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Westbrook Johnson
Westbrook Johnson

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Things We did for the First Time in 2019...

Hi, I'm Westbrook and I'm a front-end engineer.


I've been doing this CSS/HTML/JS thing for more than 12 years now, and I'm always amazed by all of the interesting technologies that come and go in our industry. Some things have been with us forever, others have just joined the party but seem destined to be with us for a while, and many more enter and leave the picture as fast as you can turn your head to learn what they are. Often this only really comes clear to me by way of trending topics on Twitter or the blogosphere. Particularly, in the way that my career has worked out, my work with the web fits into a couple of neat little epochs: 3 or 4 years of predominately CSS/HTML development, 3 or 4 years of working with jQuery/Backbone.js derivatives, and 5 or 6 years of building component/design systems and applications with web components. However, this year was a little different. While working to discover the right team with which to continue to develop my career, I ended up changing jobs twice, and across those three different teams, I encountered a lot of things that might not be new to the world of front-end engineering but were certainly new to me.

While reviewing them for myself, I was surprised how many things I had seen in the community for years but only just this year ended up working with myself. In that it surprised me, I thought it might surprise or be of interest to others, especially those of us that find it hard to keep up with all of the great concepts and technologies that are consistently making their way around the front-end engineering community. This will also be a good chance for me to hear what some of the rest of your might have done for the first time this year in your work as well! I'm sure there be lots of things I find there that end up being firsts for me in 2020...

I'll get started in no particular order here, you share yours in the comments below!

  • worked at three different companies
  • had a job interview in San Francisco
  • published on
  • handed over management of an entire product in just 2 weeks
  • realized that no amount of documentation is enough
  • worked full-time with teammates in other countries
  • worked in an office that wasn't the "main" location of my team
  • built a mono-repo with Lerna
  • developed React for production
  • shipped an application built with webpack
  • wrote Jest tests
  • shipped CSS Grid-based UIs to production
  • managed state with Redux
  • joined an open-source project as a maintainer
  • published packages to public and private NPM registries
  • worked with a mono-repo built with Rush
  • used Artifactory
  • managed state with finite state machines
  • used StackBlitz
  • used
  • developed in Vue.js
  • open-sourced work I'd done for my company

There's likely more that I've missed, but this is already a pretty long list of firsts! I'm going to take it as a good sign that no matter how experienced we become in our fields that there's always value in keeping an open mind and experimenting with new and different techniques...

What's your list look like?

Top comments (4)

dhruvins profile image

2019 too was an eventful year for me. Below is what I did during 2019

  • Updated my JS skills a bit and learned ES6.
  • Released a Shopify App with Node.js-Vue.js stack.
  • I started focussing more on Business aspects and strategy planning.
  • Was a part of Panel Discussion at a conference.
  • Did a WPCS audit of all my WordPress plugins and made necessary changes.
  • Released a new plugin for WordPress.
  • Joined (just joined, haven't been able to publish anything yet :p)
  • Created my personal site.
  • Traveled a lot and explored many new places.
  • Met a lot of people whom had just interacted over emails or on Twitter.
westbrook profile image
Westbrook Johnson

Congrats @Dhruvin, quite a good year indeed. Looking forward to 2020 being the year on your first post!

hyperpress profile image
John Teague

TypeScript - Started learning it in January of 2019. Then shelved it in April. Then resumed it in December.

Used Redux for PWA LitElement state management.

westbrook profile image
Westbrook Johnson

Oooooh, I knew there’d be things I missed... Typescript! Not sure if this is a sign that I’m finally getting it and it doesn’t feel all that new or exciting any more, or a sign that I still hate it and would rather not think about it, ever.

Maybe both?

I know you had some non-tech stuff come up that we’d all like to see in stay in last year. Best wishes on everything in 2020, John.