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Frontend Architecture for Design Systems by Micah Godbolt

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Chapter 2. Alpha Project

This past year, I was given an opportunity of a lifetime when asked to architect a solution for Red Hat that would let the company share its existing website “bands” across multiple company web properties. Having been on the initial build of Redhat.com, I knew the challenge ahead of me, but I’d also had time to establish the development team’s trust, and was given full control over the entire architecture of this project.

I call this an opportunity of a lifetime because it was! Our chicken-or-egg dilemma had been cracked. My team was given the opportunity to build a design system of significant scale, with sufficient technical support, that would eventually be displayed on a site with an incredible amount of traffic. This would be the project that I’d use to promote frontend architecture to my next project...and the project after that.

A Slow, Powerful Start

Our team was incredibly fortunate to be working with Red Hat at that particular time. Having just launched the original site redesign, we were in a bit of a feature moratorium. While we occasionally had a couple of bugs to squash, we were otherwise freed up for months to explore ideas of how we’d architect this new design system.

Despite the sheer amount of legacy code still in production at Redhat.com, we were given a blank slate to work with. Because the website was built on the concept of bands (row after row of unique content), the new elements we built could sit under or over existing bands. ...

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