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My first ever app — JiffyCV — is now live! Here’s the story about how it came to be, the approach I took to make it and what I learned along the way.

You find out more about the app on our website https://jiffycv.com or find it in the app store and play :

The imaginative spark

I originally started looking at building some form of tool to assist job hunting in 2016, after the startup I was part of closed down and I found myself struggling to remember what I’d done in the last five years and what…


Photo by Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash

Recently as part of the work I’ve been doing on Reciprocal.dev I found myself needing to record a set of decisions that I had made around the data model that the app uses.

Traditionally my first port of call would be to capture these decisions in a Confluence page where essentially they’d just act as an archive ready for a point in time where I could be bothered to do the archeology to find and read them.

A friend suggested Architectural Decision Records (ADRs) a while ago for capturing this type of information so I gave this new approach a…


Everyone gets an animal

I missed the Minecraft fad when it first came out, I wasn’t playing games at the time and while I saw others playing it I stopped myself from joining in, because it looked like you had to invest days to get anything out of it.

While I wasn’t playing Minecraft I was consuming the Minecraft culture, listening to artists such as reptilelegit and a hefty collection of memes which meant that I was aware of some of the aspects of the game.

A couple of weeks ago, in a bid to give my girlfriend more time to hang out with…


While I appreciate the free tier Figma offers the new limits were too restrictive and Figma wasn’t the cheaper option for our business

I’ve been using Figma for over a year now and it’s been key to designing and developing two products that I’ve built in that time — JiffyCV and Reciprocal.dev.

Compared to other tools I’d used in the past such as Sketch, I found Figma to be feature rich and powerful even though it was rendering in a web browser (a perfect example of the power of the modern web).

Figma’s free tier gave someone like myself, who’s just starting out enough room to iterate over designs of their initial offering without having to pay anything, which, when you’re not sure…


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As part of the transition between idea validation and actually building reciprocal.dev into an actual product we found ourselves needing to set up an email address.

I’d bought the original domain from Hover when I had the idea and then used Netlify some months later to publish the website and prototype used in the idea validation stage. I hadn’t given much thought to actually using the domain for business related things like email.

Deciding which email host to use

As I bought the domain from Hover I looked into their offering which wasn’t free (it’s $20 a year per email or $5 for forwarding) and while…


Finally eligible for a Covid jab, at least there’s some benefits to being old!

Played some Pokemon Snap

Towards the end of April Pokemon Snap came out so I spent that first weekend completing the main story and then went back to start completing some of the quests.

The game is basically everything I wanted from a sequel and really fun although I really wish the ‘boost’ was a little bit quicker as it’s not that effective if you need to skip to the end of a level to get one shot.

I really enjoy the interactions with the Pokemon and some of the…


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After the success of the prototype to prove out reciprocal.dev we decided to spend some time on formalising any further development. One of the tasks in order to achieve this was to build a component library for all UI elements.

The UI elements are split into two categories: HTML and Konva, with the latter only working correctly as a child of a Layer component inside of a Stage component.

I started the component library work by building the HTML components first as this was easier. …


NoSQL Data Modeling

Photo by Bastien Hervé on Unsplash

After a pretty successful time building a prototype of Reciprocal.dev we decided to start building a beta that added user accounts and the ability for users to create their own user journey maps with the tool.

I decided to go with Firebase for both the authentication and data storage solution as the interoperability of both solutions made it ideal for performing asynchronous actions on changes to both documents in Firestore and user accounts in Firebase Authentication.

Moving to Firestore meant formalising the structure of the data that we had hacked together for the prototype to make it more scalable and…


Photo by Dave Webb on Unsplash

For the last couple of months I’ve been working on my second product — Reciprocal.dev — An interactive user journey mapping tool that aims to help product teams build shared understanding easier by being able to see the big picture, while focusing on the deliverable work.

My first foray into entrepreneurship — JiffyCV — didn’t go so well, I took so long to validate the idea and burned myself out in the process of delivering the MVP that I lost interest, so I was keen to avoid making this same mistake with Reciprocal.dev.

The main reason why I think JiffyCV…


Pokemon Snap is coming out tomorrow so figured I’d document what I was doing before I get lost in that.

Conducted lots of user interviews

I had some time off at the start of the month as I was taking advantage of a double Bank Holiday we had in the UK so I managed to get almost two weeks off work from five days of holiday allowance.

During that time I spent a lot of time with potential users of Reciprocal.dev

Colin Wren

Technical Lead at BJSS. Interested in Automated Testing, Dev practises, Metal, Chiptune. All views my own.

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