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 fintech challenges… (WIP)

Domain specific languages   FundApps –

Powerful DSL to express regulation.

Security   FundApps –

 

The start-up challenges… (WIP)

In-line text ad placement   TechClicks – 2010

Placing a standard ad-tag on the page, we’d intelligently identify article content and place our AdWords style text ads to naturally appear within the the flow of the core content. Scaling to XX M impressions.

Automated SEO & Social Media   TechEye – 2010

 

Social graph crawling & authority detection   BlipNetwork – 2009

Identifying though leaders by combining social profiles using Google’s Social Graph API, extracting blog and article content and NLP to identify appropriate categories.

Automated code language conversion   Developer Fusion – 2009

 

The agency projects…

AJAX infinite panning   BigWhiteWall @ Anorak digital – 2007

Working with the BigWhiteWall 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.

Accessible font embedding  Anorak digital – 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.

Continuous integration, automated deployments, SOA  Anorak digital – 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 – full text search with Lucene, competition mechanics, user registration, email delivery.

The pre-graduation years…

‘CAPTIVE PORTAL’ for NETWORK ACCESS – 2005

Working with the IT office at college and a fellow student, we created a ‘captive portal’ to welcome and register students and conference attendees on the college network when they first connected a device, validating their identity with their student ID and mac address, and integrating with firewall configuration to then whitelist those devices.

Content management – vCommune – 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.

e-Commerce platform – LondonPass – 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. The platform included sales analysis for both boardroom to front-office, and I supported its implementation with training & troubleshooting.

Commercial web crawling library – WebZinc – 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.

Freeware code editor – Developers Pad – 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.