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Developer Spotlight: John Allen Hopper

In this installment of the Cosmic JS Developer Spotlight Series, we sat down with Dallas-based Software Developer John Allen Hopper. In addition to having a degree in Anthropology from the University of North Texas, John is a graduate of Coding Dojo and has been building applications both in advertising agencies and for freelance gigs for years. Follow John on GitHub, LinkedIn and Twitter, and enjoy the Q/A. 

How long have you been building software?
I began building websites and C++ programming at University of North Texas while attaining a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology. My degree actually encouraged me to pursue software development as a career because I understood programming and web applications as important tools for communication and cultural transformation. All in all, I have been coding HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for 8 years. I began to "stack" program while attending Coding Dojo in 2016, and have been building new applications ever since.

What is your preferred development stack?
I was taught on MEAN stack, Ruby on Rails, and Python. My preference leans towards JavaScript frameworks built on Express and Node. I am beginning to enjoy frameworks like React a lot more because of its focus on constructing UI components. I am always searching for new libraries, frameworks, and stacks, and have not really settled down on one just yet. To me the convenience of being a programmer is understanding coded language within any software application. If I had to identify my top three tools-of-the-trade, they would be 1.) Ubuntu, 2). JavaScript/Node/NPM, and 3). HTML5 w/ Bootstrap CSS.

What past projects are you most proud of and why?
Developing for Johnson & Sekin was an insightful and challenging experience. It was my first ad-agency project where there was not a senior developer building the site in tandem. As a  junior front-end developer, I felt a great deal of responsibility. I studied carefully details within the original design, implemented code libraries for creating animations, and adhered to a strategic methodology. I was able to develop complex UI/UX components by way of pixel-perfect representation. This project certainly taught me the syncretic relationship between design and coding. The two forms of art should always be inclusive of each other.

Talk a little bit more about your process for building apps. Are they for external or internal audiences? 
I love building apps for education's sake and for improving technique. Building apps for the community is a new experience for me. Coding for any purpose always proves to be rewarding because there are important problems to solve and wonderful experiences to create. I have worked on projects for external audiences, such as my developer website and a photographer's website-- as well as projects within professional roles reliant on frameworks like Laravel, AngularJS, and MongoDB. Cosmic JS has improved productivity tenfold because it has compiled modern code libraries into a center where people can learn, build, and grow. Now, more time can be spent on things like design, content, and progress.

What are some technologies you are excited about that you are using today, or want to learn more about?
Zeit Now/Next brings reliable command-line deployments. The technology allowed me to update and deploy projects on the fly.  Bootstrap will always have a special place in my heart because of its aesthetic. I predict I will be researching and building new applications with React, Redux, Ionic, GraphQL, Apollo, etc. These frameworks employ incredible responsiveness, methodical code structure, and seamless efficiency- allowing programmers freedom to build complex web applications through straightforward JS logic. 

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