5 Questions with a Front End Web Developer

By xDesign

15 Sep 2020

We recently sat down with our front end developer, Alex Newhouse, to talk about the tech stack we use when building websites for our clients.

Alex talks about why he loves React, his focus on innovation and what he’s looking forward to in the future.

What tech stack do you use?

We use React across the board for all of our new projects. We’ve recently switched from Vue, which is another Javascript framework and we made that switch at the start of 2019 so we still have a couple of older projects that we maintain.

We use React with TypeScript to build everything out and then we pair that with Cypress to do our end-to-end testing.

Recently, we actually started using AWS Amplify to host development servers for our Quality Assurance to test one. Amplify also gives our clients easier access to their staging servers, which is always good.

Why do we use React?

We use React for a couple of reasons: a lot of our clients are shifting to React based development and it’s great for scalable, long term, projects as well as smaller ones (like prototypes, for example).

React also focuses on the use of components and the reusability of code, so in theory it should be less for the client to maintain once they take the project over (if they choose to do that).

One of the things I really like about React is that it focuses on reusability because if I’m building a site from the ground up, it forces me to think about how I can break it down into logical sections to get the most out of that code.

What’s your main takeaway from learning React?

My main takeaway from learning React is the concept of hooks. They let you use state and other React features without the need for writing a full class. This results in a lot less boilerplate and also allows for stateful logic to be reused throughout the project in the form of custom hooks.

What does reusability mean for our clients?

It helps to build a base of innovation. When we have those base components we don’t have to recreate them for every build, so it lets us think about how we can constantly improve and refactor them.

When I’m looking at a project, I’m able to think about how I can make existing components better and that helps build a culture of innovation across our development team. We’re always looking at how we can improve.

It also gives our QA confidence knowing that once they test a component once, they can be sure it’ll work the exact same way everywhere they see it in the project.

What Innovations are you looking forward to?

There has been some talk fairly recently about offline support for apps and websites. So in that case, you build a PWA using Service Workers and then the website would essentially function offline on your mobile or desktop.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how that develops and what happens there.

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