My Web Development Stack in 2018
Nov 07, 2018
Over my time as a web developer, I’ve jumped between many frameworks and languages, attempting to find ones that work well for me. This seems to be pretty typical for developers who always have a take on the latest trend, either to quickly adopt or criticise it.
I really wanted to be a member of the Ruby crew for a time and ended up buying multiple copies of “Agile Web Development with Rails”, before having the opportunity to really apply it to a project and disposing of them because the material was outdated.
What’s in a name?
Oct 16, 2018
I usually get one of two looks when I announce the name of my company as “Nifty Digits”. Either a “Ah, I like that” or a raised eyebrow. Generally, it’s the person latter in years who might raise an eyebrow.
When I picked the name, I was still a PhD student at University and wanted something that “sounded technical (digits), but also sort of British (nifty)”. I also was heavily influenced number of web design bloggers at the time, particularly Dan Cedarholm’s blog “Simple Bits”.
Blogging with Hugo
Oct 04, 2018
All my most recent blog posts seem to be about updating my blog tooling (much as Rick commented earlier today). By recent, I obviously mean within the last 5 years.
I think I change blog platforms more often than I blog!
— Rick Hurst (@rickhurst) October 4, 2018
I back tracked through my blog updates and discovered I’ve used 5 different tools over my 15 year history on the web.
User Generated Forms with WTForms
Apr 18, 2017
As part of my past work with the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I worked with the survey runner team to add additional features to their Electronic Questionnaire which enabled the business to take regular surveys electronically via the web. During my final months there, I took it upon myself to tackle what was seen to be one of the projects major pieces of technical debt, its use of a custom form renderer.
There's No Such Thing as a Side Project
Jan 20, 2016
As a freelancer who has worked with clients using non disclosure agreements in the past, it’s often difficult to showcase or build a portfolio of my work. I’m not alone on this, I know. Sarah Parmenter for one has posted about this problem as a designer.
As a developer, I sometimes feel it’s impossible to easily show a concise representation of my work in a public arena anyway. How can I convey my role in what will usually be a complex process involving many other parties?
Blogging with Metalsmith
Jun 30, 2015
I’m switching blogging platforms once more. Moving from Wordpress to Jekyll enabled me to no longer deal with the multitude of updates and protected me hacks I could be susceptible to, but Jekyll being written in Ruby (a language I’m not overly familiar with) has been a problem. I’ve been able to cobble together scripts to deal with the custom parts of my blog build, but it’s never felt like home.
Processing Camera RAWs with OpenImageIO and Python
Sep 15, 2014
I recently discovered the library OpenImageIO, an awesome tool for reading and writing image files. What makes this of particular interest is the sheer variety of image files supported (BMP, Cineon, JPG, JPG-2000, GIF, DPX, OpenEXR, Targa, TIFF) (as well as variety of camera raw formats) and the fact it can perform image transformations upon them very easily. Given it’s designed for use in media and VFX environments it sounds like it will be useful for the type of work I’ve previously been involved with in stop motion.
Extracting Shot Thumbnails from a video using FFMPEG
Jul 31, 2014
Recently, Andy Davies asked the following question on twitter:
Any ideas on how I can easily convert a video to a filmstrip?
— Andy Davies (@AndyDavies) July 23, 2014
I found this pretty interesting, especially given I’d used various open source tools for assembling storyboards in the past. I knew it was possible to extract images at desired intervals and left it as that.
After a bit of digging last night, I discovered it’s actually possible to extract images based on changes in the video.
Splitting a date range in Python
Jul 01, 2014
Dates are one of those annoying things that shouldn’t be, but are regularly difficult in web apps. I used the following two methods in a recent page to neatly break a date range into distinct segments as part of a analytics app I’m currently working on. Hopefully someone else will find them helpful.
import datetime, calendar # Find the delta between two dates based on a desired number of ranges def datedelta(startdate, enddate, no_of_ranges): start_epoch = calendar.
Tips for being a more Productive Freelancer
Jun 16, 2014
Having heard the question raised on @workingoutshow, I thought I’d take some time to share the things that I’ve found have really helped me be productive in my work. These may not work for everyone, but hopefully some points will help for others.
Find a Good Environment The single biggest change I’ve found which has had a major impact on my work is changing my environment. We’re lucky enough to have a small garden at our house and with the arrival of my daughter back in October, I was quick to realise that working in the open plan lounge in our house just wasn’t a viable option any more.