Front End Developer

Vesa Piittinen

I love performance, JavaScript and CSS.
I value native browser behaviour, HTML5 and accessibility.

I do things

I wrote my first lines of code when I was around 6 years old. From there I spent 20+ years doing hobbyist development. First with C64 basic and Visual Basic 6, evolving to PHP and JavaScript over the 00's. I wouldn't be a professional developer if the industry didn't evolve to agile methods.

Front End has been my primary passion. I like interfaces and playing around with them. Despite that I'm not really interested on doing a design part: I rather focus on usability and solidness. If there is something I dislike greatly that is lack of focus on polishing things: you can feel it in the user interface if it hasn't been written with care and attention to detail.

Outside of programming I've done all kinds of random stuff. I host a couple of sites that worked as my learning of the trade playgrounds (in both good and evil). The sites are still running, though they aren't the most popular things. I don't have a mind that has tendency for populism.

I like writing, but I don't write fiction. I'm also slightly experienced translator as I've spent quite a few hours Finnishing games such as Civilization V, The Settlers II and Transport Tycoon Deluxe. Compared to professional translators I'm slow, but I have somewhat high quality considering my level of experience.

My even further expanded universe of hobbies includes but is not limited to building desktop computers, retro computers, Nintendo handhelds, watching (mostly fantasy and scifi) movies, making inanimate things appear as if they are alive and recently I've grown some limited political interest.

I live in Helsinki, Finland. My roots are in Finnish Lapland, Ranua region. However I grew up and went through all my education at Riihimäki in southern Finland.

I work for

I'm not for hire unless you're ready to pay a lot.

In short I'm not your average Front End Developer. I have an oddball sort of experience where I have been able to spend time on some interesting issues during my years as a hobbyist dev. One of my passions is speed optimization; and in front end this reflects in a desire of performance. And I also count appearing to be fast to be part of performance.

Previously what I greatly lacked was experience on big projects, project management and overall arc on how things are done. This is what I've quickly adapted during my first two years as a professional developer. I'm glad that has chosen the path of agile and really going for it instead of just appearing as-if it would be agile.

The web is changing faster than ever. Within the first half of this decade we have been freed of chains of the old browsers that just keep slowing things down. The age of evergreen browsers has started and this has changed everything.

My current favorites: Babel (or ES2015 rather), ReactJS, NodeJS, CSS, HTML5, npm.

I have some past experience with AngularJS, jQuery, Backbone, but they don't really interest me anymore. jQuery was great before the change, Angular was interesting for a short while, but I never liked the template stuff. React got it right with Virtual DOM.

My touches

On current site I've introduced things like HTML5, improved SEO, cleaned up syntax (both HTML and CSS), rewritten almost all of JavaScript, improved page load times a great deal... and on visible side of things you can feel the touch of what I do in how the header responses when it becomes sticky / unstuck, what the shopping cart notifications feel like when you add a product to cart, and the product image gallery is of my doing. It has some nice touches such as mouse wheel and touch support for switching between images. Then you might notice the images are lazy loaded. Technically what I've implemented is the shortest lazy loading HTML syntax you can find (that is still IE8 compatible). Finally, go ahead and disable JavaScript. The site still works for the most part!

The new checkout process is my first React project. Technically it is still slightly a mess and there are still some "first project" issues remaining, but it is quite solid for the most part. My touches are quite visible with how nearly the whole page transitions when you move in the process. To my knowledge this is the first checkout process ever to do such fanciness.

On the new responsive website I have only just got started with a major refactor. It was originally written with CoffeeScript with no JSX (or CJSX) and had a lot of React and BaconJS Bus anti-patterns which had lead to many hidden issues that appeared as unhandled browser errors. So I've spent quite a bit of time getting rid of those issues and will spend even more time in the future (while still introducing new features).

As a reminder I did not design any of what is above. My focus is on improving upon a design, to make it live and feel great. This wouldn't be possible if the other guys on the team didn't handle all the backend issues. Their hard work gives me the freedom to do what I do best: an awesome overall user experience.


Finnish homepage
Some of my hobby sites
Kontu: Finnish community and wiki on Tolkien's Middle-earth
Maaya's Forum

Cool stuff I've done

The Settlers Map Generator creates playable maps for the game. The maps have a very great variety. I think the landscape it creates is quite superior to about any other map generator tool I've seen. The end result works very well with the game.

This tool is probably the best offering that I can give of my skills outside the "web tech stuff" category. The logic that creates the landscape is not based on any existing algorithm – it is 100% hand crafted by me.

Web stuff

CodePen is the playground where I experiment the most these days. But sometimes it is hard to test older browsers there so I put my stuff on this site instead.