As CIO or VP of IT or CMO, even the CEO of your enterprise, you often face the question of what development resources you would need to incorporate into your Adobe Content Management System Implementation team. Often you hear that full-stack developers will solve all of your development problems. Can they?
Can full-stack developer encompass all?
I often hear that IT managers prefer to work with versatile developers. The latter has been in the trenches for long periods. They have conquered a wide range of technologies across the software development stack. As you anticipated, the programmers guild calls them full-stack developers.
What is the traditional application development stack, briefly explained? Well, it has backend or server technologies and front-end technologies. In the case of Adobe Experience Manager, the back-end technologies are using OSGI Components and Services. Those are programmed with the popular Oracle Java language.
In addition, to control the presentation layer, AEM also employs Apache Sling technology . Apache Sling is a web-based framework. It generates HTML with the option of adding proprietary Adobe attributes, called HTL language (also know in the past as Sightly).
With that said, there are great deal of technologies involved within AEM development. Full-stack developer knows all of them and hence solve most of the development requirements? Problem is solved then. Let the team learn all the skills needed to develop for the application stack. Can they?
Can all developers on the team to know all of the above technologies?
In my opinion, the short answer is “no.” It is not because it is not possible. It is rare for a developer to posses the mindset to stay current on all different technologies. If you read The Fundamentals of Front End and Back End Development, you will see the differences of the two. Front-end technologies are dealing with visualization and user interaction and experience. Back-end deal mostly with data services, platform deep knowledge, and integrations.
How do I cover all skills needed on the team then?
Finding a good match for all skills needed is not the correct approach. Finding the right mindsets of developers who have grown beyond their technical expertise is what makes a difference! Onboarding specialized developers – front-end or back-end – will work if they are willing to fit into the team’s culture and mindset. Often this process takes time, especially in the initial first few months, during the forming of a team.
What is the glue?
Here where the team technical lead (if you don’t have one, consider hiring) takes an important role. Someone with the full-stack skills set and the desire to mentor and inspire the rest on the team can be the perfect candidate. We will look into the technical lead qualities needed for your team in another article.
Last words – build a team of leaders
In summary, full-stack developers are rare gems in any AEM development team. Having versatile players is nice, but let’s face reality. Converting your existing developers into a full-stack developers does not usually work well. Instead, have each developer sharpen their special skills, and have them lead and use them to their strengths! More importantly – trust them!
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