Web Development

From front end developer to super developer

Sam Bowler
Sam Bowler

The front-end team here at Ridgeway has always worked closely with the back-end team to ensure the best possible results from a project by using our range of development skills.

When we were given the project of building a new storytelling brand site for AB Agri, it was a great opportunity for us front-enders to get creative, exercise our integration skills, and examine just how far we could push the Kentico solution.

Sam working at a computer

Our traditional approach

As well as being in charge of creating the HTML, CSS, and JS for project, our front-end team sets up a Pattern Library at the start of each project, where we build a static version of the website designs. Once we’ve finished writing the mark-up for a specific component, this then gets passed over to the back-end team, who will integrate it into the CMS. This will then come back around to the front-end team who will ensure it’s working perfectly.

A new way of working

A new approach was adopted for the AB Agri site development – another front-end developer and I took on the responsibility of integration (don’t worry, we were fully trained!), as well as all our usual code creation tasks. This way, we were given greater independence for the build to create some great work using Kentico’s out-of-the-box features and Ridgeway’s base solution (a collection of reusable components that we commonly use, e.g. navigation, breadcrumb, hero, etc).

Taking charge of integration

We had a clear plan when we started development – the developer building the front end for a particular page or component would also do the corresponding integration. The theory behind this was that the creator would know how it worked best, ensuring a rigorous check that sped up the process to ensure that our client’s deadline could be met comfortably and issue-free. As we expected, it turned out great!

What we like to call the ‘sprinkles'

The sprinkles refer to those extra little touches that make a project even better.

I’m sure the reason why we call this part the sprinkles has something to do everyone’s obsession with cake here at Ridgeway. The sprinkles refer to those extra little touches that make a project even better. Having successfully met our deadline - getting all development work done and live within three weeks – everyone was happy. 

This meant we then had some time for our team members to explore the site and make a list of opportunities – or sprinkles - that could be added to create an engaging user interface, full of fun touches and animations that add life to AB Agri’s story. For one example, if you take a look at the AB Agri homepage, you’ll notice there’s a green background whilst the page loads, followed by the video starting to play, followed by the text. The animation is subtle, but creates an engaging experience whilst simultaneously giving the page time to load.

All of the sprinkles we’ve added across the site have only been met with a positive response, and the team can’t wait to crack on with adding sprinkles to future projects.

The outcome

I think everyone would agree this project has been a huge success. With this new approach, we had no integration issues and development was extremely efficient whilst adding creative opportunities.

Moving forward, I expect we’ll see more and more projects where the front-end team are involved in integration – the only downside is that we can’t blame the back-end team any more!