Removal of high quality

For those of you who have followed my website for sometime you may have noticed I have removed something from my website.

Can you guess what it is? Yes it is the word “high quality”.

My websites description use to read …

“Freelance Web Software Developer from Derbyshire, UK. I write high quality code to create and deliver web based software projects.”

And it now reads this …

“Freelance Web Software Developer from Derbyshire, UK. I write code to create and deliver web based software projects.”

I do not know why I said I produce “high quality” code in the first place, what did I hope to gain from this?

James Barnsley A produces code to power websites.

James Barnsley B produces high quality code to power websites.

Is a potential customer going to read my website and think …

Oh well, I had better go with James Barnsley B then instead of James Barnsley A. It is highly unlikely is it not?

I wrote about this in a previous article which has now been deleted but I will describe what happend again for the benefit of the people who never read the article.

A while ago I rang up a company who I was looking to work with and I explained to one of the people at the company about myself, the customers I have worked with and that I do programming.

I also mentioned that I do programming as a hobby and immediately in a raised voice the person blurted out …

“We do programming as a profession here, we do not do it as some hobby, we are doing this for a living!”

Yes I get that, hence the reason I talked about myself and the customers I had already worked with, some of which are multi-million pound organizations.

Anyways for some reason the person ignored all that and obviously just thought I was a “hobby” programmer.

I actually did programming as a “profession” and then in my spare time did it as a “hobby” also by working on my own personal projects.

There are a lot of these turning a hobby into a job articles online that all follow a similar theme, here is one of those …

The theme generally takes the story of a person who is doing something for a hobby like programming and then after a number of years of doing it as a hobby the person had a moment of “enlightenment” and all of sudden he is no longer doing it as a hobby anymore but as a job.

The person makes all the analogies about he “tightened up his processes”, “defined what he really wanted to do” and how his “programming improved to such an extent that he is no longer doing it as a hobby but as a job”.

The person has left all his / her “hobby” programmers behind because their just not there yet and have not reached the level of “enlightenment” that he / she has. Yes, a person should always wear his “hobby” programmer badge with pride until he has reached the “next level”.

Let me turn my hobby into a job …

“I am James Barnsley and I do web programming as a hobby job”

After thinking about this I can see how that related to myself.

I started out as James Barnsley who writes code to power web software systems. Now James Barnsley has had a number of years experience at doing this James Barnsley is no longer just James Barnsley but is James Barnsley who writes “high quality” code to power web software systems because James Barnsley says so.

Jon Smith starts out as a “hobby” programmer who writes code to power web software systems. After a number of years Jon Smith is no longer Jon Smith the “hobby” programmer who writes code to power web software systems but is Jon Smith the “professional” who writes code to power web software systems because Jon Smith says so.

In reality neither the word “hobby” or “professional” was needed.

So basically once I got “self confident” enough I decided to stick the word “high quality” in the paragraph. I felt I had reached a “new level” and I needed to inform potential customers of this by sticking the “high quality” label on my website.

Why was James Barnsley not “high quality” at the beginning of his programming practice?

Why is James Barnsley “high quality” now?

Why is James Barnsley “high quality” in the future?

Yes “high quality” is a subjective term anyway, but I do not want get into that. The simple point is that “high quality” is just a label. I could have stuck “high quality” on my website at any time I choose to, it means nothing. Even if I was “high quality” it still means nothing.

These labels can become something that haunt you, they can become something that control you, they can become something that irritate you as shown in the reaction of the person at the company I rang.

The person was probably only defending himself and his company but the word “hobby” or “professional” should not matter, should it? What if my code as a “hobby” programmer was greater than his code as a “professional” programmer.

If I take the humble approach it does not matter whether I got a “very bad” or a “very good” label applied to me because I am none of these labels.

These labels are trying to get me to form a conclusion about myself.

An example would be let us say someone said “I look very beautiful” and I accept that label about myself.

Due to accepting this label internally about myself I have now transferred my value into an external person my value no longer comes from myself but from the person who gave me the label.

What happens if that same person or another person now comes along and says “I look ugly”. I would be devastated right? This is because my value is now being derived externally.

