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Development / 16th Apr, 2020

The developer workflow at Make

In recent years, and like everything related to technology, lots of things have changed in the developer workflow at Make Agency.

One of the things we’ve experienced is that compiling your SCSS or minifying the JavaScript files is faster, and way more comfortable when using the right tools and integrations. 

For compiling SCSS and Uglify JavaScript, in the past, some developers were using Koala, a free open source Graphic User Interface application. For tracking, they were using the GitHub desktop app, but why do you need a GUI to do something so repetitive? Leaving your code editor and jumping into a different app to compile or track your files was not practical at all, and a deal-breaker for me.

We then took the alternative route of using the integrated terminal in Visual Studio Code with the node package manager and gulp.js to compile and minify the code, add sitemaps and to add other tasks needed for development and production. The first impression was good, so good that the previous developers integrated it into their workflow too. We only needed to run our tasks in the terminal and that was it. Everything became faster and, since then, we only use the terminal.

But quickly soon after a more suitable alternative was working better with our WordPress themes than gulp.js. We realised that without this library, we could still compile our SCSS code with fewer configurations by using only one of its dependencies: node-sass. In one file, we had all the information about the project, plus the list of dependencies and simplified tasks. 

But something changed again; this time WordPress made a significant shift to Gutenberg, the current editor that is running “React” behind the scenes. This transformation was pointing to a new way of developing at Make, where we needed to be more familiar with ES6 and React methods than ever before. 

In 2020 we started using webpack, a bundler that handles all the assets within a project and it’s able to do the same tasks that we need to do. It also has a better folder structure to organise all our assets. By using webpack, we easily enable a new workflow where it is easy to configure our new routines.

At this point you might think, if Koala, npm with gulp.js and npm with node-sass were doing the job, why did you make another change? Well, the answer is simple: we have to keep up to date with new trends so that we are always ready for further modifications and support that might be needed. 

Shortly we will be working on some projects using WordPress as a headless CMS, generating even quicker and more reliable solutions for small brochure sites that don’t require all the weight of this fantastic Content Management System. Soon we might be looking into the new GitHub Continuous integration where we will be investing less time into debugging errors or resolving merge conflicts.

Here at Make, the web developers don’t stop learning, and we always try new things that enable us to be better at what we do. This way we facilitate a faster and more secure delivery for our projects. Our clients can see their websites in record time, and at the same time, we can implement better and newer functionalities.

To talk to one of our web experts, please get in touch! We’d love to chat.