Johnny Boufarhat

London, United Kingdom
Founder @hopinofficial. Previously Readory & Multiplex.

Who are you? Where are you from and what is your backstory?

I was born and raised in Australia but have constantly moved around from a young age, I’ve now found myself happy and settled in London for the last two years. I am consumed by functional health and the microbiome after being diagnosed with an ‘incurable’ illness which I was able to treat and cure naturally - and that’s probably what has motivated and shaped me the most up until now.

What made you get into programming?

I wasn’t always into programming I always just liked to make things on the pc, from a young age I experimented with Photoshop/illustrator, Natural-Motion Endorphin, AfterEffects, and 3DMax. It wasn’t until I started playing a game called Garry’s Mod in my school years that I gained any interest into learning how to program.

Although I was studying Mechanical engineering, my real traction in coding came when I wanted to create a product for students to get discounts through a (social sharing) app. After selling the app for students whilst in uni, I continued my interest in code mainly by cloning projects for fun to see how difficult it was to replicate the world’s most popular websites/apps.

What made you create Hopiin?

Hopiin was an idea that came to fruition after noticing how in the digital-age so many of us lack ‘genuine’ connection even though we are part of many slack/digital communities and have many digital connections. I realised that nothing replicates face-to-face interaction and in the remote, digital world an online alternative to the event networking/meetup space would be really beneficial.

What does your process for learning to code look like?

I’m sure the majority of others who learned to code would say the same thing, jump straight in. Think about it like how you would anything else, if someone was to ask you how to learn to cook you would probably say something like:

Read a recipe and then follow it, and do the same with other recipes until you naturally understand why the recipes do some of the things they do -- then you’ll be able to start making your own flavourful variations or creations.

The same goes for programming, read a tutorial, follow it a few times, do a few others and eventually you’ll be able to put things together yourself. Also stack overflow, lots and lots of stack overflow.

What does your process for building apps look like?

I am a terrible example to follow, I usually just dive straight in thinking about what the project will need as it goes -- and thus I don’t write great code the first time, it usually needs to be refactored numerous times. It’s both good and a bad thing as I know many great programmers that will get stuck in the planning phase thinking about problems that will arise in the code later on and not starting the project, as a lot of the times solutions come up naturally along the way. On the flip side, at least they don’t waste as many hours reiterating, refactoring, or bug-fixing.

Do you face any particular challenges when building over a period of time?

Yes, absolutely. Motivation, as I’m not someone who loves programming (and all its intricacies and beauties) rather - I love the act of creating something, it can be really difficult for me to stay motivated to learn something that potentially slows down development time *cough, testing*. The problem I find now is that since Hopiin is getting larger and more intricate, not wanting to learn how to test or implement tests is causing many problems when adding new features.

Are you currently learning anything new?

As mentioned above, I am considering learning testing, also taking a deeper dive into React and VueJS.

Advice for those learning to code?

Don’t stop Believin’.

Seriously though, especially for those who are new I would say to keep your vision and goal in mind and continually remind yourself that most coders don’t know what they are doing and rely on a small percentage that do and share (through stack overflow, tutorials, libraries etc). Start with tutorials and move up, maybe go through one udemy course and then start cloning apps through tutorials.

For those on the journey looking for mentoring, there are many groups out there through freecodecamp, meetup etcetera where you can learn to code with others. An expensive option is codementor.

What’s your tech stack?

I usually just try to push something out as quick as possible -- which tends to lead me to the following stack, however it depends on the project:

- Ruby on Rails

- PostGres

- Heroku

- JQuery

- Stripe

- Amazon s3

- Rollbar

- Sendgrid

- New Relic

- Google Analytics

What have been influential books, resources and links that have helped you?

In regards to learning how to code:

- Stackoverflow, did I mention stack overflow?

- Codementor and scotch.io are two underrated places to find great tutorials and blogs posts, and railscasts & gorails are awesome resources for rails developers.

- Udemy is great too, especially if you buy on sale (which is pretty much all the time, 90% sale…)

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

Hopiin is going to launch soon, take a look and sign up to get an update when we launch. We’ll be hosting some exciting online events for the tech community very soon.

Anyone who wants to host their own meetups or networking events online, Hopiin is a great way to do that.

If you are interested in health, the microbiome or tech feel free to follow me on twitter.

Also my DM’s are open for anything related to hopiin, you can also reach out to me via e-mail here

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