I hope you’re using React and I’ll be even more excited if you are using Redux for control flow. Since React was released in 2014 I had an intuitive affinity for the framework. The principles of immutable data and unidirectional communication are core to functional programming, and that’s something that I know a lot about.
Back in the early aughts I built some large projects in Haskell, which is a very academic, very functional language. Imagine my delight all these years later as the mainstream begins to learn what the nerds have been preaching for the last 20 years.
I want to introduce you to Scotty Weeks, a former Gin Lane senior developer who helped us architect and build Sweetgreen, Reformation and some of our most complex builds of the last 5 years. He’s super talented, smart, senior and all around unique individual.
My first project consulting with Gin Lane was to build out an ecommerce solution for The Reformation. This website might be the very first ecom React JS front end to hit production. It was launched in the spring of 2014. I led both the front end and the server side development. This included an in depth customization of the Spree ecommerce platform.
The Sweetgreen ordering application was a sweeping project which consisted of the following components:
- An Ember application for front end ordering
- A Rails API server to the back end ordering, payment, and loyalty programs
- A Rails CMS
The project was developed at Gin Lane where I took lead on the architecture and development. We took great pains to keep tight iteration cycles with the design and product teams, ensuring that each team’s vision of the project did not diverge.
The application was launched on time and to the great delight of both the client and the users.
WebMD Video Player
WebMD and its professional arm, Medscape, had been trying to build out a new video player for their education department for years. The old codebase consisted of several different video players and had a tremendous amount of legacy code that made the task difficult, verging on impossible. The goal was to consolidate everything into one simple video library that all parts of the business could use.
I came in to consult, introducing React.js and Redux as a nice way to juggle all of the many demands on the video player while keeping it modular enough to use nearly anywhere. Key points:
- Introducing React.js to the team at WebMD demanded a fair bit of consultomancy, juggling the usefulness of new technology while introducing it in a way that did not disrupt the vital workflows of the team.
- Architected a component-based player that could be endlessly configured, replacing the old “ball of yarn” style collection of ad hoc video libraries.
- Mentored developers, helping them to get up to speed with a new stack and left them with the skills to maintain it.
- Communicated with the various departments to coordinate integration with enormous back end systems.
The project ended up being a resounding success and greatly simplified the codebase allowing WebMD to free up resources for other projects.