Gavin JacksonI'm an extremely focused and productive, hands on Head of Frontend Development with over 20 years of professional experience.
Based in Bath, UK
- Knockout / Cypress.io / Vue / Svelte / node.js / Electron
- PhotoShop / iMovie / Flash / Flex
I pride myself on delivering modern, responsive, accessible applications with a focus on user experience.
I am passionate about what I do
I love writing code and designing solutions and APIs while keeping in mind the business strategy and overall picture. I have an eye for design and animation from the early part of my career creating customer facing Flash sites for some of the biggest brands in the world.
Client work and side projects
I work on projects for companies like CanadaLife and Aegon, big players in the UK's pension market. Both projects were similar in that we replaced either their entire Wealth Management Platform or a large proportion of it. Each sprint I planned the frontend work, pair programmed and guided the dev team through their frontend (and sometimes backend) tasks while also liaising with the client, ensuring that their requirements are in a dev ready state for the next sprint.
I am highly motivated and self-driven, working on internal side projects in-between my project responsibilities, some side projects are a direct result of current project needs, and others are big picture improvements for the entire product suite. All side projects are self started, and form most of the IntegroCX key features and commercial offering.
For example, over Xmas 2021, I rewrote all the CSS from the previous 6 years. Providing a new layered skinning architecture written with performance and overriding in mind, as well as modernising the look of all new projects via a white labelling approach, built upon Neomorphism.
And in 2022 I wrote my own compiler to allow screens in ICX to be written in HTML instead of JSON, to accompany this, I wrote an XSD schema which Development IDEs can interpret and provide intellisense and even validate directly in the code editor when writing screens. This not only improves the developer experience, but more importantly it massively reduces the barrier to entry for developers to work on ICX as it means developers can use their existing HTML and CSS skills.
Examples of my work.
I am an established professional,
I've been building web experiences for over 20 years
After University in 2002, I had a couple of ASP and SQL jobs, but my Frontend career really started in Melbourne, Australia in 2006 while backpacking, working for an advertising agency and then returning home to the UK and becoming a Senior Flash Developer at a creative agency in Bristol. After that, I contracted around Bristol and the South West. In that time I worked on projects for big clients and household names such as Nike, Mattel, Hertz, Estee Lauder, BP, Intel, Barbie and HotWheels to name a few, and I am proud to say that my work has been seen by millions of users across the world.
In 2011, I joined Digital Keystone, a small financial software company as a contract Flex Developer. At the time Digital Keystone had a single client and no product, but over the next three years, while helping grow the company, I built the underlying framework and frontend to an award-winning product called Adaptive Portal. In 2015, I was offered a partnership and became Head of Frontend Development and In 2016, we sold Digital Keystone in a multi-million pound merger to Dunstan Thomas, where I stayed on as the Group Head of Frontend Engineering. The frontend framework Adaptive Portal, that I built for Digital Keystone was renamed to IntegroCX, and is now the largest product in the suite offered by Dunstan Thomas and what we use to deliver most of our client projects.
Wrote my own compiler to allow screens in ICX to be written in HTML instead of JSON, to accompany this, I wrote an XSD schema which Development IDEs can interpret and provide intellisense and even validate directly in the code editor when writing screens. This not only improves the developer experience, but more importantly it massively reduces the barrier to entry for developers to work on ICX as it means developers can use their existing HTML and CSS skills.
I created ICX Lite, a disconnected, cut down version of ICX which allows it to be used in any project and hooked up to any backend. Getting started with ICX Lite is as simple as downloading a zip file, and then running 5 node.js commands which would then spin up a server and set up FETest, my frontend testing framework built upon Cypress.io that does screenshot comparison.
Dunstan Thomas was acquired by Curtis Banks, and I sold my shares. I also wrote a testing framework, based on Cypress.io which automatically captures and compares screenshots at different device sizes, performs a11y audits and validates performance. Images, showing before and after screens are now included in all Pull Requests which makes visual reviews at PR time possible, as well as automated, self generating visual site maps.
Was instrumental in winning the CanadaLife project, a multi-million pound project for Dunstan Thomas, I lead the frontend development team, reviewing each frontend Pull Request and supporting any core development needs.
Became Group Head of Frontend Development across the whole Dunstan Thomas group of companies. Continued to lead the frontend of the Aegon project while also building the core frontend team.
Led the frontend development to replace the entire platform for Financial Advisers for one of the UK's largest wealth management companies, Aegon
Was part of a multi-million pound merger, where my stock options were realised, and the primary shareholders were able to execute their exit strategies. This happened when Dunstan Thomas acquired Digital Keystone, meeting our target valuation three years early. The Adaptive Portal also won the UK Platforms Award for best use of Platform Technology for our work with Aegon.
Offered a partnership, and the permanent position of Head of Frontend Development in order to make Digital Keystone a more realistic proposition to sell in alignment with the founder's exit strategy.
