Garth Braithwaite

Becoming a better developer through testing, with Garth Braithwaite


Garth is a designer and developer with a passion for all things open source. He is a front-end developer on Adobe’s PhoneGap team and has appeared as a speaker on conference stages across the world. When he’s not busy at Adobe, he spends his time discussing the power of design and how to improve designer / developer collaboration.

Time Stamped Show Notes

1:34 – Garth is currently focused on design systems. He’s trying to get a uniform design system working for developers.

Garth’s team wants to make PhoneGap open source. This will allow developers to get up and running on the PhoneGap platform with a set of components.

2:15 – Garth’s team is now trying to make it a little easier to get started with frameworks like React, Vue.js or Angular with PhoneGap.

3:06 – Garth indicates that no one likes writing CSS. His team would like to make writing CSS easier.

4:45 – Spend time on user research before writing code.

6:30 – Garth uses Github issues for figuring out what’s next, and making pull requests to himself. It feels wrong to commit to master directly.

7:38 – Right now using NPM build scripts and browserify.

8:39 – Particularly with the JS community, there’s a lot of assumptions built into the vast number of tools. It’s difficult to find instructions on how to get running with the configuration of libraries you select.

9:53 – In the JS community we’re picking a lot of our favourite things, but not necessarily providing information on why our decisions were made that way. It’s only normal that we want to spend our time writing code, and not documentation.

11:02 – Because PhoneGap doesn’t prescribe to any specific framework the team gets to play around with a lot of the different libraries that are coming out.

12:03 – There’s no wasted learning when having to move from library to library – learning is learning.

13:26 – He enjoys spending his free time doing stuff that he has complete control over. Oftentimes his projects don’t see the light of day, but he doesn’t build them to make millions of dollars. They’re more his works of art.

15:00 – We’ve crept up to the current level of complication in Javascript, but we assume that new people went through the same learning process, and we start with false assumptions about the learning base they had

15:38 – Garth uses side projects to make himself try out new things.

18:05 – Garth wishes he had started unit testing from an earlier point in time.

18:41 – People don’t want to teach testing because the say the learning curve is too steep.

19:01 – A solid set of tests changes who you are as a developer, as well as the way you approach problems.

Quickfire Questions

21:46 – Best advice about programming
“Learn it!” Garth’s dad told him if you learn to code you’ll always have a job.

22:00 – Habits for writing better code
Good unit tests and a good test suite

22:15 – Book
About Face 3 – a book on user experience design. User experience design is absolutely universal, and doesn’t require any tech to do it well.

22:40 – Inspiring devs
Brian le Roux and Kristofer Joseph and their ideas on open source and writing tests.

22:14 – How to learn to code from scratch
Video tutorials – specifically EggHead’s style of short videos. The Redux series by Dan Abramovis particularly good.

25:15 – Top tip to write better code
Find a mentor, talk to people, be involved in some way online like on Gitter. Find a way to connect with smart people.

Resources Mentioned

Contact Garth

Larry Botha