Oleg Solomka

Oleg Solomka

Intro / Career

I never wanted to be a developer. I chose computer science because computers are cool, right? Looking back in time I now understand it was some kind of destiny - my father and grandfather are engineers and do programming. My ancestries on the other branch are poets and painters. Apparently these two facts made me to choose a front-end engineering career as my life path.

Sometimes I feel like I'm on a three-way bridge between programmers, designers and users because I have to query databases and also do visual design work on my daily job route. Essentially, you take a really complicated stack of technologies, hide it under a nice and obvious curtain of visual design and then give it to the end user to use. In fact, you are the main user during the production process and you are responsive for the experience the target user will get.

Workflow / Tools

My workflow hardware consists of a macbook pro + apple 27" screen. Sometimes when I don't have enough working space (e.g. while travelling) I connect an iPad mini thru duet to have one more mobile screen. I also have a Wacom tablet if I need to draw something by hand which doubles as a handy little device lab to test results of my work.

Software set and services I use include:

Tricks / Tips

One of the most essential tricks for time saving is early planning. Developers tend to jump to code too early - just right after the idea stage. But the truth is - only a good plan can save you from being bogged down into the muddy waters of tweaks, hacks and code redos.

Starting your project in a visual editor or even in your notebook may seem like an overhead at first, but in reality it will not only save you lots of time but also straighten the result of your work. You can't get decent results just playing with your code in a text file, you have to envision and see with your eyes the rough result you will get before start. The outcome of the common "we will do the desktop website and then just tweak it for smaller screens" scenario never plays well, you will end up with a clunky mobile experience.

Early planning also means to make occasional small experiments to find the best fit for the effect that you / your designers have in mind. What technology to use? Will SVG/Pure, CSS/WebGL be best here? How will browsers handle this? Will mobiles render it easily or can we optimise the experience for them? Asking these questions with concurrent experiments will adjust your plans to the real world of web early - this is crucial in keeping up the quality of your work and avoid missing deadlines.

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