Speaker interview: Rosie Campbell
Rosie is a Research Technologist at BBC R&D, where she develops cool stuff to shape the future of broadcasting. She loves coding, science, and creativity.
What project have you worked on recently that has really excited you?
For the past year or so I’ve been working on a project called ‘Smart Wallpaper’, which you’ll hear about in my talk at jQueryUK. It’s the idea that in about 20 years time, you’ll be able to buy rolls of flexible, electronic paper to decorate your home, and change the content in an instant. It was so much fun working on something so futuristic; we let our imaginations run wild! We then used web technologies to turn our ideas into an interactive prototype. It was really rewarding turning our ideas into something real, and then putting it in front of people. It’s very polarising, most people loved it and wanted it right away, but others absolutely hated it!
What piece of advice do you wish you’d received when you first started out in development?
I wish someone had told me about imposter syndrome!! I started coding relatively late in life (towards the end of university), so it was very intimidating when I started out and was surrounded by people who had been doing it for years. I constantly felt like a fraud and thought everyone knew so much more than me. When I found out about imposter syndrome, suddenly it all made sense, the symptoms sounded so familiar! I’m definitely not completely over it, but I have started to realise that it’s a pretty normal feeling in the tech industry - a lot of devs seem to have the same anxieties! Because the industry is so broad and fast-paced, you never quite feel like an expert. But the good side of that is that it’s never boring - there’s always something new and exciting to learn!
What’s your favourite underrated tool/piece of software/resource for development?
I’m loving the ‘HTML/CSS/JS Prettify’ plugin for Sublime Text! It detects which language you’re using, then can be configured so that it automatically formats everything on save. Not only does this save time on your own projects, it also makes working with others a breeze - everybody ends up with exactly the same, consistent formatting. No more arguments about tabs or spaces!
I also couldn’t live without some kind of simple project management tool like Trello. Breaking down tasks into small chunks them and seeing them travel across the board into the ‘Done’ column makes me so much more productive.
What new technology are you most interested in learning?
I’m really into 3D graphics, so would love to master WebGL and ThreeJS. I’m currently trying to learn Blender, in the hope that one day I’ll be able to make amazing models that I can import to WebGL for browser animations and games. Combined with the Web Audio API, you can make some pretty incredible audio-visual experiences.
What new/upcoming browser features do you think will most change the future of web development?
I recently saw Jake Archibald talk about the Service Worker, and WOW it sounds amazing. He made the great point that if native can do something that web can’t, we should consider that a bug. The service worker is a real game changer when it comes to mobile development, addressing many of these ‘bugs’: making web stuff work offline, enabling push notifications, HTTP caching, etc… It’s magic.