Projects worked on for Rombit
(November 2013 - May 2015)
Some recruiting agency called Computer Futures contacted me for a freelance position at was during that time a small startup called Rombit. They seemed to have interesting projects and the location was within walking distance to my home in Antwerp which pretty much made my decision to apply for the open position as R&D contractor/Full stack developer.
One of the first projects I worked on was the API for a mobile application called GASapp. Since it was not done for profit but only as a promotional stunt. We had to work with a verry limited amount of time. About a month later apps were already released on iOS App Store and Android release soon followed. The entire json api backend was done in just a few weeks and for this I used my favorite framework at the time Ruby On Rails.
It was an impressive accomplishment due to the time and resource constraints and GAS fines was a hot topic which much debate going on in the news at that time. So it succeeded the goal of getting a picture in the newspapers.
BadgeControl hardware R&D work done
Various prototyping projects done around and reverse engineering done for the scanner/camera LV3080 of badgecontrol scanpoints. Wrote most of the software running on a EZMoto linux embedded device inside the BadgeControl scanpoints. The scanner had some rgb leds with nice animations to show status of scans. A camera to do QR code scanning. A GPS was also included to automatically show the locations where the points were deployed on google maps. Furthermore they also had a 3G modem to be connected to our servers. We also built in the ability to update the firmware whenever a scanpoint checked in it fetched a shell script to be executed. This could do various things like update something or install/download a new package etc. This made it super flexible to update the software of all the scanners remotely.
Also wrote most of the initial firmware in c++ running on the BadgeControl scanners.
BadgeControl: Werfleider app
Wrote entire werfleider's android and iphone apps using hybrid method from scratch (cordova + angularjs) and had qr code scanning plugin to do scanning of qr codes as well. For this app mostly all the cordova stuff was done manually and thus it took some extra time. Later on however ionic popped up and was getting mature enough to use it for our next mobile application the 'checkin app'.
BadgeControl: Checkin app
Implemented another smaller android and ios app that allowed users to use their mobile device to check in/out. This was an alternative to the 'dedicated scanner' way of working but that does imply the workers all need to have a smartphone to do so. Using ionic and also because it was a verry simple app with only a few screens. The entire thing was built and released in less than a month. By using the excellent ionic framework this android and iphone application was done in about 2 weeks.
This was also implemented with PHP Symfony which I didn't work on. However the frontend had some angularjs as well and for the calendar planning widget they needed some help. So I worked on creating a nice user friendly planning widget that allows you to drag lines inside a calendar and thereby quickly configure for each worker at what days he needed to be present on his job.
Some small features and improvements implemented by myself and bugfixes done. ERATools was basically a website used internally by some ERA offices to keep track of house prices and do some market research. This site was entirely implemented with PHP Symfony. I know PHP and other MVC frameworks to find my way around but it was also just something I didn't enjoy that much. To me back then and still today Symfony feels klunky and just not something I enjoy developing with.
MarktAnalyse App iOS & Android (for ERA real estate)
Complete rewrite done by myself of a similar app that had been developed a bit prior. The backend/API's it used however had changed entirely and most of the screens were broken (unresponsive and/or had bugs).
Schattingsverslag APP iOS (for real estate)
Jan De Coster wrote the initial version of the iOS and Android app using cordova. However I got the task to make it more stable, do bugfixes and make improvements and add some features. This was after successfully completing the above MarktAnalyse app and as it was pretty solid/stable I was allowed to work on the other Schattingsverslag App as well. Together with Jan we managed to get everything up and runnin smoothly again also for the Schattingsverslag app which would mostly be used on iPads. Technically speaking an Android release would also have been possible without too much changes to the codebase.
Android and iOS apps made for use in the medical sector written from scratch by myself. Basically using a cordova plugin its possibly to have an android scanning barcodes. That way they can track how much medicine and supplies are used. This allowed them to properly identify how much each treatment really costs. Also created from scratch by myself using phonegap/cordova plugins and Angular JS.
This was finished entirely and a beta was already deployed and running. A few months later however the backend/API was rewritten by another freelancer. This implied some work again to make it compatible with the app. So the app was changed to work again on the new API in 2-3 weeks, it took some more time than initially estimated because the new API itself was not completely finished and was evolving as well. After that everything was peachy and MedicalChain was working like a charm again.
My last work was going to be again a iOS and Android app for the vavato.com site. It was supposed to be developed as quickly as possible, so I used the ionic framework as I had used that with nice results for the Checkin app of the BadgeControl project. However Jorik the CEO of Rombit also wanted to lower my daily fee and in return give me a longer term contract.
His explanation was he had done the same deal with the other freelancers and wanted everybody to have the same lower daily fee (most likely to please his new investors). My response was I have to ask my bookkeeper but it would most likely not be possible to stay if my daily fee would be lowered. Meanwhile my other invoice of the work done the month prior to vavato on the MedicalChain app was also not getting paid and my bills were stacking up. It was time find a new customer and call it quits.
Rombit got a huge funding round a few months later of +20 million euro. Most likely by showing potential with all the different types of work done websites, iOS&Android apps, hardware prototypes that went into production etc. And that was all thanks to a dedicated, hard working small team of developers and R&D contractors like myself who were there during the early days and did long weeks and sometimes also weekend work to get things done.
To this day it still baffles me how out of all my clients this is the one that did not pay my last 2 invoices because I decided to move on. His claim was he had damages because he could not finish all aspects of the Vavato project in time. However first of all I never had that kind of contract with him. I worked with a daily fee. If I was not efficient or did not meet a deadline he had the freedom to end my contract at any time, however this never done because most of the time he got a great deal of that setup and made profit with it. Further more he had a team of +15 developers by then. If I had fallen sick or had some other mishap he would have had the same perdicament. Either way he still owes me 6 weeks of unpaid and invoiced work. Period.
My next customer became GameBUS API for University in Eindhoven