October 8, 2017

What will be able to do in 2018?

From experience I know either set your goals for the new year a few months before the end of the current year and be guaranteed some success or end wondering why you’re not developing as some of your colleagues and age mate. Not to mean to compete though, just emphasizing taking full responsibility.

Last year, I planned to be a better coder, tech trainer, team member than the years before.

At the moment of this writing am enjoying every moment I spend with fellow founders and employees at Gagawala Graphics limited. A branding agency located in Kampala, Uganda along Nasser road, where I double as a web developer and operations manager. We intentionally work in an open work space, producing crystal  clear prints, graphics, webs and mobile apps. Doubling responsibilities has never been as easy as said however much it’s a joy to see accomplishments in a good timing and through a peaceful way. Ours is a brand where people don’t get bigger salaries but everyone reports at work everyday, inclusive weekends sometimes.

Towards mid 2016, I met someone who would actually be a fellow coder and great friend. I hadn’t found a challenge before until I met him. We shared ideas about our work and personal goals. You can really see someone energized and ready to face any code challenge in favor of helping businesses improve. He sets himself deadlines and meets them most of the time, he loves to help out friends if they are failing with a code challenge. It’s for Ronkas that I manned up and coded my first ever Hybrid Mobile app, which has taken me about 10 months. Being able to extend WordPress and build a custom API which serves our mobile app, has not only challenged me, it has made me a better coder and a web developer.

I have also held a couple of tech training classes throughout this year teaching the basics of technology in local communities, to web development at Hostalite Cyber Academy and Metajua a coffee processing company.

To be sincere am happy 2017 have achieved some and looking to 2018’s task. So what’s in the goals?

Languages.

With the availability of internet which looks to get cheaper next year, I hope to use this opportunity to learn some French and Swahili, which will be a big inspiration for the taking on Chinese. China an interesting country that I would love to visit someday maybe to import some tech items to my country or even export skills. I decide to learn French, because I love it and am looking forward to make friends which our neighbors in Kenya and would love to communicate effectively as much as possible.

Career upgrade

My path into technology started with selling translated movies to being a typing to serving in an internet cafe as assistant helping clients who were not comfortable to search on their own, repairing and troubleshooting computers and networking them to make sure they share resources efficiently.

During my free time, I could learn about coding in HTML, PHP and little bit of JavaScript. When I left internet cafes, I co-found a business offering computer repair, network setups and consultation to internet cafes and small offices. Cutting the long story short I was aspiring to be a web designer which have done for some years and now want to upgrade to web and hybrid mobile app development. That said, in the new year I should be a MEAN or MERN stack developer. Able to use Mongo db, Express, ReactNative and NodeJs efficiently.

Music

As of now all I can say is that the piano has got 8 notes which are C, D, E, F, G, H, A, B also called 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 keys on the scale. These notes run across the low and high pitch sides whereby the low pitch is the left whereas the high pitch is the right of the piano. The player has got 10 fingers numbered started from the thumb as 1 to the little(pinky) as 5,

At the moment am able to play the 8 notes as well as the C, D and F chords. Looking forward to a better piano and guitar player before end of 2018.

I have a feeling I want to communicate and connect with many people of different life backgrounds and my involvement in such things will help.

Want to advise me anything or wanna share with me your goals, let’s meet in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our dreams have been awaken! — September 17, 2017

Our dreams have been awaken!

One of the reasons we started a community Mobile Digital Hub, is to introduce as many people as possible to technology in Uganda and around the world. Fulfilling this that task won’t only teach most Ugandans about technology, it will also encourage learning of many important skills for life.

We discovered that most people who applied for the training were older than 19 years and had either little education background or none at all. When we introduced them to internet, and they learned how to carry out simple research with the internet you could see each of them one searching something of their own interest. One of them was searching about money lending businesses, the other was searching about the best schools in Uganda perhaps because she has a daughter who could start to go to school soon.

On the graduation day we gave out both certificates of completion and participation, we also received a lot of feedback from the learners. [Photos coming soon]

 

 

 

Aspiring to be a programmer? — September 10, 2017

Aspiring to be a programmer?

Since I started programming I have been asked one question, isn’t what you’re doing hard?

