My First

sushil chhetri
Feb 26, 2017 · 4 min read

tl;dr

This article is nothing but my first attempt at writing something. In this article I’m just talking about how I started with Front End development and my experience in the early days. I’m planning to write more of technical articles in future.

This is my first article, well technically this is my second. The first article, per se, I wrote was 6 years ago for which I can’t even find the link. The article I wrote back then was kind of forced onto me as one of my colleague, ex-colleague now, wanted someone to write an article on Front End development so that it’d increase the visits to his site.

Well, yes I am a Front End Engg. been doing so, for past 9 years now (can’t believe it has been 9 years already). I started as website developer or UI Engg. (is what they use to call us) in a small company, more like a service based startup, if you will. Nope, this was not my career of choice. I never even imagined I’ll end up as a Front End Engg. let alone having a 9 years of career in the same. Java/.Net were the hot cakes back then and same as others I wanted to pursue my career in back-end as well. But as fate may have it there were not a lot of company keen on hiring a fresher for anything. So this startup gave me the opportunity with a condition of working in the Front End. Well I took the job as I had no other option.

I knew what JavaScript, HTML and CSS was but I never imagined how much potential it had or drastically it’ll evolve over the course of 9 years. I’m gonna be honest it was boring in the beginning. I mean we were given PSD (Photoshop files) had to clip background images, colour of the text, font size, margin, padding etc. on our own. For a guy who had never ever heard about a tool Photoshop it was pretty difficult to get use to in the beginning. But as I worked over and over on similar things I started to get a hang of it. Converting a static image of a website to a working website became easy and it got interesting, reason being you could see the output of your work pretty much instantly. No building required, no third party tool dependencies, you have a notepad and a browser you are good to go. Initially all I did was html and CSS no JavaScript. We were working for UK based clients hence AAA compliance was the major concern what that meant was your life is basically a living hell. If not that then IE 6 was always around the corner to up the bar. Hell, sometimes we had to support IE 5.5 too which is a different beast on it’s own. But it starts to get mundane after a while because day in and day out your are practically doing the same shit with different colours.

I needed more ‘coz I get bored very easily I just lose interest. Then I was introduced to .NET (which I always wanted) but never did really got a chance to work on it as a back-end developer really it was limited to writing asp.net files (basically html’s on the server end with some special syntax in simple terms) I did get to build some controls, once or twice got chance to tweak the api’s that’s it. Same happened with Java, just writing JSP’s, tweaking api’s response nothing major. By then I was introduced to JavaScript very basic, all I learned at that time was to write click handlers and how you could make the elements appear and disappear. Trust me, that was the most interesting thing I learnt in 8 months of my career then.

JavaScript did get me curious though, not that I had never worked on JavaScript before, but I never thought about it. I mean for most, if not every, language to run you need to set something up. But, not JavaScript it was right there ready to be written and so is the output to be seen, no wait no setup needed. You create a file with extension html write a script tag and write JavaScript in it and open the file in a browser and there it is up and running. No need for a new build every time you make a change in the code just refresh the page and you could see the changes reflecting. Not that it was always this interesting though.

The more I started to write JavaScript the more I started to understand that the pain points of different browsers is not just limited to HTML and CSS, it’s there in JavaScript too. Which made it even more interesting because for CSS detecting browers was huge pain in the ass, I mean detecting different versions of Firefox was difficult ‘coz you had to by heart some weird syntax, we did use VBScripts for conditional CSS file includes of different versions of IE but never really paid attention to it but JavaScript got me thinking, it got me curious. Why different implementations for different browsers? What is it that these different browsers are doing different? How can these issue with different browsers be tackled? Has anyone done it before?

These questions made it even more interesting to work with it, sure it had it’s own frustrating moments but still interesting. After which I started reading more about it, tried to understand the what’s and why’s. This gave me a new perspective to how a language should be perceived or studied. Learning the syntax and just knowing the logic of programming is not enough. Understanding the language in which you are going to implement or program is necessary too.

I’m planning to write about the early days problems and how they were tackled and how it has evolved. Until then…

sushil chhetri

Written by

Front End Architect, Aspiring Solution Architect, Open to learning all and every tech/language (call me crazy)

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