Christina Wheeler: “Once I’ve learned all I can, I am ready to move on and learn something else”

February 19, 2019

Dennis Ritchie or Anders Hejlsberg – and why?

Due to my programming background, I’d have to say Dennis Ritchie. When I was young, my family and I had a Texas Instruments TI-99. I’m 43 years old now and I will still never forget having the TI-99 plugged into a tape deck and our TV. Starting at 11 years old, I’d sit there for hours and hours copying code out of a GW-BASIC book just so my brother and I could play games. They were the good old line number days: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50…RUN. Even though I started out in GW-BASIC, I never would have guessed I’d become a programmer later in life. I went to a Junior College and started with BASIC and at that time I had a hard time grasping the concepts. My dad and I were in the same class and if it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t have passed. Thinking that programming wasn’t for me, I went on to pursue graphic design, took a job in video editing, then print design, and moved on to web design. After a while, though, I got bored. I’m the type of person who, once I’ve learned all I can, is ready to move on and learn something else. So then I got into database design and classic ASP. After that, I moved up to Visual Basic and VB.NET when it was beta. All the jobs I had were VB shops, so it wasn’t until I took another job in the mortgage finance world that I started doing C#. Well, I was supposed to be doing C# full-time but I got thrown into supporting third-party interfaces for credit pulling, OFAC (database terrorist checks) and something else that I can’t remember. It was one of those things where I had to support a propriety program that was basically hacked up Delphi/Pascal. The funny thing is that after I’d gained all this experience, I finally went back to school to pursue a Bachelor of Science in IT. That’s when I had to take a C Programming class and it came easy to me. In fact, I was frustrated that I couldn’t debug like I could in Visual Studio.

I ended up wondering why I’d waited so long. I took over a project that forced me to learn Angular and that opened the floodgates for me to start working with SharePoint Framework.

The world of SharePoint development has changed almost completely in just a few years; we’ve seldom seen such a radical platform change happen so fast. What were your experiences? How did you see those changes?

Well, I was a long-time server-side developer for SharePoint, so in the beginning I was hesitant about doing any cloud development or working with new frameworks including SharePoint Framework. However, then I came around – and ended up wondering why I’d waited so long. I took over a project that forced me to learn Angular and that opened the floodgates for me to start working with SharePoint Framework.


Why is SharePoint Framework good? Or are you still using other deployment techniques for SharePoint Online?

I think SharePoint Framework is great because it’s client-side and can be used to build SharePoint customisations on any platform with any JavaScript framework. Unfortunately, not all my customers are using modern solutions due to their requirements so I’m still building solutions using JSLink but have been combining it with SPFx solutions on publishing pages.

What is good code?

I’d say good code is code that is easy to understand, maintainable and reusable and that follows programming best practices.

So, what’s Christina doing when she’s not coding, teaching or being active in the community?

Working way too much, especially since my daughter is all grown up, but I also enjoy time with my beloved dogs and I have a big passion for photography.

Collaboration means two-way communication!

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