Rick Hurst Web Developer in Bristol, UK


Category: portfolio

Aardman.com goes live

I was really chuffed to be asked to help the aardman online team out with the build of the new aardman.com site. I took the supplied photoshop designs and created HTML/CSS templates that were then handed over to be integrated into the CMS. I’m currently doing a lot of freelance work for digital agencies and I haven’t been able to talk about the websites i’ve been working on, so it’s great to be able to shout about this one!

aardman.com website screengrab

Holistic Community website rebuild/ reskin

One of the projects I have worked on recently is the Holistic Community website – a directory site for Therapists, Training Courses and Treatment rooms. This was an interesting project, as I was originally approached to make a few amends, but the previous developer refused to hand over the php code running the site, therefore the only option was to rebuild it, based on the existing site and a database export. I have to confess that I went about this project the wrong way – the database structure was far from ideal, and also I subcontracted the initial build to an apprentice who was learning php, who then left halfway through the project! As a result I had to rewrite all of the code.

In retrospect this would have been an ideal project to build on a framework or CMS, but this would have been too steep a learning curve for the apprentice. By trying to initially replicate the old site (including numerous multi-page forms), and using the existing database structure (resulting in lots of convulted multiple table joins), and using a novice php developer, and taking it on at a time when I was too busy with other projects, the project dragged on a bit and I probably did more than double the amount of work that I needed to – not ideal on a fixed-price project! However, the bright side is that it is a nice example of a rebuild/ reskin, and I am full of ideas about how I could undertake similar projects in the future in a much more efficient way.

new sweetcron/ codeigniter based site Too Old To skate

too old to skate

I’m pleased to say i’ve achieved another of my 2009 goals, by launching the (unfinished) new version of one of my personal projects Too Old To Skate. The main site is now running php/codeigniter based sweetcron, which is used to pull content in from the original wordpress, flickr, delicious, twitter, vimeo and a friends blogger based site. I have plenty more planned for the site, but little to no time to do it, so I thought i’d upload the site unfinished in the meantime to allow myself to do incremental updates, rather than be embarrased by a holding page.

Amongst the plans are:-

  • bring in the content (articles and photo galleries) from the now defunct plone(2) based DFR Skate zine – i’m thinking some sort of PHP/ codeigniter* front-end sucking in content (as XML/JSON or even plain HTML) from a Plone 3 site acting as a content server. Doing something like this with Plone has been on my mind for years! Maybe I should stick this in as a 2010 goal. Alternatively it may just end up as a skinned Plone 3 site on another subdomain – either would be good.
  • Skin the blog to fit in with the main site.
  • Other awesomeness – this is a non-commercial personal project and therefore my playground 😉

*Having now played with both codeigniter and cakephp, I think I prefer cake. However as sweetcron is codeigniter based it would be plain silly to be using cake on the same project.

Adventures in cakephp

I’m part way to achieving one of my 2009 goals – i’ve got a commercial project live using cake php 1.2. The site is Kudos Business technologies – a company who specialising in LED lighting and other technologies aimed at lowering environmental impact and saving money.

kudos business technoliogies - led lighting and other low impact technologies

The site has actually been refactored from a static HTML site, most of the pages are still static, but make use cake’s routing, page templates, layouts and elements. The news section is dynamic, and was very simple to put together, but i’m only half way there – currently I haven’t got any proper admin forms – that will have to be phase two! The learning curve so far has been very small – i’m looking forward to taking it a bit further.

archived comments


I’ve been using Cake for a while so if you need help with anything feel free to give me a shout. Also check out Symfony. It’s like cake, but without the limitations of supporting php4.

Dan W 2009-01-28 22:17:32

Good work Rick – might want to remove the default cake favicon though

Andy Gale 2009-01-29 09:50:17

Hi Rick,

Great work on completing your first commercial site in CakePHP.

You mention you use mostly static page content and that the news section is dynamic… I assume your new page has a controller all of its own right now? And that the static pages are stored in the views/pages directory? If so then your routing is nicely done, usually I would expect to see the /pages in the url – the fact that you have managed to mix the pages and the controllers in your routing is great and something I have never considered doing.

Take a look at a commerical site we had a requirement to create … http://www.cheaperagain.co.uk/quote – you will notice that the URL has /quote in – quote is the name of a model/controller… and most pages on the website fall under 2 models, the quote model and the provider model. There are 3 pages that are under the prebuilt /pages directory… terms and conditions and help etc – if you click those you will see they pull up the pages/whatever in the URL.

I’m going to have to bare your post in mind for the next cakephp project we start on, and make sure I tidy the routing up fully.


James Mikkelson 2009-02-21 10:04:24

New drupal based site – Green Infrastructure in the west of England

Olivewood have recently launched a new drupal based site Green Infrastructure in the west of England.

Green Infrastructure in the West of England

This has actually been quietly live for a while now, but wanted to monitor how it coped with the fairly heavy load exerted by the AJAX based mapping tool, which bought our dev server to it’s knees during original user testing, before being moved to a server with a bit more RAM.
GI Mapping tool