Sentinel: Your Web-Performance Watchman

Madgex: Consultancy and Workshop

Written by on CSS Wizardry.

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Nik White, Madgex’s Design Director, got in touch with me about going down to Brighton to meet her team, and to run a workshop-style day to help them get a better handle on their product’s UI codebase as it went through a fairly large transition: a decade-old product that they had recently re-designed and -developed to be responsive.

The scale at which Madgex were working became apparent as I learned more about their business: they provide white-labelled, themeable, internationalised, responsive job board software for close to two-hundred clients, including the likes of the Guardian and the Telegraph. This presented a number of interesting issues, including, but not limited to:

  • Sharing components across that number of white-labelled products.
  • Safely propagating changes to those components.
  • Ensuring those components were robust enough to be ‘written once, used everywhere’ (including in different languages).

All this as well as general architectural, responsive, and performance best practices that they were keen to cover during our time together.

I asked Harry to come in and run a workshop with my front-end developers after a recent redesign. He provided lots of valuable insights, suggestions, and support, all tailored specifically to our products. It was a pleasure to have him join us for the day.

Nik White, Design Director, Madgex

Madgex needed a way to effectively and efficiently retain control of a codebase that was already large and complex, and was only going to get more so.

I headed down to beautiful Brighton, and we began our day of workshoppy learning and consultancy together. This included advice on specific architectures for entire products; architectures to facilitate the creation and consumption of cross-product UI components; theming and skinning components based on their white-labelling; versioning and safely consuming and propagating (changes to) these components cross-product; creating a useful UI Toolkit; and nitty-gritty specifics such as naming conventions and workflows.

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We also had a section of the day dedicated to hacking together proof-of-concept Bower packages, and how to author and consume these. Unfortunately, with such a full itinerary, we soon ran out of time, so I had a follow-up two-hour Skype call with two of Madgex’s front-end developers to go through this in more detail.

We rounded off the day with a company-wide talk about the importance of performance and ease of growth and maintainability in product companies, as well as evangelising the incredible work the UI team had done already to the rest of the business. Their efforts so far had been great, and I joined them to help fill in some of the missing pieces around some of the more architectural issues.

Hi there, I’m Harry Roberts. I am an award-winning Consultant Web Performance Engineer, designer, developer, writer, and speaker from the UK. I write, Tweet, speak, and share code about measuring and improving site-speed. You should hire me.

You can now find me on Mastodon.

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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.