Coding line by line

His fingers fly across the keyboard. With each click a character appears on the screen. Josh Shapiro ’14 is in his own world, creating a new website.

Shapiro started coding this past summer when interning for his brother-in-law’s web design and development company, Spiegel Design Group.

“I am so privileged to have learned from some of the best,” Shapiro said. “SDG does big websites for companies and people like Brandy Melville, Drybar and Frank Ocean.”

While working at SDG, Shapiro taught himself how to code.

His brother in law and boss at SDG, Ariel Spiegel said, “Josh worked hard and learned a lot very quickly. It was a different learning experience because I pushed him to solve problems on his own and this turned out to be the best learning technique for him.”

After Shapiro became familiar with how to code, he and his older sister Julia Spiegel came up the idea of creating a website to help pregnant women figure out what to eat.  Spiegel, who had been pregnant the year before, had struggled with deciphering between which food she should and shouldn’t have been eating. After four weeks of hard work, the two created “Can Mommy Eat,” a search bar for pregnant women to explore the risks and benefits of certain foods.

After “Can Mommy Eat,” Shapiro started coding on his own time. He was hired by Maddie Lear ’13 and Conor Cook ’13 to design a website for their new online art and literary magazine, “Before the Letter.”

Over the course of three meetings, Lear and Cook relayed their vision of their website while Shapiro, using what he learned earlier in the summer, provided insight as to what was actually possible.

“The hardest part of the process was transforming the many ideas in their heads into a practical, interactive, aesthetically pleasing website that everyone loved,” Shapiro said.

After finalizing the design, it took a week to code. “Coding is difficult because every little mistake counts, and you have to go back later to fix it,” Shapiro said.

The website was up and ready for use the night before school began on Sept. 3.

“The website turned out better than we had imagined,” Cook said. “Josh was so helpful and resourceful. Web design is very complicated, but Josh helped us understand each step of the process. I don’t know what we would have done without him.”

Shapiro said, “I plan on coding as a hobby and hopefully will be able to do more websites during the year in computer programming.”

“The best part about coding is the final product because its always worth the effort,” Shapiro said.