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Front-end web engineer @AntlerEng working on 👉 firetable.io 👈 combining the simplicity of spreadsheets with the power of Firestore

Know the how, the when, and the why behind our refactoring

Diagram of the article’s main point: Restructured code led to better code reuse and fewer lines.
Diagram of the article’s main point: Restructured code led to better code reuse and fewer lines.

When working on any project, especially in the MVP stage, we as developers often prioritise one thing above all else when writing code: making sure it works. Unfortunately, this can mean writing code hyper-focused on the MVP’s requirements, so we end up with code that is hard to maintain or cumbersome to expand. Of course, this isn’t a problem one can easily avoid since we don’t live in an ideal world. The forces of time are always against us — sometimes we just need to push something out.

I’m a software engineer building Firetable, an open source React app that…


And how we stopped our React context from re-rendering everything

Diagram of the article’s main idea: update a sibling component’s state via a ref
Diagram of the article’s main idea: update a sibling component’s state via a ref

Refs are a seldom-used feature in React. If you’ve read the official React guide, they’re introduced as an “escape hatch” out of the typical React data flow with a warning to use them sparingly. They’re primarily billed as the correct way to access a component’s underlying DOM element.

But alongside the concept of Hooks, the React team introduced the useRef Hook, which extends this functionality:

useRef() is useful for more than the ref attribute. It’s handy for keeping any mutable value around similar to how you’d use instance fields in classes.” — React’s documentation

While I overlooked this point when…


Behind the scenes from Antler’s virtual Demo Day

As in-person events continue to be held online amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many events are finding new ways to connect with their audiences and deliver more personal, engaging experiences. It’s no different at Antler — we used to run physical Demo Day events to exhibit our portfolio companies, and now, we need to adapt the format for a decentralised, virtual audience.

I’ve previously written about our first virtual event while explaining why we chose Gatsby over Next.js to achieve excellent performance. Now we wanted to build on top of this foundation to deliver an even better live experience.

We…


I made the same web app in Gatsby and Next.js and found Gatsby performed better

With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing measures, many events have been forced to migrate to online virtual events. I’m a software engineer at Antler, which runs a global startup generator program that usually runs multiple in-person Demo Day events a year that showcase around a dozen new startups, and we faced the same situation.

We wanted to deliver a solid online experience that puts the focus on the content — our portfolio companies’ pitches. With the wider audience of this event and the fact that it may be a user’s first exposure to Antler’s online presence, we needed…


A photo of me typing on a MacBook
A photo of me typing on a MacBook

Almost a year ago, I started my first proper job as a web developer at 2hats: a Sydney startup that connects work-ready university students to startups that need their talents.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the time to have a real reflection on this wild story — how exactly I got here, why I made the decisions I made, and what lessons I could learn going forward.

I landed on four key takeaways from this story and also hope they help other students who are just starting their careers.

🚀 Side projects take you far.

For any developer, a résumé is never enough to…


Developing a passion, enduring an interview from hell, and finding an opportunity by luck

A photo of me typing on a MacBook
A photo of me typing on a MacBook

If you told my 11-year-old self as he was writing his first line of CSS that he would be starting his career as a web developer at 18, he wouldn’t believe you. While he was generally interested in computers and was planning on learning to code, he would be confused about how soon it all started.

But nearly a year later, while I am still quite surprised at the situation, I’ve been able to reflect on this journey and understand how I got here.

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