All in the <head> – Ponderings and code by Drew McLellan –

Joining Yahoo!

This week I started working for Yahoo!, as seems to be the fashion these days. I’ve joined Chris Heilmann, Stuart Colville, Mike Davies, Norm Francis and a whole bunch of other talented and clueful web developers in Yahoo! Europe’s London office, tucked away nicely at the edge of Covent Garden. I have to say I’m pretty excited to be joining a company that seems to really get it when it comes to the web – from my perspective, the fact the Yahoo! is currently the biggest publisher of microformatted data says a lot.

Obviously, I’ve been hearing an awful lot of criticism, since talking to people about my move, that Yahoo! is apparently trying to hire most of the UK standards-aware development community. This is something I’ve had to think carefully about when considering my decision to join. Ultimately, I’ve failed to find a compelling argument as to why it’s bad for Yahoo! to be hiring lots of well-known developers. From the company’s point of view, they’re getting proven developers who know their stuff. From the community’s point of view, this isn’t Google or Apple where good bloggers go to die. Yahoo! is one of the biggest destinations on the web, and such a display of the desire to publish valid, accessible and semantically rich content is overwhelmingly positive. For me personally, I get to work somewhere where I don’t have to fight for best practises, and I get to work with a bunch of great people who feel the same way.

This is also something completely new for me. I’ve always worked in very small companies, mostly design and branding agencies, which I’ve been one of a very small number (like one or two) of web developers. I’ve worked places where we’ve had to eBay printers to buy more storage space of our email server (true story). The last two companies I’ve worked for failed to provide me with a computer that wasn’t frustratingly under-spec’d for the work I was being asked to do. Of course, I’m aware that I’ll be swapping one set of annoyances for another, but it really is nice to turn up on my first day to “here’s your MacBook Pro – we knew you’d want a Mac” and “go down to IT and get a screen – ask for one of the big ones!”. It doesn’t take much to make a webdev happy.

Anyway, as I’ve stated on my new about page – and as one is required to say in these circumstances – everything I write here continues to be my own personal views and opinions, and not that of my employer. Yahoo! has spokespeople, and I’m not one of them. I’m a web developer. Also, don’t expect a great shift in the content of this site. There are plenty of places you can go to read about how ‘fantastic’ the YUI library etc is, and this isn’t going to be one of them. Promise.