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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.

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 Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Over the last 13 or so years I’ve tried multiple To Do List apps.

I started with Things which was expensive compared to it’s peers at the time, but had tools for projects and tracking their completion.

I then moved to Epic Win which offered to turn my To Do List into a game and give me XP for completing the things I needed to get done.

I’ve tried any.do, Remember the Milk, Wunderlist and eventually OmniFocus which did admittedly actually have some staying power, but that still shared many attributes with the others on why I stopped using them.

The problem with ‘Someday’


I’ve had the domain colinwren.is since 2012 after spotting the chance to create a fun URL — colinwren.is/awesome — and finding a domain registrar that offered .is (Iceland’s TLD) domains without being a resident.

Back in 2012 the number of web hosts that were compatible with .is domains was relatively small as the DNS requirements for .is domains were a little odd for the time, requiring three name servers instead of the two that most hosts provided.

I eventually found an Icelandic host called x.is that allowed me to sign up even though I wasn’t a resident of Iceland (a…


Photo by Brad Starkey on Unsplash

Over the years I’ve had both iOS and Android phones which ulitmately led my photo library to be split between both iCloud and Google Photos respectively.

In order to make it easier to for me to find photos I’ve taken and to collect my different life experiences into albums I decided to move all my images over to iCloud (I gave up on Android a long time ago due to quality and privacy concerns) and get rid of Google Photos.

That Google Photos collection also had a bunch of photos I had uploaded from previous machines, cameras and non-smart phones…


Lockdown was extended for another month which I’m happy about

Pivoted away from attempting to build a Miro plugin

At the end of May we had been looking to pivot reciprocal.dev towards building a Miro plugin in order to hit a mass market and validate our idea with a lot of users.

This came out of the work we’d done preparing to build an editor for creating the User Journey Maps as we realised that we could potentially skip the editor step and instead bring the core functionality from reciprocal.dev to Miro.

However after a few iterations on the plugin idea it turned out that the Miro API was…


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…


Photo by Ranurte on Unsplash

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…

Colin Wren

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

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