Part One

Before you continue reading, if you havn't readt the first part, click here to read it and then comeback to read this.

2003 Was The Year

I joined a design and marketing company called Almohtaraf Alsaudi. This is one of the best designing and publishing companies in the region. You can find more information about it by visiting their website (Which I built few years ago) by clicking here.

I have to admit that I have no idea why they hired me in the first place. I wasn't super programmer at that time. I was just starting to learn more about coding and how web actually works. If I have to take wild guess, I think they thought that I might become an asset to the company since they've already worked with my brother as their lead photographer in the company. He is one of the best photographers in Saudi Arabia. He is now a primary judge in many photography contests. His name is Abdulaziz and you can take a glimpse about some of his work by clicking here. He hasn't updated his profile in a very long time but you'll get an idea about how good is he.

Back to Almohtaraf! So they thought I might be as good as my brother and add more value to their work. They were right and wrong. They were right that I may add something to the company but they were not ready yet to adapt new techy stuff and web solutions to their line of services. The internet wasn't widely used that time and the concept of moving to digital world wasn't in their business calculations. However, I managed to convince them to make some in house local intranet solution to handle their work production process. I've designed and programmed my first real web application as a simple workflow to handle received jobs until they are delivered. The tools I used back then were Dreamweaver as a development tool and LAMP for running the app.

I also need to admit that I had no idea how to write a single PHP function or even reuse a variable. I was using Dreamweaver to write all of my code. 

I had to many workaround to handle table joining because I had no idea how to do that with Dreamweaver because it has too many limitations. It can't read from or write inside more than one table at the time. I look all over the internet to try finding a way to amend the code that Dreamweaver wrote to at least get a last inserted ID so I can use it as a foreign key in another table. I finally solved that when I found there is a function in PHP to get the last inserted ID in MySQL and the next challenge is how to insert it in another table. I don't want to bore you with all these details. I just want you to know how and I decided to learn more and not just get enough with what I already knew.

From that point I decided to give up working on Dreamweaver and learn everything that happens behind the scene to have more power and control over everything I want to build. The boring story above was repeating itself in every obstacle I faced. Things get more complicated and I decide to go deeper and learn more complicated stuff. It happened when I want to setup the development environment or try to upload the code on a server. Every little thing was a mystery to me. Every little line I write and works as it supposed to was a victory.

I need to mention one thing. At that time, there was no YouTube to find courses. There was no online schools to help you learn. There was no new books in our country that are up to date so you can learn easily. There were only some online forums that we use to read, participate and ask if we face any problem. You are so lucky if you get a real answer and it solve the problem you are working on to solve. You are super lucky if the answer has more explanation on how the problem was solved.

2005 I'm Now a developer.

Hmmm, not really! All the knowledge I got and all the information I had were helping me building blocks of codes but I didn't know exactly why and how these blocks of codes actually work. I was able to build a tiny CMS but I had no idea if it was strong enough against security attacks. All I knew is that people suggested few things to consider while making your app and few lines you add to secure requests but I actually had no idea why and how they work. So that was the ignition behind learning more about security and how to protect my apps ageist attacks. This website was one of the best resources regarding securing your PHP app. Sadly it has not been updated since probably 10 years ago. This web forums was one of the best resources I was using daily to read and learn more about PHP and security as well. It is still active and has updated topics and discussions. This is my first question I asked in this forums and it was in Feb 2006. I had no one to guide me, help me, or mentor me. I had only passion and the few resources available that time.

When I was more confident about the level of knowledge I had and the coding skills I learned, I started to improve the CMS I built and make it more dynamic that the first one. I also gave it the name "Kalimah" (Means "word" in English). I wasn't aware of Wordpress at that time when I picked the name "Kalimah". I knew about Wordpress in later years. The idea behind "Kalmiah" is to have my own tools to use when building projects as a freelancer or for the company I used to work for. Having your own tools give you an advantage of manipulating everything to deliver websites exactly like how the client wants to be. It also harder for any hacker to attack since the source is not open. I've yet to adapt the concept of code sharing at that time because of being in a less community wise environment and lacking the knowledge of how powerful sharing is.

2007 and The Birth of My Dream

I used "Kalimah" in some of the biggest projects I worked on. I used it to build a website for Suzuki Saudi Arabia. A retailer of Suzuki cars in Saudi Arabia. It was up and running from 2006 until probably 2011 when the company decided to rebuild their website and unfortunately I could not win the new contract. It was the first CMS for Alqafilah magazine in 2008. Alqafilah is the cultural magazine for Saudi Aramco Oil company. The contract was moved to another company in 2010. They decided to change it to Worpress instead. The contract was moved again to the company I used to work on. It's running using Wordpress ever since.

2012 and The Dream Is Happening

I quite my job and started my own small company. I called it "Manzilak". The idea behind the name was to create your digital house in the this huge village we call the internet. One of my main goals is to come up with something new in the digital world by improving "Kalimah" in a unique way to provide and fill the gap in the digital publishing industry. I have the vision and all the steps needed to accomplish what I was dreaming about. The major obstacle that was holding me back is finding the team who can make this dream theirs as well and build a unique system to possibly change the game in digital publishing. I found just few who are willing to help but they can't give me more than one or two hours of their free time. I also didn't have the financial support to hire top level programmers to accomplish this dream. The only way I could have do it is by doing everything myself. It's not the proper way to do a huge project like that but I was hoping to at least build a prototype to attract anyone to invest in such project.

What I did is to dedicate a whole year to make this idea sees the light. I started researching, reading, learning new language and technologies. I learned a lot about digital publishing. I learned more about APIs and creating them using PHP and MySQL. I learned about security and encryption. I came up with a silly way to encrypt a secret key every minutes to secure the connectivity between the server and any other app using it. I learned Swift language and how to create app using xCode. By the end of the year, I was able to create the first prototype of the idea. I recorded a video explaining how it works and what's the value of creating such a tool. I sent the video to few people to give me a feedback. I sent it to a close friend hoping he might invest in such project or at least help me finding a new investor. I did everything I can to make this a success. The result of all that was a complete failure. Some people showed an interest in the beginning but I never heard back from any of them. Some have tried to change the whole idea to another one that interest them the most. I personally don't blame any of them. I only blame myself for being too exciting about something that I failed to explain or failed to emphasize its features.

I don't easily quite. I had to come up with a way to achieve what I was and still dreaming to accomplish. I wanted to change the core concept of the project and deliver it in a different shape. I wanted to build the idea in smaller steps and divide the solution in different parts. I then decided to come up with Xbort engine to handle the backend processing as an API service. This API can be used as a stand alone service to be used in any kind of development. "Kalimah" engine for digital publishing is using "Xbort" service to deliver fast, secure and easy content.

I'll write more about "Xbort" and "Kalimah" in another post. For now, you can read more about Xbort, the engine that is powering this website.