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Web Developer Here...

Since my introduction to the internet in 1993 by a school friend I was hooked.

I guess my curiosity since childhood with trying to understand what made things work by taking them apart is what lead me on my journey to becoming a self-taught web developer.

In 2003 the opportunity presented itself for me to start my own company, Black Alsatian, as a freelance graphic and web designer.

At this present day Black Alsatian now consists of a small team of 3 people. Together we specialise in both web development and online marketing.

Intro & Experience

In 2004, after realising my HTML and CSS skills would not be enough to develop large scale applications, I started studying PHP and MySQL and also learnt about the hosting environments to run these applications. My skills in Linux, running an Apache, PHP and MySQL environment could be considered at an intermediate level. Over the years my main focus has been on working with open source PHP frameworks like, primarily WordPress and Joomla CMSs.

In trying to keep up with the fast pace at which the web environment keeps evolving, I have in recent years shifted focus to building custom full stack applications. My speciality right now is building Progressive Web Apps in JavaScript, custom online administration systems (mostly PHP and MySQL mixed with JavaScript) and APIs (PHP and I've had some experience with NodeJS).

Most recently I have developed a few “headless WordPress” sites for managing content with decoupled Progressive Web Apps for frontend responsibilities and custom administration systems for managing and processing user data input.

Professional Skills

Toolset

  • Visual Studio Code (IDE)
  • Node/NPM for frontend development
  • Composer, Apache, PHP and MySQL for backend development
  • Git for version control

Backend Development Skillset

  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • Laravel (an enterprise PHP framework)
  • Livewire for Laravel UI/UX
  • I have tinkered with NodeJS, but am not yet fluent
  • WordPress as a “headless” CMS solution
  • REST API
  • GraphQL
  • I have some experience with Redis and MongoDB, but not much
  • I've dabbled with Docker and Kubernetes, but still have lots to learn

Frontend Development Skillset

  • JavaScript (naturally..)
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • TailwindCSS, Bootstrap, Bulma are all CSS frameworks I have worked with
  • I know ReactJS quite well
  • GatsbyJS and NextJS (both ReactJS frameworks I use to build Progressive Web Apps)
  • For frontend UI I have worked with SASS, CSS-in-JS, Styled Components, Emotion and CSS Modules.

Business Skills

I am a problem solver. Most of my career I have had to learn new skills on the fly, as the job requires. I see learning as a part of my job.

In the years prior to me starting my own business, I worked as a project manager and graphic designer at a very busy sign writing company (Brightsparx Sign Co.). The skills and experience I picked up enabled me to be able to run my own business and manage a team of freelancers, as many projects often required me to outsource various parts of a project.

SEO, SEM & Digital Marketing

It is my opinion that you cannot call yourself a proper web developer without these skills as part of your foundation.

You can have the most advanced programming skills and build the most beautiful websites, but if your main focus is not on constantly optimising for the purpose of being found out there on the vast net, you're just wasting your time.

I have a solid understanding with nearly two decades of experience in Search Engine Optimisation, PPC advertising (Google Ads and Facebook Ads).