GAN (GameAccount Network) offered me my first role in the Gambling industry, and this is a growing area of opportunity for web developers in London. The relocation from Bond Street to High Street Kensington was not ideal for my commute, but the new office was spacious and far more inspiring than the older, slightly stale and corporate base.
GAN provide gaming services to major casinos across the United States, UK, Italy and beyond. My work here covered several different partner websites, including front-end project work, bug fixes and the occasional last-minute compliance request.
Compiling CSS and JS files through Grunt. Some logic changes through JSLT. TortoiseHG Workbench used for amending the repositories. Working within standard Java/JSP build environment, with Jenkins, JBoss and Struts. Building new pages through Struts tiles.
Updating various partner websites with new HTML5 games, as well as constructing registration landing pages for the likes of Betfair, Club8Casino, Empire City Casino and Foxwoods. Websites were spread across desktop and mobile with separate sites for each. Responsive design was all custom-built from scratch, in-house, rather than relying on responsive frameworks like Bootstrap or Susy.
I would dip in and out of Photoshop on a regular basis in order to ready assets for inclusion in our partner sites. Designs supplied from elsewhere would be tweaked manually where necessary in order to avoid sending work backwards and forwards between teams and extending delivery timescales as a result.
GAN (previously GameAccount Network) use Agile processes for their workflow, and i would update tickets in JIRA before handing them over to the QA department for testing and release. Much of my work required thorough testing of my own work in order to reduce the workload placed on the busy QA team.
Monthly sprint process including stand-ups, retrospectives and release planning. Some work was completed in a Kanban, more ad-hoc approach for unplanned “Business as Usual” tasks.
Speed optimisation was one task which helped to increase revenue across various partner sites. Simple fixes like reducing HTTP requests, merging and minifying css, putting all image assets through TinyPNG and re-ordering the load of all assets had a substantial impact.
At GAN i worked on a combination of full-responsive websites and device-specific builds, where mobile sites could be optimised for speed with more precision. GAN use custom-built responsive code rather than existing frameworks such as Bootstrap, which can be too bloated for the requirements here.
All of the partner websites were constructed from a combination of Grunt, SASS and Compass to compile the front-end CSS with variables and mixins which could be duplicated across different sites. Site maintainability was enhanced by separating new features into separate SCSS files, making it easier for multiple developers to work on the same pages at the same time.
Tracking and analysis is an important elements to the sucess of each partner working with GAN, and i would frequently implement tracking features across the partner sites in order to help the clients understand more about the registration and deposit processes and existing pitfulls for potential customers and revenue.
GAN use Agile processes for development work but at times i felt improvements could be made and would suggest alterations to management in order to improve morale as well as better organise release and development processes. All Agile workplaces in which i have been involved differ slightly from one to the next, and can each learn from others on how best to follow the full process.