Now what happens if I consider myself nothing and I truly believe this to be the case.

A person comes up to me and says “I look very beautiful”, well instantly I know this does not apply to me.

How can it? Nothing cannot be something can it? Nothing does not equal beautiful. Nothing is nothing. Nothing is not beautiful.

Now someone comes along and says “I look ugly”. Well again. Nothing does not equal ugly. Nothing is nothing. Nothing is not ugly.

So you can get what I am getting at. If I accept either label “beautiful” or “ugly” I have really done myself a dis-service have I not?

In some cases accepting what we think to be the decent label like “beautiful” can actually be just as bad as accepting the “ugly” label because accepting the decent label “beautiful” it has still turned the nothingness into a somethingness has it not?

This means it has opened you up to attack i.e. now that you have accepted you are “beautiful” we can get you to accept that you are “ugly” right?

This is what I mean even if I am “beautiful” and it is true that I am “beautiful” the word “beautiful” has no part of me.

It can be true that I am “beautiful” or “ugly” without those labels belonging to me.

There is a difference between these labels and me even if some of these are labels are true.

I heard someone mention the other day the following statement “I have not been that difficult”, what is this statement saying about the person, why would the person say this?

Somewhere along the persons life someone has called him “difficult” and because he has accepted this label into his being he now makes the statement “I have not been that difficult”.

If the person had accepted that he is nothing then he would not be making these statements or feel insecure because nothing is nothing, nothing cannot be “difficult” and again even if in truth this person is “difficult”, “difficult” cannot apply to him, it does not belong to him. The truth belongs to the other person but not to him.

So in a sense he is right he has not been that difficult because he could not have been that difficult because he is nothing but this is only the case if he has really accepted his own nothingness and if he had really accepted his own nothingness it is unlikely he would be making that statement.

When someone says you are “beautiful”, “great”, “fantastic”, “ugly”, “a prat”, “worthless”, “substandard” or whatever, do not be so quick to accept the label, even if it is true. As stated earlier “truth” can belong to another person without having to belong to you in the same way a “lie” can belong to another person without having to belong to you.

For all the people who feel insecure about themselves and what people think of them I would ask them to really concentrate on their own nothingness and really start to feel their own nothingness. Not from a point of vanity or mere lip service but really feel it.

Lip service or vanity could be saying “I am a speck in this entire universe, a worthless miniscule dot of a person”. This is lip service because as stated before “nothing” is not a “speck in this entire universe” or a “worthless miniscule dot of a person”, nothing is nothing.

Part of the problem about this is people will read it and only understand it from an intellectual point of view. This is similar to lip service only not quite as wrong because at least an attempt to understand it has been made if only from an intelleuctual point of view. The point is to really feel it, really feel your own nothingness.

Please note I am not saying that someone could not catch me out either if they wanted to. I am just saying the goal of the above exercise would be to try to feel your own nothingness emotionally as well as intellectually.

I heard somebody suggest once …

“If someone is making comments on you “good” or “bad” then you mean more to them than they mean to you”.

I do not believe this to be the case. You may not mean anything to the people who are applying these labels to you and as stated earlier if you accept these labels then you may be doing yourself a dis-service.

So anyways going by this more humble interpretation and because putting “high quality” on my website is not going to make a difference in the clients that I get I have decided to remove “high quality” from my website for these reasons.

Start of a new year 2018

Start of brand new year, a clean slate and potential opportunities on the horizon …

Client work

Worked with 3 clients last year which was fantastic and proved more than sufficient. I am currently waiting on a couple of people to get back to me at the moment about potential work.

Neptune – Lead tracker

As stated in my Christmas post. I will be taking Neptune Lead Tracker down at some point this year if it gets no usage by people, no point in keeping it online if no one is using it.

Blog

Will keep the blog going strong this year. I will try to write 1 post per week. The standard I set myself to is to try to write 1 blog post per week but if I miss a post one week I just write one the next week.

Goals

My goals this year will all be centred around improving my skill sets and making myself even more marketable. Up to yet I have been doing other side projects which have side tracked me quite a bit from improving on my own skill set.

