BBC: Workshop and Code Review

Written by on CSS Wizardry.

When Keith Mitchell, Engineering Manager at BBC Sport, emailed me asking if I’d like to run a workshop for some of the BBC’s developers, I almost bit his hand off. The BBC had always been very high up on my ‘client bucket list’, and to host a workshop for them seemed perfect.

The BBC, like BSkyB, are a huge media organisation with many products sitting under one umbrella brand/company. The kinds of problems their developers would likely come up against would be the exact same ones I’d been working on for three years at Sky, and with my own clients thereafter:

  • Scaling CSS on long-running products.
  • Managing large UI codebases in a team environment.
  • Effectively sharing and syndicating UI components.
  • Maintaining a level of consistency across differently-branded products.
  • And all of the usual struggles that come with larger products.

The single day on-site was broken into two halves: a morning session and an afternoon session.

In the morning, developers from the wider BBC departments gathered in a really great creative space at the BBC’s MediaCity campus where I ran a workshop covering things like:

  • Specific CSS architectures.
  • Building new architectures from scratch (which tied in nicely with the work I was doing for the NHS at the time).
  • Writing and reading code in a more team-friendly manner.
  • Managing layout more effectively (RWD and component-based UIs require a little more consideration when it comes to better laying things out).

This session kicked off with the attendees building a simple UI component, before we shared and critiqued volunteers’ results with the group. Dissecting and rationalising the rationale behind various techniques people had used to build the component in question really helped show the team that, even though they all work together day-in, day-out, everyone has a subtly different way of building the same, innocuous little pieces of UI. Using this exercise as a base, the rest of the workshop talked about how we could all work in a more standardised manner to try and make team-working more seamless.

Need some of the same?

I’m available for hire to help you out with workshops, consultancy, advice, and development.

In the afternoon, I joined a much smaller team of just BBC Sport developers for a Q&A session, looking at, and reviewing, the work they were already doing, and how they might improve or adjust it. A group code review of sorts.

The day ended with a brief hacking session, experimenting with creating UI components as discrete packages, and managing them with Bower.


Hi there, I’m Harry. I am an award-winning Consultant Front-end Architect, designer, developer, writer and speaker from the UK. I write, tweet, speak and share code about authoring and scaling CSS for big websites. You can hire me.


I am currently accepting new projects for Q1–2 2017

Projects

  • inuitcss
  • ITCSS – coming soon…
  • CSS Guidelines

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I am available for hire to consult, advise, and develop with passionate product teams across the globe.

I specialise in large, product-based projects where performance, scalability, and maintainability are paramount.