I think it’s in human nature to be afraid of something we don’t have an idea about or we extremely have little information about. In fact most of the time it’s because of lack of passion that will make things look hard.

First of all they are many types of programming, depending on the type one can be harder than other for some people.

That said in my opinion don’t judge programming before you actually get involved, because if you do chances are you may love it more than anything else you’ve ever done before.

Programming has helped me help businesses in my country establish a website, it is also helping me learn a lot of different things in life because of the tasks am sometimes presented to besides of helping teach others about something life changing.

My advise. If you are to try programming and don’t want to waste time.

  1. Don’t live in fantasy, live in reality. Give it a try and if things are not interesting feel free to quit and try something else.
  2. Learn the programming fundamentals before diving into a programming language. Learn the theoretical definition of programming, variables, functions, conditions, loops, initialization, declaration, construction, destruction, instantiation, data types, identifiers, expressions, statements, termination, invoking.
  3. Make friends with programmers in your city. Programmers don’t have a life indeed but they can create one with people who understand them most. That way it’s easy to exchange ideas.
  4. Choose the type of programmer you want to be so that you can specialize in tools required of that particular programming type. For example, you may concentrate on HTML5. CSS3, JavaScript if you want to be a web frontend programmer or JAVA if you want to be an applications developer. You may even want to take a computer science course, if you want to one day develop things IDEs, Text Editors and compilers.
  5. Keep revising, practicing, sharing and learning. Remember moving forward like a snail is much better than moving backword like a landslide.

The above are my personal opinions and I have developed them based on the 5 years of web development experience.

You’re welcome to program.

 

 

A millionaire despite offering a world changing product for free for over 20 years. — August 30, 2017

A millionaire despite offering a world changing product for free for over 20 years.

Today I would like to publish about the creater of the web who happens to inspire me a lot because I resonate with his works.
If you don’t know him, his real name is Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee from United Kingdom, born on June 8th, 1955 and a professor, computer scientist, engineer and public speaker widely known as Tim Berners-Lee.
I think during his early days of employment there was a challenge to share and update information not only by the researchers where he used to work at CERN. In 1980 he proposed a solution which would for decades be change the entire planet.
So he proposed a project based on the concepts of hypertext, to solve this problem among researchers.
Though HyperText Markup Language was achieved in 1990, a decade after his proposal, he provided it to the world free of cost without any patents and licenses whatsover. In my personal opinion, I doubt if google, facebook and numerous popular web platforms would be in existence the HTML invention and being free of charge. Would I be able to send emails and blog?
Some sources say his networth is $50M, rich enough to retire. The challenge we face today as young men and women is our ability to put in a lot of efforts to solove a problem we all face and open it to world for free.
Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee has never put it to rest, at 62 years, a World changer he is still an advocate for the web, he has never made HTML private, he still teaches and talk to people.
A take way from all this. People matter.
Photo credit to http://olayemiogunojo.com
Ordering for a new logo? Here are some tips for you. — August 17, 2017

Ordering for a new logo? Here are some tips for you.

A logo is a sensitive symbol of our causes and businesses/organisations. Most of the time they communicate our character in the market, so they are subjective.

In this article, I would like to share one important consideration for anyone planing to make a logo by themselves or order one from professional graphics designers. The critical part of the logo today is ease of use on numerous devices and technologies.

Some years ago that flexibility wasn’t much of a requirement because logos could be mostly shipped on print media.

Technology growth is quickly changing that. In that a logo should now be produced in various versions characterized by dimension and color.

Therefore a new logo or even a old but revised one should at least have three basic versions:- the standard version, alternative version and mobile version.

The standard version

This version is what you are likely to get if you design a logo for yourself or even from a professional designer who doesn’t care much about the other versions.

Pros

It is in full color.

It is big enough(dimension) which makes it good for any print.

Cons

It may not work well on small devices like mobile phones, tablets and websites.

The alternative version

As much as it’s important, this version is usually ignored by many logo owners. It is also called the negative or grey scale logo.

Pros

It comes at a dimension of the standard logo though in monochrome.

Being monochrome it can be used in most of the partners’ media especially the mobile, web applications and websites.

Cons

Since it’s monochrome, it can’t be used anywhere if your logo originally comes in more than one color.

