Last year I competed in the Google Cloud Developer Challenge (https://www.google.com/events/gcdc2013/). The idea behind this competition was to build apps that showcase the power of the Google Cloud Platform.
Back then, I was in my 9th year as a PHP developer. In my entire career, I built projects using all major frameworks (CakePHP, Lithium, Drupal, Symfony, Zend and Code Igniter) but I felt it was time to move on. The reason why I didn't seriously considered this sooner is that the job market was over saturated with PHP positions.
I'm a very curious person by nature, I get really excited about new technologies and I always feel the need to test them out by implementing some crazy idea. My first thought when hearing about GCDC was to compete with an app built in Python (just to spice things up). It never crossed my mind I actually had a chance to win.
I started learning Python while already working on my project. At the end of the first round, I had a functional demo with under a dozen features. I barely made it to the final round (9th place out of 10).
For the next month, I worked an average of 12 hours a day and I rewrote my app from scratch. The new Travel Journal had at least 30 more features, it had a new design and the code base was much more cleaner than the previous version.
Imagine how satisfied I felt when I found out I had won!
I could not have achieved this without help from the cool people out there, building Open Source projects. Their hard work, translated into code examples, made learning a new programming language an easier task. And for that, I'm grateful.
Fast forward 8 months, I completely moved on from PHP. Also, I experiment as much as possible with AngularJS, Node.js and Famo.us. Having access to Open Source repositories helped me become a better engineer.
That's why, I decided to make Travel Journal publicly available. If it can help at least one developer overcome an issue, my job is done.
Without further ado, below you have a link to a public Github repository:
You can also find a working demo of the app here:
As a bonus, here's another public repo from Startup Weekend Timisoara (the team I was part of won 1st place):
This is the story of how I became a very satisfied Python developer (now using Flask), always on the lookout for cool new technologies to work with.
Word of advice: you should consider competing in the Google Cloud Developer Challenge this year. I promise you it'll be worth your while!