Category News
Publication date
09 May 2023

Meet the Team: Full-stack developer Christopher Torgalson

Time to read 5 minutes read

Christopher Torgalson is a multi-skilled developer. Although his focus is on the front-end, he enjoys turning his hand to “DevOpsy” things, especially automation.

Christopher Torgalson is one of those developers who, it seems, can do anything – from creating incredible features for websites that look amazing to designing and building these features.

Alison: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Christopher: I’m from central Canada, though I’ve spent the most time on the west coast there. Now I’m temporarily living in eastern France, though we’ve been here for several years now. My wife's job brought us here.

Alison: What do you do at Annertech?

Christopher: My job title is "full-stack developer". In practice, while I do mostly front-end stuff, I also do quite a bit of back-end work on projects, and also a fair bit of things that would fall under the “DevOps” banner, such as automating things on projects, and developing the systems we use to deploy our “Rocksal” servers for developers.

A headshot of Christopher Torgalson. He is wearing black spectacles and is standing next to a window.

Christopher Torgalson.

Alison: How did you get into this line of work? 

Christopher: I started learning HTML (pre-CSS) to help out a friend who was a terrific graphic designer, but didn’t want to build the websites. I think, embarrassingly, we might have been among the very first people to start building websites in complex tables filled with spacer gifs.

I built enough little sites that I was able to start taking side jobs while I was studying mechanical engineering at college, and then (again) when I went back to earn a BA and MA in philosophy.

Working for myself, and subsequently working for small agencies, meant I had to become a bit of a generalist.

Alison: What are your interests outside of work? 

Christopher: A smattering of things. To be honest some of them overlap with work, for example I maintain a NextCloud server for the family, and I teach myself new technologies on my own perpetually-in-progress-but-never-launched website.

Aside from that, I do a bit of cycle-touring, quite a bit of dog-training (just the one dog), and I’m trying to teach myself some joinery.

Christopher Torgalson's dog Wensleydale demonstrates her sitting trick.

Christopher trained his dog "Wensley(dale)" (named after the cheese) to sit up like this during the second Covid-19 confinement.

Alison: What do you love most about your job?

Christopher: I enjoy solving problems and working with the rest of my colleagues to build things that are maintainable, accessible, and functional.

I particularly like that we work in a technology stack that’s essentially 100% open, and that a lot of our clients are in the government, education and nonprofit sectors.

At the moment, the thing that's keeping me busy outside of the project work is building accessible interactive tools with JavaScript.

Alison: How has the building of websites changed over the years since you first started?

Christopher: Development has become immensely more intricate and involved, but our tools are also much, much more sophisticated than they used to be. So these days we routinely create very complex tools for clients, but we also wind up debugging weird edge-case bugs at the intersection of a whole bunch of different systems.

One of the things I like about the tools we currently have access to is how much we're able to automate away some of the repetitive things we used to have to do manually.

Of course, the tools we use for automation add to the complexity…

Alison: How do you stay abreast of all the changes?

Christopher: Well, I'm not sure I do stay abreast of the changes. But we do spend a lot of time educating ourselves and each other here.

We collaborate a lot, and sometimes manage to play to each other’s strengths quite well. For example, those accessible, interactive components I mentioned earlier. I have plenty of experience writing JavaScript widgets and building accessible components. But (my colleague) Tom Bamford has more depth and a lot more recent experience than I do with testing accessibility.

So between the two of us (and with further input from the rest of the front-end team), we’ve managed to build some small, but rather good tools.

Are you an automation enthusiast?

Annertech’s developers love a challenge, and would be thrilled to see what they can do for your website.

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Alison Visser Head of Content

After more than two decades in journalism, Alison now collaborates with Annertech's clients to ensure that their content is the best it possibly can be.