Mark Norman Francis

Internet Boffin

Drew McLellan joins Yahoo! Europe

Published on August 05, 2006.

On Tuesday we had a new member of the web development team. You may have heard of him. You should certainly know of one of his affiliations. Drew McLellan, the Strategy Lead for the Web Standards Project.

As he writes, he finds it difficult to understand why there is some criticism over such a move. I can’t understand it myself, but then I wasn’t an internet famous blogger or web developer when I started here. I was just a code monkey who had played around with CSS in his spare time.

In a recent podcast for the run-up to d.Construct Jeremy Keith accused me of being brainwashed because I like where I work, and think it’s exciting. He was probably being less than serious in his own inimitable deadpan way. But then, there is many a true word spoken in jest.

I interviewed for Yahoo! back in June 2004, for a position in the User Experience Design department as the second dedicated web developer in the team. Well, technically the third, as Murray Rowan had been there for years, but his job had been creating tools for web site building and a focus on accessibility.

Since then, I’ve watched the team grow from four web development people to nearly twenty, with more to come soon. And each and every one I would consider to be of a world-class standard. Frankly, I doubt you could get past our extensive interview process without being more than competent at developing sites with web standards.

(Speaking of the interview process, I was the person who gave Drew our technical tests. I found it rather amusing to ask him “So, what benefits do you see when building sites using web standards?” and to press him for an answer as well.)

A lot of the people who have joined us have expressed similar sentiments to Drew’s: I get to work somewhere where I don’t have to fight for best practises. That being with others who think the same way inspires and excites.

From my perspective, working at Yahoo! Europe is incomparable, for a developer in the UK. Where else do I get to work on sites with millions of visitors, where web standards are de rigeur, where considering performance, reusability, internationalisation, sharing and education is (excuse the pun) the norm?