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The Development Team Review of 2015

The development team had an incredible year in 2015. We made great impact on our clients with the release of Click and Collect for Selco , a responsive rebuild for Sunspel and Swoon Editions. Internally we added two new members to the team with Anthony and Claudio joining our new Junior training program. We’ve seen huge progress in our internal processes with improvements in our code reviews, release process, composer setup and JH Magento Statics Merger.

What was your favourite JH project of 2015 and why?

Aydin: Esendex was one of the most challenging projects of the year. We got to design and write a complicated Magento module which communicates with a third party SMS API. With a focus on open-source it was built with a view point to extension. We wrote unit tests, build scripts and had a through code review and QA process.

John: Selco Click and Collect has been the highlight project of the year for me. We designed and wrote  complex systems to provide the high level of service Selco wanted to offer their customers . The most challenging and enjoyable aspect of the project was integrating with Selco’s ERP using API integrations, queue and log/alert systems to ensure nothing happened on the system without the relevant parties being notified.

Diego: My favourite project of 2015 was Swoon Editions. I enjoyed using SCRUM methodology and working to two week sprints on a fast paced project. We finished a great deal of work in each sprint, not to mention I found the features we were developing to be very interesting.

What was your most valuable lesson learnt in 2015?

John: The importance of preparation and specification. Aim to answer all the hard questions before starting a task to avoid having to refactor your code at the last minute and risk reducing the quality of your solution.

Ben: The chances are, if you are working on complex functionality, you can break it down into more manageable sections, which are easier to understand and are able to come up with a better solution. Don’t get stressed with a big challenge, take a step back and break it down.

Aydin: After taking a sabbatical to travel Europe for 3 months I learnt how important it is to enjoy real life more and travel, take more risks and not just spend my life sat as a computer. A more balanced life improves the quality of your work and makes you a happier person.

What became your favourite open source project/GitHub repo of 2015 and why?

Anthony: PHP 7, its nice to finally see a decent release of PHP with far superior performance gains than from 5.x versions. Even if you take out all the new features this alone is a huge plus for developers and helps close the performance gap to HHVM.

Ben:  Composer. This has completely changed the working practises at JH, it’s hard to imagine life without it.

Richard: Magento 2 became my favourite GitHub repo, it was interesting to see the development progress of Magento 2 and how it was doing things differently to Magento 1. It also became the first open source project that I’ve contributed to.

What was the best book/article your read during 2015?

Diego: The best book related with our industry I read during 2015 was “Scrum: the art of doing twice the work in half the time” by Jeff Sutherland. It teaches how to work faster and better, while at the same time,  saving you time. I thought it was an interesting book and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to improve the way they work.

Richard: Anthony Ferrara’s post on API design was the best article I read in 2015. A good brief blog post on where developers tend to fall down when designing APIs.

Leo: One of the best books I read in 2015 was The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers by Robert C. Martin. It was release in 2011 but is still very relevant 4 years on.

What will be the development game changer in 2016?

Leo: I’m really excited about the new challenges and projects Magento 2 is going to bring. It’s great to see the architecture progress so much from Magento 1 using concepts and patterns that are more akin to modern open source projects.

Michael: PHP 7 is going to be the long awaited game changer of 2016. I’ve been following the PHP Internals and RFC’s over the years and it was great to see PHP 7  launch in December last year. The performance improvements, scalar type declarations and return type declarations being some of the features I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on.

Aydin: PSR-7 & Zend Expressive – I think this will change the way we write web applications, being able to re-use modules across different frameworks will hopefully change the PHP world. We will establish popular, secure, well tested components that do not need to be re-written for every different framework.