Too Old To Skate rebuild

too old to skate screengrab

A month or so ago I took toooldtoskate.com offline as it seems that it was being used as a spam relay. It was running an ancient unpatched version of wordpress, so this came as no surprise. I thought it would be a good opportunity to rebuild it using django. So yet another django blog engine has sprung into existence – all really simple stuff though, just a couple of models and some class-based generic views, a familiarisation exercise rather than an attempt to build a wordpress clone.

A work in progress, as ever..

To Do

  • Commenting (i’ll integrate disqus)
  • Filtering by type/ channel (e.g. video and author)
  • Merchandise (I will sell at least one mug, in 2012 I swear!)
  • Blogroll/ links

Swoop Patagonia re-skin 3

screengrab of swoop reskin version 3

Last night Dan Fairs pushed the latest version of the django powered Swoop Patagonia site live. The site has several new content management features created by Dan with the help of Ben Mason allowing swoop staff to create and manage content in a more flexible manner and has been re-skinned (by yours truly) to use a new design created by the talented designer Ming Cheung. Another successful team effort!

Watershed 2011 rebuild

screen grab of watershed.co.uk

Last night the new version of the watershed website was pushed live. I had the pleasure of being one of many people involved in this project, which involved combining several different sites representing different projects within the watershed brand. I did the “first cut” of the HTML/CSS, working from a PSD provided by the design agency Document, and also helped with some of the Drupal theme integration, working alongside some talented watershed staff and other freelancers (i’d name them all here, but would inevitably miss someone).

Tate Movie Project



Earlier on this year I was fortunate enough to be asked to help the Aardman Digital team out on the companion website for the Tate Movie Project . This was one of the most fun and technically challenging website builds i’ve worked on. Working as part of the team, along with several other Bristol freelancers, I helped integrate the cakePHP site with wordpress and vanilla Forums. This was also one of the largest site builds i’ve worked on – multiple flash developers, PHP developers, designers, animators, front end developers and producers, all coordinated by subversion, unfuddle and the biggest wall of printed out screen grabs i’ve ever seen!

Swoop Travel site launched – first real Django project and first output from Foundry

swoop travel homepage

A couple of months ago, freelancers Dan Fairs, Dan Hilton and myself discussed the idea of teaming up to offer services beyond those that we could offer individually. We came up with the identity Foundry, and decided that we wanted to work on interesting projects, mainly using the Django framework.

No sooner had we come up with the idea, I was approached to build a website for new adventure travel company swoop travel, and I decided it would be an ideal project to work on as a collaboration. It has worked out really well and “phase one” of the site went live yesterday, providing information and filtered searches about trekking in patagonia, specifically trekking in the Torres del Paine national park.

This was my first Django project, and although all the heavy lifting was done by the two Dan’s while I concentrated on the front end, it was a great introduction to working with the framework. One of the big wins was having the admin site in place very early on in the project allowing all the trip and operator information to be input as we built the site. It was also my first proper introduction to GIT source control, which worked out well for distributed collaborative working.

Looking forward to the next phase of this project and more collaborative projects!

Rick on the Road – New blog about mobile working

Rick on the road blog

I’ve started a new blog covering my experiments with mobile working – from working in cafe’s and the garden to planned road trips. I’ll be covering reviews of equipment and gadgets, techniques, experiences and places visited.

It’s also a trial for a new offline blogging/CMS engine i’ve been working on (i’ll write another post about that later – something I hope to release before the end of the year).

Have a looksie:-
Rick on the road – adventures of a wannabe nomadic web developer

Aardman Timmy Time

aardman timmy time

Yesterday the www.timmytime.tv was was finally launched. I worked on this project along with the Aardman digital team building a bespoke php CMS and putting the site together to accommodate the mostly flash content with HTML alternative (where possible). XML was used to share the same data between flash and PHP, making it easier to maintain.

archived comments

Congratulations for this work Rick. It’s a really nice one!

nicolas 2009-12-24 09:32:26

Helping Aardman/ OTC Productions with Digital Asset Management



My web development career has taken another slight change in direction – i’ll be working for the next few months over at Aardman Features helping with the development of a digital asset management system built by OTC productions in Los Angeles. It’s an exciting project both because of the software and the fact i’ll be closely involved in a feature film production – something I find fascinating. The first few weeks have been chaotic, but I don’t think i’ve ever learned so much new stuff in a short space of time! I’m looking forward to learning much more over the coming weeks..

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.