Backstage access into the life of a developer
Did you know there are over 1.5 billion websites in the world❶? This figure does take into account active and inactive websites, but it is interesting to think about the people behind the scenes, who created and continue to create such powerful and life changing tools around the world.
Here at Lab, we're an award-winning neuromarketing-influenced web development company. We do have a secret sauce but in case you have ever wondered what life as a web developer looks like, we asked Kirk Daniels, Lab’s very own coffee aficionado and Lead Front End Developer to give us some first-hand insights into this world.
1. What is the first thing you do when you arrive at Lab HQ in South Africa?
I head straight over to the coffee machine and get a pot going for the guys to start the morning buzz. I then set up my pc, catch up on Slack conversations of the current projects I’m involved in and also have a sneak peek on the fantasy football channel where the competition is tight! I then dive into the tasks that have been planned into my day.
2. At Lab we work with a range of platforms and I know you were recently involved on a Drupal build. What is it like working with Drupal in comparison to other platforms?
Drupal is a PHP platform, it’s powerful, very customisable and able to do pretty much anything. If you dream it, we can build it. It’s so highly customisable, it can be a bit tricky working with it because you need to be alert to avoid creating unnecessary complexities.
Platforms like Wordpress, Sitecore and Umbraco are “easier” to do frontend work for because their code is cleaner.
Although with our latest approach, using decoupled Drupal 8, we have total control of the frontend code, making it extremely easy to work with. That being said, our amazing frontend team is well versed across all our platforms.
3. How do you keep track of the latest technology/techniques?
My inbox is packed with newsletter subscriptions and I particularly like Smashing magazine, it’s one I check every week to catch up on the latest ideas and trends. Contrary to what some people may think, development is also about collaborative work and for this I like to check out Codedrops which is a community where other developers share their work.
To the naked eye it could just look like a random bit of code but when you see it come alive you get cool animations and interactions. We have a big focus on user experiences here at Lab, creating excellent experiences across a fragmented environment - that being devices that have different technologies - and you want to create a certain experience across those platforms, and looking at what other people are doing is still important to stay relevant and in touch with the best and worse practices.
4. What is the best thing about being a Front End (FE) developer?
I enjoy making things and building things, you see the fruits of your labour as you go along. An FE can build things that will make other people’s lives easier and add a little happiness because life is too short to browse sh!t websites. My big push for our FE team is into the realm of UI development, of course we have designs to follow, that’s what our work is based on but it’s not just about getting in the zone and recreating designs that are pixel perfect. It’s important to be user focused and have a collaborative process where discussions can be had if improvements can be made.
5. What is your go to life hack to get you in the zone?
MUSIC! I love a range of genres, but to get into the zone, I drop some drum and base or more current R&Bass!! and Mixmag Live! Volume 3 featuring LTJ Bukem is the go to when I mean business! Also, Timeless by Goldie.
At the end of our chat with Kirk we asked him if he had any wise words for aspiring FE developers out there and he left us with the following:
❷ Our awesome Lead Back End Developer
- Here are some insights into one of the most mysterious lifestyles out there...