Rick Hurst Web Developer in Bristol, UK


Category: bristol

Wallace and Gromit get google doodled

wallace and gromit google doodle

Last week I helped aardman digital set up the Wallace and Gromit site to cope with a huge traffic spike resulting from the 20th anniversary site relaunch and “google doodle” logo displayed on the google site across 12 countries. Working with the in-house team, I wrote a script to scrape the live site and create a static copy. The initial scrape was done using wget, and then a command line php script was used to run through the site doing some searching and replacing and renaming of various things. With thousands of pages of forum and user uploads the script took a while to run! The static site was then transferred to rack space cloud hosting which could be scaled on demand as the traffic spiked. Traffic to the main url was then diverted to the static copy of the site, based on the idea that most people would rather browse than interact. Anyone who wanted to log into the forum was then transferred to the live site.

FOWA Roadtrip Bristol

On Tuesday I went to the Future of Web Applications Roadtrip social at the watershed in Bristol. Carson Systems put some cash behind the bar and we stood around, talked geek and drank the free beer. There was an excellent turn out, probably the biggest turnout of any Bristol web designer/ techie related social i’ve been to. There were loads of people that I didn’t get to speak to, but I caught up with some old friends, met some new people and put a few more names to faces i’ve been talking to on the underscore mailing list for years, but never met.

There’s some photos on Flickr here including one with me in it (check shirt, yellow “well done” sticker!)

Another write up on the live blog

Olivewood Data Technologies HQ

Although I still haven’t had time to build my new company a virtual HQ, a real HQ has been found in a small village called Ubley, a short commute out of Bristol. The reason for this location is that we will be sharing office space with my business partners other company (and the company I have been building an eCommerce web app for), who have warehouses on this site. I went to have a look today and was blown away by the view across blagdon lake. I won’t be working out here all the time, but i’m looking forward to it

View from Olivewood HQ

Olivewood Data Technologies HQ

Olivewood HQ

archived comments

All the cool web developers live in Blagdon.

(Or… er… work near Blagdon.)

Fintan 2007-08-07 10:53:37

Plone Skinning SkillSwap was a success!

Plone skinning Workshop by Rick Hurst at the Watershed in Bristol

I am really pleased to say that the Plone Skinning presentation last night was a success! About 30 local web designers/developers and people interested in using Plone turned up – a much higher attendance than my previous “Plone Demo” talk. I used the Plone S5 product to create a simple set of slides with a few bullet points to keep me from jumping around too much, but it was mostly a hands on presentation demonstrating a bit of basic customisation via the ZMI, then the process for creating a filesystem based skin.

I ran plone locally and used dreamweaver (in code view with large fonts) to do ZPT editing to keep things familiar for those designers who may be scared by the idea of terminals and Emacs!

I also tried to dispell the “all plone sites look the same” myth by taking a random design I had knocked up as a static html page and inserting the minimum possible ZPT markup to make it function as a front end plone main template rendering the body content and portlets (with none of the plone CSS).

The Q&A was really good – it ranged from basic questions about templating to “can plone do….?” type questions. I think I managed to field them all fairly well – i’ll have to wait to see the video (coming soon) to listen back for any clangers I may have made. I was disappointed however that all the free beer had gone by the end of the Q&A – a conspiracy maybe? “psstt… keep Rick talking while we drink all the beer – ask him if there is a cow-milking module available…”.

The event was sponsored by Knowledge West (room/projector hire/buffet) and beer kindly provided by Team Rubber.

archived comments

Any chance you could make the hacked main_template.pt available to look at?

Shane Graber 2007-01-17 13:35:33

Congratulations for this successfull event. Is there any Screencast available for the Plone comunity ?

Norbert M Haigermoser 2007-01-17 12:01:07

Yes the presentation was videoed and will be put online in the near future – I will post a link on my blog when it is ready.

Rick 2007-01-17 12:06:58

sure – http://www.rickhurst.co.uk/code/minimal_main_template.pt.txt

in fact the doctype slot and top slot aren’t strictly necessary here, but this shows the basics of rendering the body content and portlets (just cut and pasted from plone default main_template.

word of warning though, as this doesn’t render any links to places like the prefs_portalskin_form or the ZMI, inexperienced users may lock themselves out if not careful! Having a minimal template like this is only intended for where you use a seperate skin (i.e. usually Plone Default) for editing.

Rick 2007-01-17 14:48:17

Looking forward to seeing the screencast of this event when its ready, especially after recently watching the video on the first Plone event which was great – any idea when this might be up? 🙂

David 2007-02-25 11:03:02

I’ve been nagging the guy who is sorting the video – he is trying to get it sorted but has a genuine lack of editing time available at the moment i’m afraid 🙁

Rick 2007-02-25 19:54:59

It’s look something interesting. May I know where i should get the detail of Plone Skinning Information

Ritz 2007-12-27 02:24:30

Another Plone skillswap

I have volunteered to give another Plone related skillswap at the Watershed in Bristol (UK), on 16th January. The previous one (a general plone demo) went down well, and this time I am going to cover the basics of skinning a plone site, from basic Through The Web (TTW) customisation, to creating an installable skin product. I think it will be streamed live – check here for details. If you are in the Bristol area come along (it’s free)!

I am going to rig up a device that gives me an electric shock every time I say the word “umm..”, to train me up abit better for this public speaking lark..

archived comments

Volunteering to promote opensource web applications is good work and should be appreciated.

Also regarding

“I am going to rig up a device that gives me an electric shock every time I say the word “umm..”, to train me up abit better for this public speaking lark.. “

Find a Toastmasters club near you , (Bristol Toastmasters club) to improve your public speaking.

Web developers 2007-01-10 10:52:39

“I am going to rig up a device that gives me an electric shock every time I say the word “um..””, to train me up a bit better for this public speaking lark.. “

Interesting but a bit drastic. There was a guy who tried something like that with a wrist watch back in the 60’s. He wanted a little shock, not much more than a watch battery back then would provide. He woke up dead or didn’t wake up as the case may be.

There are better ways to reprogram the brain. Some will even argue that you can use the and-uhs to sound natural. The best is to just slow down, have a pause to allow what you said to sink in, and let the thoughts flow.

Best wishes and how ever you may fare, may you fare well.


Jonathan Steele, RN 2007-01-10 12:03:32

Hi Rick

Can you advise on a Toastmaster’s club in Bristol please?


Kind regards

meera kumar 2007-02-07 12:27:32

traffic jam on the street net and goodbye adsense

This morning I had a fantastic coffee but frustratingly slow wifi experience in Boston Tea Party, connected via street net – it went from fast to slow to standstill, although the signal was fine. Someone downloading a series of 24 across the road in starbucks maybe?

I was trying to get rid of the google ads on this site – i’m getting over a thousand page hits a month but have only earned myself $8 since I added them months ago – I can’t even cash that in until i’ve earned $100 so it’s just not worth selling my soul for…

Caffe Nero (the one directly next to Caffe Gusto)

Today I find myself in Caffe Nero on the triangle. I’d always discounted it before because I didn’t realise it had an upstairs bit and I didn’t like the idea of using my laptop downstairs with people queing for coffee looking over my shoulder. I’m presented with three possible wifi connections – StreetNet, SurfandSip and Caffe Gusto next door. I couldn’t get connected to surfandsip (and I think it’s a paid service anyway?), Streetnet seems a reasonable signal, and Caffe Gusto is weak but useable (a bit cheeky too considering, but it’s nice not to have to fill out the survey that you do with StreetNet)