Developer Spotlight: Garrett Sibinga

In our latest installment of the Cosmic JS Developer Spotlight Series, we sat down with Garrett Sibinga, a web application designer and developer focusing on HTML, CSS and JavaScript. In addition to designing and writing code, Garrett travels and actually wrote this piece from a cafe on a ferry on the North Sea (pictured below). Check him out on his site Garrett.is or LinkedIn, and enjoy the Q/A.

How long have you been developing software?
I’ve been working in web development since 2013, so four years now. In most industries this isn’t a whole lot of time, but when I think about some of the web technologies that we were excited about in 2013 I can’t believe how outdated they sound. It’s a landscape that is constantly changing, and with the exception of a few things the industry basically rewrites itself every few years.

What drew you to Cosmic JS?
Well, I think it was sort of precisely this thing — the necessity for a certain amount of flexibility in an industry where the only thing that is certain is change. A programming language agnostic CMS seemed like a really appealing idea. I think I’ve always sort of thought of myself as a language agnostic developer. It’s not that I don’t read certain languages better or feel more comfortable writing with the syntax of some languages, but I think as a general approach it is best not to get too attached. That’s why I love the idea of a platform that works with a wide range of languages, where you can use the best languages or libraries depending on the project.

What is your preferred development stack?
I started out programming in Java, learned Python for some courses and projects I took on, picked up some Ruby along the way, and worked with a MAMP stack with WordPress for a while. Even if you fall in love with a language there are no guarantees that it will be widely used in 2 years, or even 2 months. I think you learn to adapt as a developer, and these experiences add to your baseline for learning and understanding new languages. It’s all part of an exercise improving your code literacy in my view. I’m new to Node.js, but I’ve really been enjoying the flexibility and speed that it allows so far, and look forward to seeing where this new adventure leads.

What projects are you most proud of and why?
For development projects, I built a world clock app that used the Flickr API to pull images based on your location. It is part of an art piece which has showed at a couple of museums, and just closed out a show at the Copenhagen Contemporary in Denmark. This was one of my first experiences working with API’s in a JavaScript environment, and I really enjoyed working with external data so I guess in a way it was a precursor to working with Cosmic JS.

How does Cosmic JS improve your process for building software?
Cosmic JS is great for me because it allows me to entirely separate my code from my content. This is a wonderful feature because it really streamlines the process of creating web apps that aren’t tied to one particular instance. I have also really enjoyed using Imgix to serve different sizes of images — being able to add query strings for size to your image url’s straight into your template is awesome and really powerful. It’s a great way to build applications that perform really well at a wide range of screen sizes by serving only the content sizes that you need. The added bonus of integrated version control through GitHub means that you are able to work very quickly to develop clean and concise codebases.

What technologies are you excited about right now?
I’m excited about npm and Node because they are new to me, but really they are exciting because they open up a whole new realm of possibilities with npm’s libraries and frameworks. Most notably among these is React, because of the added speed bonus of being able to develop for multiple platforms at the same time. I’m also looking forward to integrating asynchronous javascript into more of my projects because it’s scary fast.

When Garrett’s not building new apps on the Cosmic JS platform he occasionally updates his website: Garrett.is. If you are interested in connecting you can find him on LinkedIn or hit him up with an email.