Dev Diary Improvements

Dev Diary Check-In

After my first two entries, I submitted my work for feedback.

The main takeaway from this was that I was not reflecting enough within my entries. Instead, I was just describing a lot of the process and giving a step-by-step tutorial. This was something I was fairly unfamiliar with, so from Week 10 onwards I gradually improved this aspect of my entries.

There is definitely a noticeable improvement in my reflection when comparing the first entry to the last. I've got into the habit of pretty much reflecting on everything I write about, which is great because it's far more beneficial to my growth as a programmer and student.

This is proven not only through the length of each entry dramatically increasing, but with specific sections of the newer entries. Like at the end of each section where I discuss a movement mechanic. I started spending time evaluating the implementation, what I think went well or bad, and what I could do better next time. 

I've also begun discussing certain alternatives to the implementations I choose, as well as justifying why I choose what I did. For example, instead of just saying I used a CharacterController, I explained that a RigidBody was also an option and heavily analysed both choices and their potential benefits. That allowed me to explain why I went with the CharacterController. I even further reflected on this later after having properly used it, discussing whether I regretted that decision or not.

One last thing I did was begin to heavily expand my conclusions, providing specific areas that I believe went well or poorly and offering potential improvements for the future.

All of this combined allows for far a more reflective dev diary, which properly analyses my strengths and weaknesses so I can actually improve.

Code Studio Review

During a code studio period in April, I showed my Week 17-19 entry to Neil and asked for potential feedback. This way I could see if my reflection had improved, and get some more specific feedback for my dev diary.

One main area of feedback he gave was that I wasn't properly evidencing how I knew things. I was just claiming stuff and moving on, without providing any proof of research and without justifying HOW this was true. This was very valid, and was a big issue that had completely slipped through my mind throughout all entries. As a result, I went back through Weeks 13-19 and added many hyperlinks of evidence and made sure to justify how I knew things were true. I also made sure to keep this in mind when writing Week 20+.

He also provided more specific areas of feedback for the entry. For example, he pointed out that I talked myself down multiple times and was being overly negative towards my mistakes, which wasn't constructive. I went back and altered these parts to be more reflective and neutral.

Another point he made was that there was a certain section where I talked about semicolons and how they worked for a bit too long, and it caused a little bit of whiplash to go from enumerations to semicolons. I agreed, so I altered the section to focus less on the semicolon part, and more on the actual formatting which was my main point. 



Other Improvements

As well as that, there were many other improvements I made to my work on my own accord over the year.

The main one was improving the media I used within each entry, mainly through my use of GIFs. These allowed me to properly show the mechanics I had developed, making it far easier for anyone reading to visualise exactly what I'm talking about.

I also began spending more time proofreading my work and improving the flow of my later entries. This was something I was quite lazy with when I first began, so it was good I ensured a consistent quality later on.

The general quality of my entries also just naturally improved over time, as I was growing from a complete newbie to a relatively competent developer. This made it far easier to explain what I had done and reflect on it. It also meant I was doing far more each month and doing it to a much higher quality that I was able to be proud and passionate about when discussing.