Mobile version

The mobile version is a small logo in terms of dimension(width and height) made in both full color and monochrome. It is an important logo for mobile applications and websites. If the standard logo is complex i.e has many symbols which may not be visible shrink mode, effort should be taken to remove some of those symbols in this version.

Pros

It will fit and represent the brand on the widely used devices today.

It is good to be used as an icon, for a mobile application and website fav icon.

Cons

It is not good for print media.

Bonus: It is good discipline to always have the original editable versions of the logo and any graphic for your brand. Without them flexibility is not paramount as you stand a high chance of color and dimension inconsistency in the future publications.

 

Our technology education program will be called… — July 29, 2017

Our technology education program will be called…

In last week’s article Updates on the 5 units to educate 100,000 people in Uganda about technology, I was shared an update about the technology education program, my friends and I are about to enroll in Uganda a few weeks from now.

I would to appreciate everyone who is reaching out to support with courage and in any way possible.

In fact many of you have asked what’s the name of the program. Today I will like to give you an answer but after narrating a bit more of our approach and why.

Our approach

To partner and visit learning participants in their communities. It’s our priority to visit the community with training equipment, we are also flexible to utilize the resources on ground hence we can visit a community prior to community interest and invitation.

Our major focus is someone who is just starting out to use a computer and self taught but interested in learning more from our team.

Why?

The tradition method is prospective learners to look out for training centers which offer an education in technology. This is an outdated approach in education service delivery  since it is most likely to exclude low level education background people, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, elderly community leaders,  people living in remote and rural areas which are also far from towns where schools could be located and marginalized groups of people. Our solution will introduce as many people even beyond 100000 to technology through offering technology literacy and accessibility.

If we want to achieve our dream, one of our goals is sustainability, and we think it is important to use little resources on our away to attaining the dream. Instead of waiting to raise capital for renting a space, we are fortunate to roll out the program in the communities where our people live and have an affiliation.

The ordinary methods would attract huge customer acquisition costs, which means the founders and investors must have to invest heavily in the start up unlike us whose approach is to have people push the solution furthest for the betterment of their communities and the surrounding.

So what is the name of the program?

First of all the program will be carried out by a team of volunteers on behalf of You Inspire You. You Inspire You, is a social entrepreneurial establishment, focusing on utilizing the most accessible resources to stir up potential by teaching technology and technology related disciplines to ordinary people, with an aim of improving livelihoods by leveraging on the numerous opportunities presented by a technology savvy.

The name of the program is Mobile Digital Hub and MDH in short. The name was chosen reflecting the process and digital technology skills acquisition.

 

Updates on the 5 units to educate 100,000 people in Uganda about technology. — July 23, 2017

Updates on the 5 units to educate 100,000 people in Uganda about technology.

Introduction

For about 7 years, I face technology challenges many of which am fortunately able to solve due because of the repeated usage of computers, tech gadgets and the internet.

Some of the challenges are education, health and income generation related.

Technology doesn’t only help me keep in touch with the people that matter, it also gives me the chance to learn, earn income, educate others and contribute in different ways to community development.

With gratitude am happy to:- to participate in the designing of websites such as eastafricatourismguide.com, theelephanthome.com, africawildexplorations.com, ugandatrip.org, rubonicamp.com, homesteadtoursandsafaris.com and ucota.or.ug among others. Perhaps some of you reading this article have ever visited Uganda through one of those websites. The existence of the businesses and organisations which own those websites are helping reduce unemployment and provide a way for numerous people to earn an income in Uganda.

I have also been able to build financial business website like rapidadvisory.com, personal websites like kaweesimark.com, bboydancemachine.com, joramc.com, and kibuukaphotography.com other websites are directory sort of such as kansanga.com which is a free platform where a locals in my township can lookup or upload businesses, places etc.

One of the reasons I’m a web developer is to solve real life problems such as lack of accessibility to affordable means of marketing and business opportunities as well to help brands establish a presence on the internet.

Through experience, I have discovered that people are spending a great deal of funds and time to a lot important and useless things due to lack of technology skill and knowledge. Some people spend on expensive web tools to build good looking websites but they don’t have a budget set a side for marketing and maintenance of their websites.

Some people would easily have time to edit and upload content to their websites but they lack technology skill and the confidence to pull it off.

