My Journey to Web Development

My name if Forbes Gray, a freelance website developer with over 7 years experience building websites and web applications for a variety of business' and industries, across Edinburgh and further afield.

My interest in Web Development started fairly late. I have a background in sales spanning 10 years in the telecoms industry. As my skills grew I started up my own company supplying telecoms to business.

As part of any new start-up business, spending money was not something I wanted to do too much of and yet I knew the importance of having an online presence.

I decided to try and create my own website using "user friendly" free tools that were available at the time. My emails were being hosted by Google Apps so I started off with Google Sites as a simple solution. Although creating a presence online I was frustrated by the constraints of building using a tool like Google Sites (and I wanted rounded corners).

My journey to web development

I had never written any HTML or CSS at this stage but felt that it couldn't be hard to create the simple site that I was looking for. I started teaching myself HTML and CSS and very quickly was able to create a website that I was far more satisfied with, but more importantly found that I really enjoyed doing it.

I continued to learn and optimise my companies site. In order to make the site more maintainable and interactive I started to learn a little PHP and got a firmer grasp of JavaScript.

I began some other web projects using the evermore popular Content Management Systems such as Joomla, Wordpress and MODX. With this came my introduction to databases and MySQL.

With the growth of JavaScript and NodeJS, web applications were becoming evermore capable and I found my new test. JavaScript became my focus.

BlackBerry have always had a place in my heart so I used their platform to hone my skills. Creating simple Webworks/Cordova applications gave me small projects to to discover the capabilities and pitfalls of JavaScript.

At the same time I was discovering more about running JavaScript on the server with NodeJS and interacting with NoSQL Databases such as MongoDB and CouchDB. I created a couple of applications using the MEAN Stack using Angular for the front-end.

As these new JavaScript frameworks developed I was introduced to a number of different approaches to complete a development project, but I always found myself striving for faster, performant websites and applications.

My main focus has become building fast, SEO friendly server-side rendered and static websites, using many of the modern JavaScript frameworks, such as React, Vue, Gatsby, Gridsome (this website) and Nuxt JS. Using a JAM Stack architecture (JavaScript, API's & Markup), headless Databases, CMS's, and ecommerce services, I am able to quickly create performant and secure websites and web applications that search engines love.

I have become increasingly focused on website speed and since the introduction of Google's Core Web Vitals as a metric used in their organic search results rankings, the JAM Stack architecture has found its place at the forefront of modern Web Development.

As an early adopter of new web technologies I am always looking at embracing new tools a technologies to improve a websites performance and the users experience.

Some of my website design and web application development work can be found on my Portfolio Page.

View My Portfolio