Technical work

I’ve worked on all sorts of technical challenges and projects over the years – some my own, with others, and for others. Here’s a few highlights.

The agency projects…

Big White Wall – AJAX infinite panning – 2007 (@ Anorak Digital)

Working with the founders from initial concept for their digital community for mental health, they envisagioned a virtual wall of artwork from their users. I devised an AJAX based infinitely pannable, and zoomable ‘wall’ with ‘bricks’ of user generated artwork loading on demand, inspired by Google Maps.

Anorak digital – Accessible font embedding – 2006

Our designers loved using non-web fonts, and our team hated cutting header images out of photoshop. I devised a system that would replace headers with the desired fonts whilst preserving accessibility. Simply by adding a JavaScript tag to the page, the required CSS and images would be automatically generated, embedded and cached.

Anorak digital – Delivery platform & SOA – 2006

I introduced highly available infrastructure at Rackspace to enable us to host worldwide campaigns for customers. CruiseControl and Web Deploy were used for continuous integration and automated deployments, practices that were rare in the digital agency space at the time. I architected and built out a set of core set of services for features repeatedly needed for customer campaigns Рfull text search with Lucene, competition mechanics, user registration, email delivery.

The pre-graduation years…

vCommune – Content management – 2005

As my third year project at university, I wrote about the challenges building and running a large scale CMS, which I’d been doing since 1999 on Developer Fusion. This included storing hierarchical data in a relational database, finite state machines to model content management workflow, hashing passwords and SQL injection risks, n-tier architecture, rich content editing, CAPTCHA’s to block spam, desktop applications consuming the same public APIs, and tackling concurrency issues with multiple authors editing the same content.

London Pass – e-Commerce platform – 2002 (@ mission communications)

I built a new e-commerce platform for LondonPass that at the time processed several £M a year in transactions, integrating with WorldPay and SecPay and addressing various security risks with their existing platform.

WebZinc – Commercial code library – 2002

I created the C# version of WebZinc for WhiteCliff, a commercial component that allows developers to extract content from web sites, parse content reliably and automate form filling tasks. Tackled some fun browser integration, intelligent text parsing, documentation packaging (remember CHM files?!), ilmerge-ing the dependencies to create a simpler package, packaging with MSI, and learning the challenges of supporting and versioning an API that other engineers depended on.

Developers Pad – Code editor – 1999

One of my first significant personal projects, I created a free customizable development editor written in Visual Basic, which was reviewed in leading magazine, PC Pro. I was pushing the limits of what was possible with VB at the time – using low-level Windows API calls to build UI features like syntax highlighting, dockable windows (there wasn’t a standard way of doing this back VB days…), and extending the standard ‘common dialog’ windows.