Team culture is vital for any company. It is something I have experienced as both a team member and a leader. When I talk about “Team” here, I am obviously talking at both a team and company level. Some teams get culture and the impact it can have on the success of a company and others don’t. There is a lot of research and writing on the subject with just about as many opinions on the subject. “What You Do Is Who You Are” by Ben Horowitz is a book looking at leadership culture from a very different angle.

The…


Array destructuring, object destructuring, and more

Code on desktop computer
Code on desktop computer
Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash.

JavaScript has the destructuring assignment syntax to allow you to unpack objects and arrays into variables. I still see a lot of code where either the developer is not aware of this language feature or just didn’t use it. The feature was added in ES6 and enables terser code without the loss of intent.

What follows is a whistle-stop tour of the syntax and how to use it.

Array Destructuring

Array destructuring allows you to define variables based on the position of elements in an array. A simple example is:

To destructure array values, you will see that the variables are…


I love static sites for many reasons and Jekyll is still a firm favourite when I need to throw together a simple site. One thing I hadn’t hit with Jekyll before was handling different environment settings and basic secrets. As with most things it was easy if not obvious at first how to handle it. There was also not much reference material other than the documentation. So here is a simple overview.

Setting Up & Configuring Your Configuration Files.

Jekyll gives you the ability to specify what configuration files are processed at build time via the -c command line switch. If you use this then you can…


I spend a lot of time wearing headphones. This is for a couple of reasons. The first is that working remotely means I talk a lot on video calls with my team and clients. The second is that when I am not talking I am devouring almost any type of music while I work.

For the last year, I have been using some Taotronics Sound Surge 60 over-ear headphones. These are noise cancelling, Bluetooth over-ear headphones that I tried to see if I like that style of headphones. They cost about £60 on Amazon when I got them and the…


The speed of development you can achieve using serverless architectures and services can be mind-boggling. For small projects, having the ability to connect several services, each having a specific purpose, is very powerful. Recently, I built an MVP that used GetForm.io and Zapier to connect a GatsbyJS web app to Mailchimp. The whole process took just a couple of hours.

The aim of the project was to build a long contact form which collected a lot of information from the user. As the web project was built in GatsbyJS, I was building a React form. Small forms in React are…


Code reviews are a vital part of running a development team. Once you get past developer number one, its vital to ensure you have an agreed code review checklist and factor time into your workflow to ensure you review all code. I would argue that if you work as a lone developer, you should go back periodically and review code written more than two weeks ago. It is amazing when I do that the things I spot.

A lot of articles exist detailing how to review code and best practices. Ensuring that the requirements have been met, that there are…


Late last year I experienced my first fatal failure under Linux for a very long time. I was restoring a project to work on and updating the Jekyll framework which was refusing to play nicely. I applied a recommended fix from the Manjaro repo’s and my laptop froze. Upon rebooting it just panicked and refused to boot.

This wasn’t a huge problem I thought, I will just reinstall and apply my dotfiles and be up and running. Only, what the experience taught me is that it is never that simple. Since switching to my latest work laptop I had not…


Over the last week, I have looked at the code for four projects at Platform Eight. There was a common thread across the projects and that was a complete lack of documentation. This seems to be an ongoing problem across nearly all of the projects I have been involved in over the last year and it needs to stop.

Now I know that as developers and creators we hate documentation and I get that. The dream of writing code that is so prose-like that no documentation is required is still just a dream. Even small projects are much more than…


The last few projects I have built have been either React or Gatsby based. When setting up these projects I wanted a fast and simple way to apply a consistent and maintainable style system for them. There are different ways to define styles when building components, from inline styles and CSS stylesheets through to CSS-in-JS. On top of these foundations has grown a wide array of libraries and tools to help developers define and manage their project styles. From Sass which extends the CSS language through to frameworks such as Bootstrap. …


I have looked at a lot of projects over the last year for clients of all sizes at Platform Eight. One of the trends I have seen in a lot of the projects is the failure to provide adequate handover documentation from outsourced teams. In some cases, there has been none.

This is not acceptable. When a business outsources development work they are entrusting the outsource team to deliver in a professional, timely manner. They are buying the expertise offered by the outsource team and have every right to expect the work to be completed to an acceptable level. This…

Andy Crouch

Experienced CTO, technical architect, board advisor & technical leader. I focus on building distributed applications & great teams.

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