About

Hey there, thanks for stopping by.
I'm Bram Roelandts.

I'm a 21-year-old developer from Belgium. As a student, it isn't always easy to combine my passion, development, with school work. Finding a good balance between classes and programming during the school year while going hardcore on coding during vacations is kinda the story of my life.

The story begins

So, I got this fancy Dell laptop from my mom's company. When I was eight. A 1.1Ghz Pentium, 256MB of RAM, 20GB hard drive and Windows 2000 -- yeah, this thing was a beast! She hadn't deleted all her files and software that were filling up the 20GB hard drive, so I started messing around with the drive, accidentally deleting a lot of required system files. This was the first time I formatted a drive and reinstalled an OS! I got really excited about what I had accomplished, so I started fooling around with the whole system. From screwing the machine up so many times, I learned quite a lot!

Getting my feet wet

Fast forward a couple of years. I'm a Mac user now. I'm twelve and I'm the guy everyone needs when something’s gone wrong with their PowerPoint presentation. I learned to work in the Command Prompt and Terminal and got into Linux distros. I also did some primitive MS Visual Basic development back then. I sincerely thought MS VB was the real deal, but now it's pretty amusing to look back at the primitive documentation I wrote for it.

...and then came Swift

Picture two years later: I'm really into Apple now and I follow every product release. I read the website MacRumors.com daily, and on July 30th, 2015, I read about a Udemy Course from Rob Percival, “The Complete iOS 9 Developer Course”. I was like, “Yeah, why not just try?”. I started the course and immediately fell in love with coding. Rob gave me a good understanding of the basic programming concept and taught me some pretty advanced stuff, too.

The journey began

In November of that same year, after I finished the course, I started looking for work. I chose Freelancer.com to search for projects so I could get some reviews. It was difficult, but I managed to get a few things going. I started out by writing some small apps about Physics and about Swiss and German law. I quickly realized that developing pure iOS apps isn't what I love to do. I'm not a graphic designer or a user experience engineer, I'm a programmer. I like to write code, not to bother with the user experience per se.

Getting into some real stuff

Swift is a language I love. The syntax is clean and the language is powerful. That's what led me to focus on a different type of development: writing apps that work with Linux systems, to control my lights over the MQTT protocol, to control KNX installations, and more. Coding for this type of app isn’t primarily for the graphic interface. Most of the work is invisible to the user and only a small part of the code is related to what the user sees. However, it’s a whole different story for apps such as JustiziaCH, which was mostly about writing a proper graphic interface. Getting into this type of app also got me into coding C on Linux machines, coding C++/Lua on NodeMCU's and learning more about network protocols like MQTT and KNX.

IoT? Hell yeah!

2017 went beyond all my expectations. I got to meet people with a lot of experience in the IoT world and they introduced me to some very exciting stuff! We started working on an app called SimplySmart, for controlling your house from your iPhone. I mainly work on the iOS side, but also did some Node.js for the backend and even started writing a protocol stack in Lua on our embedded gateway. It's absolutely amazing to learn from the best when you're only 16 years old. Along with this new application, I learned a lot about new technologies and even went to Geneva to get some hands-on experience with a massive KNX installation, the smart home protocol we plan to support initially. Learn more about this project and follow along with its development at simplysmart.io.

2018.

2018 is turning out to be quite interesting! It was off to a great start in January when I met the CTO of the KNX Association and actually presented SimplySmart to him. A few months later, at Light and Building, the biggest KNX fair in the world, we confirmed from looking at our competition that we’re on the right path. In June I went to WWDC, a conference in San Jose, California, hosted by Apple for its developers. A regular ticket is about $1600, but every year Apple gives out 350 scholarships to students worldwide, and I was awarded one of them! I met some very interesting people at WWDC, snapped a picture with CEO Tim Cook, talked to Apple engineers, and most important of all, finally met other people my age who are as passionate about tech as I am. I presented my paper on what sets SimplySmart apart from the competition at the KNX Scientific Conference 2018 in Vienna and won top honors.

Class of 2024

2019 has been a year with lots of exciting stuff. Around September, however, my technical journey will somewhat come to a halt. I am off to college for a Master of Science in Engineering (burgerlijk ingenieur) at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven). If all goes well, I will be graduating in the class of 2024. You will still find me fiddling with electronics and software during summers, but most projects will be on ice during the academic year.