The Code of Creativity

Writing code, mapping the back-end of websites and grappling with content management systems (CMS) may seem like dark arts, but web development is actually all about being creative.

The Being Group’s Senior Web Developer, Adam Tengku, shares his personal insights into what, for most of us, is the mystifying world of web development.

The path to a solution

A web developer needs to have a problem-solving mind to find a digital solution to an end-to-end project. When I start on a big job, first I map a journey path from start to finish in my head. Using tried and true methodologies will produce a consistent and predictable outcome.

However, not all projects are the same. More complex solutions require breaking a project down into smaller elements and dealing with these individually. Personally, I take great satisfaction in the process of completing these tasks and seeing them come together as a final product.

Keeping up

One of the most challenging parts of the job is keeping up with the pace of change in technology. If you don’t get involved, you do get left behind.

At the moment, we work mainly with open-source software, in particular the Drupal CMS. Open-source can be collaborative or personal. For a developer, it’s all about innovation through collaboration. One valuable tool for me is attending Sydney Drupal Users Group gatherings, which use the social media gathering platform, Meetup, to get together with other developers, exchange ideas and stay across the latest trends. Leveraging each other’s time and creativity will always uncover new ways to extend the technology.

It’s also important to keep up with your professional reading, which means trawling the web to review the latest developments.

Personal projects

I believe every honest developer will have their own “pet projects” and I am no different. Not every interesting code solution, be it front-end or back-end, will ever get the chance to be used in a client project. Having these personal “pet projects” is just another means of staying creatively fresh and ahead of the trend curve.

Coding for fun can be relaxing and enjoyable, like watching TV. It allows me to be proactive and suggest these solutions in a professional environment, when the opportunity finally presents itself.

Latest trends

At the moment, the look and feel of a website – the front-end – is still strongly dictated by the CMS
you’re using – the back-end. One of the latest developments is using a new JavaScript (a programming language) framework, React JS, to uncouple the front-end from the back-end.

It gives you more freedom to make exactly the kind of optimised product you want, that best fits the client’s needs. It also speeds up content delivery and gets rid of the unnecessary markup code we love to hate, that comes with themed CMS.

This is a great example of how being able to write your own code ultimately allows you more creativity.

Fun projects

One of the most recent projects that I enjoyed working on at The Being Group was developing an e-learning program for the waste management solutions company, Cleanaway. I’m a father of a 10-year-old and it was great to see the project, which was designed to teach children about how to sort rubbish into the correct bins using fun animations, come to life. It was seamless, had a lot of moving parts and ultimately delivered a meaningful message in a powerful way.

That’s what gives me genuine satisfaction in this job. In the end, successful projects keep clients coming back and give new clients faith we can deliver a smart solution to their website problems.

When Adam isn’t designing websites, he is playing tennis, coaching tennis, watching tennis, enjoying being a parent, and playing with his cat, Mittens.

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