I would like to get into more front-end website development improving my skills in front-end languages as well as WordPress and Perch content management systems.

I would also like to get into front-end Javascript frameworks such as AngularJS, React and NodeJS because a lot of contract positions on the market are now demanding these skills.

Website structure

You may or may not have noticed that the website structure in the “left side menu” has changed. The homepage of the website is now what use to be the “hire me” page and the website blog now has its own seperate page instead of being the homepage.

Basically if you want to access this blog from now you will have to click “Blog” in the “left side menu”.

I have also updated my portfolio to include a graphic containing images of the projects I have worked on. So each project in the “Portfolio” in the “left side menu” now contains an image of the project.

Looking forward to see what this year brings.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year – 2017

Another year gone by and it is nearly time for Christmas.

Over the last 12 months …

Client work
I have taken on and worked with 3 new clients this year. As you may or may not know I am a one man contractor and my contracts generally last months at a time so 3 new clients has proved sufficient.

Toolkit
I have worked on an internal system for managing my business which is 90% complete. For all intents and purposes the Toolkit is completed. The remaining 10% will involve adding any remaining features I can think up or that may be needed.

Neptune – Lead Tracker
I have developed the initial Neptune Lead Tracker and put it online. Neptune has not seen much growth as of yet, I will leave Neptune for 1 more year then take it down if no one is using Neptune. – http://www.neptuneleadtracker.com

Czech Character Code Converter
I developed a web based software script to help me with work on a particular client this year. Afterwards I gave the web based software script a basic front-end and uploaded it online so it can be used by other people. – http://www.czechcharactercodeconverter.com/

King of Adem
Started writing code for a multiplayer strategy game. This project is on the back-burner at the moment and will remain there until some interest is shown from a game developer who would like to take the project further with me.

Overall a very good year.

As I wind down for Christmas I will not be writing anymore blog posts until January 29th 2018 so please check back then to continue reading my blog.

I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, until next year, bye for now.

Tips for clients when choosing a web development company

A while back I wrote a post about tips for freelancers …

http://www.jamesbarnsley.com/site/2016/11/27/tips-for-freelancers/

My goal at the time was to later write an article on tips for clients choosing a web development company. I thought at the time this would be a straightforward article to write but the more I thought about it the less straightforward it become.

Some typical indicators to decide whether a company is worth choosing could be as follows, How many employees does the company have? Are the companies premises any good? How long the company has been in business? Does the company have a decent looking website?

The majority of the above indicators are really indicators as to how well the business is doing. A lot of people will except that if the final product looks and feels right and it works then they are happy with the final product. With a large number of people accepting this as the basic premise most businesses can survive for a long time on this premise.

So what is it I am getting at here? In short, it is the underlying code powering the web development project. It is this area that as the client you will have no ability to judge without programming experience.

Neither did any of the previous clients of the long standing businesses, so the business may be big, the business may have been around for a long while but this does not mean that either you or the previous clients ever got a good product in terms of the code powering the web development project.

How the product looks and to some extent whether the product works or not is merely a coat of paint over the real engine powering the web development product.

A Ford car can look and work right, a Rolls Royce car can look and work right but both have huge differences in the price tag. How do you know whether you are getting a Ford or a Rolls Royce? The quality of the components? In a web development project whilst some of the components may stand out such as the design, some of the components do not stand out i.e. the code.

This article has been born from observing different web development projects with different qualities of code being sold at vastly different prices. The higher priced projects do not nessacarily equate to higher quality code although the project may be of a better quality in other areas.

As a client how can you ensure you are getting quality code? I have thought about this and I am not sure there really is an answer. You could get a programmer contact or external company to inspect the code but then how can you be sure that the external company is any good at programming code, especially since the same applies to the external company which applies to the primary company?

Conclusion
As a client without programming experience maybe it should be excepted that if the company can produce a product which “looks good” and “works right” then the company is acceptable. The quality of the code is hard to determine for the general client and getting the code verified by a third party simply means you have transfered the trust from the primary company to the external company.