Web Courses Academy Blog

An Interview with Hans Christian Reinl – Web developer, JavaScript hacker and front-end nerd

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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Based in Freiburg, Germany, at the age of 15 Hans Christian Reinl began teaching himself to code, and his first job was creating a website for a local rock festival. Mainly focused on front-end code, especially CSS, he shares what he learns on his blog.


1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a 23 years old freelance developer living in Freiburg which is amongst the most beautiful cities in Germany. You might have heard of it because Smashing Magazine is located here. When I am not working on client projects I contribute to Open Source Software: As for instance I am a team member of HTML5 Boilerplate which is very well known as a quick starting point for front-end web-applications. Lately I try to push my own projects as for example init, which extends HTML5 Boilerplate with Grunt and and more structure for your Sass files, forward.

2. Why be a web developer and what led you down this career path?

As a teenager I was pretty interested in my computer and tried to learn as much as I could about software and hardware. Eventually I came into contact with Microsoft’s Frontpage. But it wasn’t enough for me to build websites with the WYSIWYG interface, so I explored the underlying concept. This basically led to my first customer project, others followed and I quickly decided to do an internship at a web agency after I finished school. The interesting part about the web industry is definitely the openness for people with a certain skill-set. Germany is pretty traditional when it comes to degrees in your profession – the web industry is different and that’s what I love about it.

3. What was the first website you made and how was that experience?

When I was 16 years old, a friend of mine came to me and asked me if I could build a website for his brother’s upcoming small rock festival. This was the first time I felt that web development could really become something I can do besides school and earn some extra money. It was a great experience for me to actually sell programming and the project was great all in all.

4. If you can tell us, what are the projects you are currently working on?

One of the projects I work on is a mid-scale website for the German publisher Haufe to promote one of there larger B2B products “Talentmanagement“. Together with the web-agency /gebrüderheitz. I developed the front-end for this website with a focus on flexibility of the website’s components and responsive web design. Besides that I want to publish a modal plugin for websites which I developed throughout the course of some projects. The unique selling point of this project is that it works without any JavaScript involved and it’s fully accessible. Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with projects I am working on. I am also open for client work, so shoot me a line to [email protected] if you need help with your project. haufe

5. What are the best projects you’ve worked on? Tell us about them.

The best projects I worked on are actually Open Source projects. I love to be in contact with so many knowledgable developers and to share ideas and experiences. In the beginning of 2012 I had the pleasure to build the HTML5 Please API with Divya Manian, Paul Irish, Jonathan Neal and some others which was one of the most exiting projects I have worked on because of the atmosphere in the team and the result that came out of our work.

6. Could you tell us what’s in your personal “toolbox”? Software, apps, hardware, books?

For development it’s pretty easy – I only need a few things: Sublime Text as the editor, Chrome (mostly Canary) for viewing what I do and GruntJS to do compiling and serving pages in the background. I really like to use the Terminal for most of the actions I do. Besides that I have some other apps that are really handy for development, as for example Adobe Edge Inspect for developing on mobile devices. All in all I really like a tight setup where you don’t get distracted to easy. But if I am searching the distraction I dig around Twitter or read one of the latest Offscreen Mags which I really like for their look beyond.

7. Tell us about your best experience as a developer.

The best experiences in web development have clearly to do with my Open Source work as I outlined before. The people behind the projects are mostly very kind and being in contact with other developers all over the world helps to extend your horizon.

8.Tell us about your worst experience as a developer.

The worst experiences are the times when you have the feeling clients don’t really value your opinion on a problem.

9. In your opinion, what is the difference between a good web designer and a great web designer?

A great web developer or designer is someone who looks beyond the problem you have to solve at a given moment and applies his learnings and experience to it while sharing and discussing his thoughts with others. Good developers often forget to discuss their thoughts with others even though they might have great ideas.

10. What advice would you give to our Web Courses Bangkok students?

As Steve Jobs put it “Stay Hungry… Stay Foolish”. Try to soak up all that comes your way in concerns of web design. If you try to become better with each project you do and focus on new challenges you will soon be a great software developer. Don’t forget that you are constantly learning.

Want to know more about Hans?

You can also find him here: github, twitter and google+.

We would like to thank Hans for taking out the time to talk to us and answering our questions. Best of luck to him on his future endeavors.

Would you like to learn how to make great websites? Have a look at our web design courses at WebCoursesBangkok !


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