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Photo by imgix on Unsplash

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 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 to include in my CV. …

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Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

In December 2020 JiffyCV went into beta and I got to experience the highs of getting something I’d worked hard on into people’s hands and the lows of those people then reporting app crashing bugs that I hadn’t found during development.

The key to fixing a bug is knowing the exact steps to take to reproduce it and then how those steps cause a deviation in the intended behaviour, but when you’re not experiencing this first hand (and sometimes when you are) it’s incredibly hard to get the information you need to reproduce those steps.

The best way of giving yourself more information about the crash is to use a tool like Sentry that can capture exceptions thrown during the running of the app and log these to a central server. …

2020 was a weird year and I have a feeling that 2021 will be more of the same but that hopefully won’t stop me achieving some of the stuff on my todo list.

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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

How 2020 went

At the start of 2020 I laid out four things I wanted to achieve:

  • Create a side hustle
  • Go to New Zealand
  • Get fitter

The New Zealand trip turned into another trip to Japan as British Airways had a sale around my birthday but that ultimately got cancelled due to the pandemic so we’re hoping to try again for April 2022. …


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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Got app into beta

The app I’ve spent that last 6+ months working on — JiffyCV — is finally in beta!

I wrote a post about the journey to beta if you’re interested in learning more about what goes behind ideating, validating, building and launching a beta for an app.

We’re hoping to get the app in stores early next year so hopefully next month’s round up will involve some good news.

Fixed my vacuum

I wrote a while ago about the Deebot robot vacuum that I got from Amazon and how I managed to hook it up to a PS4 controller to control it.

This week I had an excuse to get my tools and disassemble it because it started making a clacking noise when it span the main brush. …

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Photo by Aaron Lau on Unsplash

I’ve spent the last seven months building a React Native app with Expo and I’m really enjoying the agility that choosing Expo is giving me.

The build service especially has saved me a bunch of time that has allowed me to spend more time dealing with the monotony of app store submissions, something that seems to get more and more complex every time I do it.

While Deep Links aren’t unique to Expo, there are a few extra complexities that you face as your app will run in the Expo client or as a standalone application with both having a different Deep Link structure. …

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Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

At the start of 2019 I set myself the goal of reading all 41 mainline Discworld novels and two years later I’ve finally completed that goal.

As a kid my stepdad would get a new book every year or so and told me about some of the characters which as someone who’s predisposed to high fantasy the mix of fantasy and humour peaked my interest.

I did read The Colour of Magic when I was about 15 but reading another 30-odd books seemed daunting so the goal was born out of me wanting to see what all the fuss was about but also I wanted to start getting into reading as a habit. …

Exciting times ahead

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Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Built my first app for Solid

At the start of the month I took a dive into building an app that uses a Solid pod for data storage. I’ve been wanting to give Solid a go for a while now as I think it will be something we’ll see in the future, either in it’s current form as an open source project or as an government/enterprise level adoption that means people use their work/government pods for everyday use.

I do have a few concerns around Solid and it’s lack of granular permissions but as it gets adopted more I’m sure that’ll be resolved as more and more users ask for it. …

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An example of the Miro web plugin I built to add specifications to the images my team uses to plan new functionality. Doing this allows us to define specs on the fly and see the test results as we discuss new functionality

Miro is an amazing tool, I’ve been using it for about 3 years now and I love it.

Miro’s strength is that it, much like the physical whiteboard it’s emulating, can hold anything which makes it really powerful for collaboration and big picture work.

My team have been using it to aid visualising the ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’ for the work our client is requesting, using images to visualise the user journey with loads of arrows and stickies to pinpoint areas we need to build an understanding in.

This works well, but I felt there was something missing from the conversation which was the output of our automated tests. …

I’ve been too busy to write a proper blog this week so here’s a bunch of programming memes.

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I once crashed a server with 16GB of RAM back in 2010 because I forgot to free memory in the search call

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Photo by Andrej Lišakov on Unsplash

On the internet your data is most likely your most valuable asset. With it, companies can deduce all aspects of what drives you and target their advertising efforts to change you into a consumer of their products or to change your opinions on subjects that matter to them.

You don’t own this data though. It exists in a multitude of silos across the various services, websites and apps you use and while you can access this data via a GDPR (or non-EU equivalent) request you won’t get all the data that company holds on you, just the data that falls within the legal obligation the companies have. …


Colin Wren

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

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