Jamie Balfour BSc

Welcome to my personal website!

Technology enthusiast

I am very interested in technology, particularly relating to computer science. I am most interested in web design and development.

My main hobby is programming. One of my most well known products from this is ZPE. I also am the sole creator of BalfBlog, BalfBar and BalfSlider.

A little bit about me

In 1997, when I was six years of age, I got my very first computer. I was always very interested in the ins and outs of it and dismantled it to see how it worked.

Years later, in 2016 I received my BSc (with honours) in Computer Science, obtaining a First class degree.

I'd like to welcome you to my website and hope you enjoy using it as much as I have enjoyed building it!

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Jamie Balfour BSc
Full stack developer

A look at my 2015

30 Dec 2015 at 10:40
I look back at the best of 2015 for me.

2015 was generally a really good year for me.

First of all, third year of university, I managed to get 6 Bs and 2 As, which is good enough for me and I achieved an average of 67% (if this average continued I'd be en route for a second class honours, although a first class honours is not impossible either).

My fourth year at university started out good, and I got several good marks back; 86% for one coursework, 74% (part one of my dissertation) for another and then 70% for another. The rest of my courses seem to have gone well too, so we'll see what happens with them. I did have a small breakdown during the 5th week of semester one, but that has happened before in my second year (admittedly, not quite as seriously). I nearly quit university despite getting good grades down to stress!

This year, I was also formally asked if I wanted to become a lab helper in one of my favourite courses involving one of my favourite aspects of computer science in a course called Web design and Databases. I've always wanted to be a lab helper, so this is a great opportunity for me.

On top of this, I finally got the opportunity to work in school as a teacher as part of one of my university courses. This has been one of, if not the, greatest experiences of my life. I am thoroughly enjoying this. 

As a result of one of the courses I did in this year of university, I also improved my own programming language, finally bringing an end to BlackRabbit Script and replacing it with my new Zenith Language. Most of my free time this year has been spent on the Zenith Parsing Engine (or Zengin) and now it has become one of the most, if not the most, important projects I work on now. In March I started ZPE and then it was restarted in May with a proper compiler. 

In terms of my website, I would say it has been at it's best since I started. This year I focused on reducing the size of my JavaScript files and CSS files and I managed to reduce over 30KB of data. On top of that, I managed to reduce the amount of HTML produced on mobile devices using a PHP library called Mobile Detect. I also finally made the decision to stop tweaking the design of my website in September after I changed the sidebar. The vast majority of the website has remained consistent since then. One major change did happen after that however, with the change from my inconsistent curved style to a much flatter design. One example of this is what I call my pill inputs:

My pills

The new 'pills' design that came to my website was all about creating a flatter look.

2015 was also a very successful year for my website. Across the whole year, 1,940 users have visited my website and over 40,000 pages have been visited. Of all visitors, 1,940 of the pages visited are also by new visitors. As well as this, Zengin has been downloaded some 500 times since May!

My tutorials featured on my website also got recognised by the online tutorial maker Udemy. They claimed to really like my website and the tutorials that I have written.

I also brought my own menu to my website, called JBBar, a free and open source menu bar that can be downloaded from my website. This replaces the jQuery Smartmenus menu that came with a lot of extra baggage. 

As well as this, I created my first website for a business, which went very smoothly and has been named very 'innovative' by many. In fact, I'm so proud of that website that it also backward inspired my own website.

JBlogs also got a huge upgrade, becoming object-oriented and easier to use. Not only that, but a lot of security issues were patched and the design became more flexible to other websites. It took me less than an hour to put JBlogs on to a Bootstrap themed website (more on that in the new year) and it integrated pretty perfectly. JBlogs also became more efficient than it was at the end of 2015 as a result of this new design.

I also managed to achieve one whole year of being a pescatarian in September this year - something I'm very proud of!

Just before I finish, I'd like to say thanks to everyone who has been there for me this year, particularly when I've had problems! The main people this year are my good friends Jonathan, Mark and Merlin, who have made this year much easier for me! Without this trio I'd most likely have left university. I'd also like to thank Rob and Helen (lecturers) for convincing me to stay and helping me feel up again! Of course, I cannot forget to mention all of the other people at university, who have also always been there for me. 

So that's another year almost over. 2015 was generally a great year. Now let's hope 2016 is also a great year!

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