Playing midfield

Viewzi Brainstorming

I have just rounded my second month working at Viewzi as a front-end developer, and wanted to share why I enjoy this position. I was trying to decide the best way to describe my job function, for friends and family who might not think in terms of web lingo, and I think the simplest way to say it is: "I am a midfielder. You know those players on a soccer team who run back and forth on the field, in the realm between defense and offense? That would be me.

In the world of web applications, the role of visual designer is frequently glorified. Rightly so, because it takes a certain finesse to bring a high level of creativity to the table - day in, day out. Inspiration is a fickle muse, yet my designer cohorts are able to hear her song above the din of deadlines. Our designers are not only stewards of the Viewzi brand, but also craft the user interface people see when they engage with the site. Armed with Photoshop, there is no limit to what they can accomplish, scoring game winning-goals, garnering accolades from onlookers, and converting fans.

As a front-end developer, my job is to make key plays, enabling these guys to do their absolute best. This means staying informed of advancements in code techniques, so Viewzi designers can continue to work unhindered, not feeling confined by presuppositions of what can or cannot be done in a browser. My mantra is: "You guys design a refined experience, and let me figure out how to make it work." While I try to dispatch code in the cleanest way possible, one must not be afraid to slide tackle.

This is not to say everything hinges on my particular skill set. On numerous occasions, I have leaned on the knowledge and experience of our amazing Flash developers. Since ActionScript and JavaScript are close cousins, we have been able to carve out a fairly consistent API that allows both Flash and JavaScript to interact and share much of the same core functionality used through the site.

Likewise, any time I find myself stumped, trying to wrangle a data source to do what I need, our PHP guys are more than able to handle some of that heavy lifting on the server side, building data query objects that I can call directly, rather than doing string manipulation on the fly. I think of these guys as the defense. Often a thankless job, they are the ones who make sure that we are solid in the backfield. Perhaps it is because of their capable consistency that they are somewhat taken for granted.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention the business side of things. Our office administrators keep the place running like clockwork, seemingly effortlessly. We have visionary leadership working tirelessly across the project management and promotional sides of the spectrum: ensuring that everything stays on track, and letting people know what Viewzi is doing. It is like working with some of the best coaching staff around, and a super-agent who books all the cool gigs.

It is that cohesive commitment to quality that makes Viewzi a great workplace. Plus, as a front-end developer I get to dabble (meddle?) in all aspects of the build process. Being a midfielder is fun!