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Six Month Review

In November of last year, I took a job at Unboxed Consulting. It's been quite a change, and six months seems like a good period of time to review what I've done and learned since then.


Having previously worked only with PHP, and almost exclusively with WordPress Themes and Plugins, moving to Ruby on Rails was a big challenge. Ruby is a delight to work with. Although I'm a Front End developer, I've picked up enough to be able to read and understand it, and to write bits of my own when necessary. Rails is an amazing framework, and feels very intuitive. A guess about how to do something, or where to find it, is often correct.

Working on bigger projects has meant I've been able to flexing my HTML, CSS, and JS muscles in different directions. I've also been using new tools like Jasmine, which leads me nicely onto the next section.


I've really enjoyed my introduction to Test Driven Development (TDD). Although it was a bit of a mind bend at first (and, truth be told, sometimes still is), I'm completely sold on it as a way of making software. I've been using Jasmine for testing Javascript and RSpec with Capybara for the rest. Combining TDD with Pair Programming, specifically ping pong style, makes me very happy. It's a fun and challenging way of writing code.

As you might have guessed (or known), Unboxed is an Agile shop. Although it felt like a good fit, it took me a while to feel comfortable with how things work. It's nearly ten years ago that I worked as part of a team on a daily basis, and that was in a large financial institution, doing spreadsheet-related things. The processes there were quite rigid and controlled, and not very exciting. I much prefer the Agile way!


Working for a company has also afforded me other opportunities that would have more difficult, or not possible, otherwise.