Designed and built the frontend of the multi award-winning Adaptive Portal, while working on client projects, primarily in financial services. The Adaptive Portal is a framework for rendering lazy loaded Apps onto a dashboard and for rendering dynamic complex forms, either as single forms or in complex multi screen workflow (which are used quite a bit in finance). Adaptive Portal also won the Platforum 'Best in show' award.
Built the frontend of QuickPark which used an early build of the Adaptive Portal to render an SVG map showing available parking bays around various South African cities, the project was designed to work on tablets and phones.
When Digital Keystone decided to move away from Flash as a technology I chose the frontend tech stack. I began work on the early prototypes of the Adaptive Portal as the company strategy shifted from purely an on-site programming services company to one that builds and ships it own product, configuring that product for clients.
Joined Digital Keystone as a contract Flex Developer to build and maintain wealth management applications for Novia Financial and Aegon.
Worked on the Jo Malone website for Estee Lauder as a Flex developer and did a number of other Flash/Flex contracts for clients ranging from Fisher Price to Drink Aware.
In my role as Technical Lead at Oakwood DC I led up a team of 8 Flash Developers to deliver a £300k project for Radica the electronics division for Mattel US. We delivered the project on time and on budget.
2007 - 2008
As Senior Flash Developer at Oakwood DC, I worked on a number of Flash projects for globally recognised brands such as Barbie, Hotwheels, Disney's Cars, Scrabble and The Simpsons.
Worked in Australia for Publicis Mojo as a Web Developer for clients such as Nike, Hertz, HP and the Victorian Government. A highlight was working on the Nike Football website for World Cup 2006 and promotions for Australia's big game against Brazil where they dared to believe that history would not repeat itself (but, it did!).
2002 - 2005
Graduated top of my class from De Montfort University in Leicester in 2002 with a first class degree with honours in Multimedia Computing and was also awarded the best student prize for finishing top of my class. My first few years out of university I worked as a Web Developer in Reading writing ASP and ASP.NET web and windows applications and services before travelling for 20 months.
I code, I build tools, I mentor and train developers, I write documentation, I run sales presentations, I decide features and act as product owner, I interview and build teams, I design...
Day to day leadership
As Group Head of Frontend Engineering I still develop and add features to the frontend Integro CX framework on which the majority of our projects are built. I also mentor and manage a team of Frontend developers with the goal of building a community with resilience, as well as supporting ~20 backend developers working across various projects across the organisation. I encourage innovation and lead by example, taking the longer more complex route of enhancing the core product in a generic way to benefit current and future projects rather than custom-coding a solution for a single project.
I hold regular team meetings providing a forum for all team members to discuss their projects, pain points, big wins and anything to share, and to demonstrate features I add to the framework. I use OKRs (Objectives Key Result) and Hackathons to encourage innovation and ring-fence developers time. I also produce a bi-monthly PDF, The Frontend Bulletin, which I share with the wider company so everyone is informed what the Frontend team are working on and what new features we are adding to IntegroCX.
I am also part of the sales pipeline and heavily involved in sales pitches and growing the company. I regularly present to clients and am comfortable in delivering presentations at the appropriate technical level. I have several slide decks prepared for prospects that I can customise just ahead of delivery, and I usually take the lead for the technical pitches. For a hackathon in 2021, I produced a sales/marketing video introducing ICX which is on YouTube, here.
Group Head of Frontend Engineering
Head of Frontend development
Lead Frontend developer
Senior Flash developer
Strudwick & Young
Permanent, High Wycombe
IntegroCX is a big part of my career, I have been building it for the past decade. It is a low code framework for delivering dashboard and form based single page applications.
Sales & API design
As primary architect of the IntegroCX frontend, I design and maintain an API I built from the ground up, my goal is to make using ICX as effortless as possible for the Frontend development teams that consume it. I believe in making it so "it just works" as the developer expects.
Outside of work
I'm happy for you to find out about me as a person. I am married with two kids and a puppy; feel free to check me out on: Facebook, Twitter, Strava or LinkedIn, my posts, likes and comments reflect who I am in my personal life.
I have been working remotely since 2012, attending a few meetings a year but otherwise working entirely from home, first in Bristol, then from Spain and now from Bath. I have no problem with maintaining productivity and have been a disciplined self-starter since University, demonstrated by graduating top of my class in 2002.
Education1998 - 2002: De Montfort University Leicester
Multimedia Computing: 1st BSc (Hons) - top of my class
1997-1998: Amersham & Wycombe College
A-levels: Computing (A), Maths (D), Physics (D)
1992-1997: Holmer Green Upper School
GCSE: 9 x grade C or above
I met my wife Lorraine while travelling in Thailand. We have two kids, Daisy and Henry and live in Bath, but have strong connections to Spain as we spent 3 years living there. I enjoy spending time with my family, riding my bikes (either road or mountain) and being outdoors as much as possible. We also have a puppy, Bobby who's a Jug (Jack Russel / Pug).