Currently some good number of Ugandans, have managed to get an income opportunities abroad in the other parts of the world and they would love to send money back home, safely, fast and securely which could be easily done through platforms such as useremit.com and worldremit.com  etc but the confidence that they can do it without a mistake is in lack.

What do I do?

A few years ago, with two friends, we found a company discovering the opportunities availed by technology. The business we initiated in 2014 to celebrate 3 birthdays and established itself as fully legally recognized business in Uganda. We started with the capital of less than UGX 300,000/= ( about $80 USD).

From two individuals to six full time employees, in an economically stricken market, we are persevering. We are strategically located in the center of Kampala capital city, at the heart of the printing industry in the country on Mirembe Arcade, 4th floor, office number E09 at Nasser Road which helps customers locate us easily for bespoke products and services helping their businesses grow and become or maintain sustainability.

Additionally I volunteer to educate people of all walks of life and introduce them to the technology since I have developed from someone who couldn’t afford food worth 1000/= ($0.27) to someone is sustaining myself.  The tech training I offer covers, introduction to computer usage, internet, coding through HTML, CSS, JS and PHP and Website design using Content Management Systems especially WordPress and Joomla. As I have many less tech skilled friends and people in my network, I sometimes help with troubleshooting their devices or offering tips for whatever they stumble with the gadgets and software systems they use.

A self question

Looking where I am from, where would I be without the help of the people with a good heart? How can I pay it forward?

A self answer

I should volunteer more often reaching out those who can’t afford tech education at school or paid for training centers.

The progress so far

At the beginning, what was a virtual dream, is becoming a reality.

Have been able to acquire two used laptops at an affordable fee from a friend who deals in selling used computers.

A few weeks ago I was able to set these laptops up by installing Windows OS, Microsoft office suite, typing master and web browsers. Those tools will be enough to get some started with technology.

I appreciate that some few friends have believed in the idea and are willing to involve as trainers, project ambassadors, pilot program hosts and website hosting partners among other responsibilities.

When do we roll out?

I will bring more updates next week.

Conclusion

This will be the first official fully packaged program am heading to impact social change and community development. I have little experience and exposure in managing such a program thus I kindly request for any of your suggestions and ideas.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

100s meet at Luwero district, in Uganda to attend a cocktail of workshops ? — July 16, 2017

100s meet at Luwero district, in Uganda to attend a cocktail of workshops ?

In month of May a group of young adults planned a social community activity in Luwero district in Uganda. Luwero district, is one of the districts located in the central part of Uganda, the biggest part of Luwero is rural despite the district being the place of safety during the war, that paved way for the National Resistance Movement on their way into power to govern the country since 1986 to date.

Whoever attended would had access to several workshops including but not limited to  beat-boxing, Rapping, Bboy dance and technology for free of cost before taking part in several Hip-hop Breakdance battles.

I was also able to attend and take part because such are the days I get a chance to expand the awareness of technology among people in the rural parts of my country.

IMG_20170527_143436
David getting closer to listen to a participant’s question.

Observed challenges

  • Luckily some of the participants had smartphones though the biggest number of them were wondering how computers look like. Actually 70% of the young people of the rural areas seems to have missed the biggest opportunity to change the world through the technology simply due to accessibility. As much as the reason  to lack of access many blame it to poor financial standards and corrupt leaders.
  • The lack of communicating comfortably in the official language (English ) of Uganda, leaves one questioning the quality of education the rural people acquire at school. I believe this is contributing a lot to lack of self-esteem among most young Ugandans.

Take a ways

  • To be honest the energy in the room, noticed from the number of participants no matter the age in each single workshop boosted my will to continue participating in such workshops.
IMG_20170527_131508
Ugandan rapper, St. Nelly Sade coaching takes children through a music workshop focusing on Rapping.
  • The questions asked are a significant symbol of desire and commitment to learn regardless accessibility.

My thoughts

  • I believe sooner than later, the technology skill and knowledge divide in Uganda will soon be overcome especially if leaders and parents get involved.
  • As much as the government claims to put in place inclusive systems, the impact is yet to be felt. More effort should be put in especially to combat corruption which is a major hindrance to accessibility of many services today.
  • Should put final touches to the training guide we are developing to allow us increase our attendance more people in rural communities as we teach them about technology and participate in life change.