The only portfolio I’ve had up until this point was made as a project for freeCodeCamp. You can check it out here– but don’t get too excited about it! The requirements of the project were: the ability to see all content by scrolling, links to our social media profiles, thumbnails of completed projects, links to different sections within the page, and it was suggested that we use the Bootstrap framework. At the time I was working on it, it was also required that we had parallax-effect backgrounds [was it only required for a certain number of sections or the whole page? I’m not really sure… I definitely wouldn’t have used quite…so much of it had it not been a requirement!] I completed the project, but I was never really happy with it as a showcase of the work that I could produce. In fact, if I remember correctly, the portfolio project was added after I’d passed the section it’s in, but as it’s a required project, I had to skip back to complete it.
If I’m honest about Portfolio 1.0 [as I’ve come to think about it] it’s clunky, awkward, -it was just made to tick the necessary boxes, and it does just that- no more. I made it on CodePen and I don’t think I ever even bothered to check what it looked like in full screen mode, or gave any thought to mobile. Every time I saw it I thought something along the lines of “oh yeah, that, that was a silly project” and never considered it to be my real portfolio.
Last week I was baking bread and work and having a think about it. The bread wasn’t as nice as I wanted it to be- the dough was a bit wet, so the finished free-formed loaves weren’t as tall as I would have liked. I thought about the previous baker we had, an apprentice, and the advice I gave her on a day where she was feeling particularly unsure about her progress. I told her to take a picture of the bread each day. I said that it was easy to look at your work and find faults on any given day, but if you could look back over maybe a months’ worth of photos you would be able to see that it was getting better over time. Sometimes it’s hard to see your progress day-to-day, but if you had a record, especially of the exact same thing, it would be a lot easier to see how far you’ve come.
Since I’ve gotten back into web development I’ve been thinking that I should have a real portfolio, one that I feel accurately represents the kind of work that I can produce. Taking a bit of my own advice, I might release a new version every eight or twelve months, so I can see my own progress. It’s fine to continuously work on different projects, but by performing the same task at regular intervals and monitoring the results, it’ll be much easier to see my own progress, as well as changes in my style and taste.
I set to work on Portfolio 2.0. I knew that I wanted to keep the overall look simple and clean. That was a good starting point. Not long having finished the Bootstrap section on my udemy course, I decided to make use of Bootstrap to create a better mobile experience. I also wanted to use jQuery, because I feel it’s something I’m not too familiar with, and thought this would be a good opportunity to effectively use it [where I thought it would be appropriate obviously, I didn’t want to add effects just for the sake of it.]
I’m a lot happier with this version; I think it’s much more my style, though there are still some things I would like to change, and I had a few issues to get it to this point.
My biggest headache was caused by my own stupidity. Yup. Freely admitting that one. I originally used Sublime to make Portfolio 2.0, and copy and pasted the appropriate files into CodePen. I thought it would be just that simple. Cue me scratching my head for about an hour wondering how I’d managed to break it by copy and pasting. It was the order of my script tags. I had the Bootstrap JS CDN placed before the jQuery one. I figured it out when I finally used the developer tools in my browser and saw the error message. This is definitely one of those mistakes you only make once! Another issue I had was with the images in my About Me section. I spent a while thinking about the best way to include photos that would move in the way I wanted them to as the browser window was resized. I’m not totally in love with how it’s working at the moment, but I think it’s as close to how I wanted it in my head as I’ll get.
I’ve been weighing up whether to add more projects to my Portfolio section or if it would be more effective to hold off until Portfolio 3.0 . I think what would probably be the smartest thing to do is give myself a cut-off of about a month to finish up any more projects I’d like to have included, that way I can also test how easy it is to add content to the page.
I would guess that a lot of people only revamp their portfolio as often as they edit their CV- when they’re looking for a new job. I’d love to hear from other people [not necessarily developers] about how often they edit, revamp, or add things to their portfolio.