Stephen Allard

fullstack developer


this is a portrait

My good friends Sean, Alex, and I are dedicated photographers. Well, maybe we aren't serious photographers, but we are serious about taking pictures. We made our original photoblogs back in college, over 10 years ago, and have been maintaining them ever since. We like custom websites for posting our photos - instagram, facebook, and the other social media websites are too bloated and lack a personal touch.

Back in 2019, we decided that the time had come to rebuild the blogs. Mine runs on an old php application, and Sean’s uses Wordpress, and it takes so long to load his photos that I usually give up before making it through 10 of them. Alex has tried numerous options, and none of them really satisfied him. I volunteered to do the blog rewrite, but I had no idea where to start. In the past, any changes I made to my existing site were done in a hack and slash sort of way - I could throw some html, css, or php together to make my site do what I wanted, but I didn't really understand how the web application worked.

Then I found the Odin Project, an open sourced project-focused full stack web development curriculum. For over two years, in my time off, I learned HTML, CSS, Javascript, React, Ruby, and Ruby on Rails.

Working through the curriculum was very challenging - the Odin Project is project focused, and they provide enough information to get you started, but then you're on your own - figuring out how to build each of those projects was where the real learning occured. The process of learning and building was electrifying, and somewhere in the journey I realized that I wanted to build custom web applications professionally.

Now that I have the tools in my toolbelt, my friends and I are currently working on the photoblog rewrite.

Before I got into web development, I worked on industrial automation systems on oil and gas platforms for 8 years. I did a lot of programmable logic controller (PLC) and human machine interface (HMI) programming. Building graphics for operators to interact with to control pumps and valves made me fall in love with UI/UX. Interfaces should be clean, simple, and consistent.

When I'm not building things, I love taking photos, travelling to new places with my wife, playing fetch with our dog, collecting New Orleans history trivia, and perfecting my roux.