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28 Oct, 2016 3 min read

Staff Spotlight – Chris Czopp


Chris Czopp is a senior software developer and one of the newer members of the FAC team. He joined the company in July of this year, having just arrived in Ireland for the first time. Chris is originally from Poland and has spent seven years working in the UK. He has five years of commercial experience in the software industry and has worked with different web technologies and been part of the rapid evolution of how web-based applications are built.


However, he doesn’t spend all his time at a computer screen. Chris is an outdoor activities enthusiast who likes running, skiing in the Alps, camping and wilderness survival skills. His new home, Ireland is lacking in opportunities to ski, but he keeps his survival skills sharp by braving rush-hour Dublin traffic in his cycle to work.


Chris will share this thoughts about software development in a series of articles on the FAC website over the coming months. He outlines below his interest in software development and the evolution of his career.


I started as a LAMP (Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP) developer, then gradually started moving towards front-end. At the beginning of my front-end career I was using jQuery everywhere but as I started to build more complex applications I realised that software development isn’t about making things quickly and forgetting them. You have to maintain what you’ve written few months ago, and add or change the logic behind it more often than you start a new project from scratch.


At that point I started looking for better ways. I decided to master pure JavaScript and try to understand why so many people hate it. I soon realised why! The flexibility which at first makes it simple becomes a minefield and you really need to know what you’re doing to avoid producing “spaghetti” code.


In the meantime, Google’s V8 and NodeJS appeared on the horizon. That really shook the industry. Apart from already existing MVW frameworks, many tools have appeared which made coding easier i.e., testing frameworks, static code analysing tools, pre-processors etc. Developers started taking JavaScript seriously – it became “both-sides” language and I couldn’t be happier. I had always enjoyed working on back-end and now I could do it with JavaScript! I thought having LAMP experience and deep understanding of JavaScript meant that I could simply jump into NodeJS and rule the world. I was mistaken – building big monolithic applications (which I used to with PHP) makes it very difficult to maintain and scale.


At this point, I began to split my application into smaller ones (micro-services) having a few separate servers linked by single proxy, with those servers consisting of many re-usable modules. This worked (and still works) well, but produced new challenges such as the management of granularity like this in everyday development.
Starting to develop a new feature requires an easy way to write and test your code, and to turn it into a module which can be re-used somewhere else. Questions about the optimum way to manage updates of modules used in already existing applications and automation so every customer has the most updated, reliable application were also raised. I thought about how to manage software features and releases, and versioning.


At that point I knew that in order to build modern, scalable software you need well thought out development process. Process which automates tendinous and repeatable tasks reducing bugs and making developers enjoy their work. Therefore, I’ve studied different methodologies and workflows. I’ve scripted (mainly in Bash) work which I have to do all over again. I’ve created boilerplates for front-end and back-end applications to be able to start new projects with all necessary tools handy. I realised how significant development process is and that’s why I’d like to stop here…


Over the next few articles I’d like to share my thoughts about development process and automation in software development.”


Chris is a talented and valued addition to the FAC technical team. To find out more about what we can do for your business, call us on  01 639 4836.


FAC is a leading Chartered Town Planning, Development and Socio-economic Analytics Consultancy based in Dublin with an extensive project portfolio throughout Ireland. FAC has extensive experience in town and village renewal, town and village health checks, and settlement profiling.