I started Antares Programming in late 2018 as a Facebook page where I advertise my services as a freelance web developer and designer. Since then it has grew into a passion project that has helped me become a better developer, designer, and educator.
The website has gone through several iterations. The original site, still up until now, ran on Github Pages. It used Hexo for its backend. I originally chose it because, at the time, it was the technology easiest for me to learn. I stuck with it for a year.
I rebuilt the site under a new Github account because of a changed vision. Previously, Antares Programming is a personal project. However, I quickly realized I will not be able to output quality content on my own. Rebuilding the site under a separate account will give me the leeway to create content for this project, and at the same time lay the groundwork for the future when people more knowledgeable than I am would contribute their own well-researched articles for the benefit of Antares Programming’s audience.
Most of the activities for this project goes into creating graphics for the social media pages of Antares Programming. Facebook posts of Antares Programming reach up to 20,000 people. This is the most effective way of reaching more developers and tell them the newest that they can use in their projects.
This whole process has gave me an idea on marketing and gauging my audience. If I want this project to help as many people as possible, I have to figure out how to craft my content in a way that piques my target audience’s interest.
Through this process that’s been going on for two years, I found out that the best way to reach people is to create quality content. And that could never be understated. Quality draws people in more than quantity. I have seen many social media pages about software development in general that output cookie-cutter posts that has been posted several times in other pages already. And these posts are as basic as they come, because most developers already know them.
What I like about Antares Programming is that I try to cater to beginners as much as I cater to more experienced developers. The way I do it is by creating content for experienced developers while explaining it in a way that a beginner would understand. Of course, there would be instances where a prerequisite knowledge is needed, but in those instances I try to point beginners somewhere they could learn it: hopefully I have written about it before, but if haven’t already, I point them to trusted sources that I use as a reference myself when I’m learning or writing about things.
Educating people has always been the goal of Antares Programming since I built the first site back in December of 2018. To achieve that goal, I had to find a way around the barriers that stop people from learning.
Software development is technical in nature. Even graduates of computer courses struggle to understand documentations and tutorials. And even when they learn how to do things, they still sometimes fail to recognize the underlying concepts, which then prevents them from becoming efficient developers.
By reducing technicality of concepts, we give learners another affordance to help them learn. One effective way of doing it is to explain concepts in the language they use everyday. We already know and do this in universities. Philippine colleges and universities use the predominant language of the class even if English is the official language of a subject. I applied this for Antares Programming by using Filipino as its main language.
Most technical documentations are mundane. They feel robotic and lifeless. I strive to write life into articles for Antares Programming. The goal is to make it feel like you are reading a message from one of your classmates you go to whenever you need help. I want readers to feel like they’re reading a text from their classmate who just found out about this new technology to do that cool thing you’ve always wanted to do.
To do this, we need to state the purpose in each article. It’s pretty much useless to present information to a student without stating why it’s being taught (cough most of the maths
taught in school cough). In every article, I state what a technology does, and where it’s been used by other developers so far. I always try to answer the question
what cool things can I build with this technology? whenever I write tutorials.
Throughout its two year run, I have seen nothing but praise for Antares Programming. It is indeed both a novel and noble idea. I have not received any criticism yet from anyone other than
please give your website a dark mode (it already has dark mode since the first website). So here are some criticisms that I myself have against this project.
One that comes to mind is its use of language. For the first year of Antares Programming, there has been an internal conflict of whether to use formal Filipino language (because this is an educational site after all) or everyday Filipino language (because this is a more effective way of doing things). It seems easy, you might imagine, to gravitate towards the latter since it is more effective. But I have seen this project not just as an educational material but also a way to preserve the presence of the Filipino language online. However, I realized that this is not the goal of Antares Programming.
You will see that I have transitioned from a very formal, and at times archaic, Filipino that I use when I write literature to an everyday Filipino. I even sometimes use colloquial language to better explain concepts. I also avoided using neologism or those Filipino words that were crafted recently to enrich the language. While I would use these words everywhere when I write, I have now stopped using it in my articles. The reasoning is that very few people use it that at its current state it is as bad as using very technical terms. And I don’t want to introduce that complexity when I could just as easily use English loan words that most people understand.
The future of Antares Programming is very bright. I have been invited to speak in developer conferences because of the exposure this project has given me. And I want to see it grow further.
For the longest time, I wanted to create video tutorials. For most developers, they learn through videos. The lack of funding (I fund Antares Programming with my personal money) is a barrier for this goal, but it is not a very urgent goal so I am taking it slow.
I also want to write a book. There are tons of ebooks out there that discuss web development for beginners, but none are written in Filipino. It would be a great honor to write one of the first, if not the actual first, ebook about web development in Filipino.
These goals are goals I want to accomplish within the next three years, so hopefully you join me in this journey. It has been a fun one, and it will continue to be. As long as there is one person who finds these articles helpful, I will continue writing. Thanks for the almost three years!
Maths, no matter how hard or useless they may be, are taught so our minds can be accustomed to logic. This may not be very apparent early on, but I found studying maths very helpful to me as a developer, even if I’m bad at it. After all, programming is a branch of math. But it’s not only helpful to developers, but to everyone as well, especially in this time when logical and critical thinking is not only useful but sorely needed. ↩︎