A last hurrah in the sun before we put summer in the rear view mirror...
WayneAugust was a very busy month with some year highlights!
Kicking off August we launched Cablenet’s new website! Established in 1997, Cablenet manufacture and supply high quality computer and network cabling. Now celebrating 25 years in business, it was an honour for Twilo to be commissioned to deliver a custom e-commerce website and marketing support for their 25th birthday campaign.
The first weekend of August was a scorcher and the perfect setting for Matt’s stag do. A group of us went to see Solomun at Finsbury Park. The stage looked incredible with sun coming through the trees and the picture below really doesn’t do it justice.
I’ve been good friends with Matt for getting on 20 years so I can’t wait to see him and Samira tie the knot in a couple of weeks. Roll on the wedding of the year…
I’ll leave you with this picture, and not one of the many pics I have of Matt in his bride fancy dress!
Another e-commerce website launched in August for Best Party Banners saw a huge upgrade in both their online presence and internal processes. The new website for Best Party Banners allows customers to personalise their own birthday banners, adding an age and name as well as choosing their fonts, colours and theme. This is a truly bespoke product solution which saves our client many hours every day.
Previously our client’s in-house designers would need to create a party banner for each order, individually in Photoshop, based off a customer’s requests. Their new e-commerce website generates a print-ready PDF file based on their customer’s chosen wording and colours, which our client prints after downloading the artwork which is generated automatically.
The capability of our developers to provide such functionality is something I love about Twilo as we deliver more than just a website for our clients. We are always focusing on ways that our websites can save time and improve processes, which allow our clients to run their businesses more efficiently.
August was a busy month on all fronts. I spent an amazing weekend in Rome taking in many of the tourist spots including Vatican City, Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese, the Spanish Steps and a guided tour of the Colosseum.
Rome is an amazing city with so much to see and do. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t had the chance to visit yet.
More live music and a large project on the horizon…
I managed to squeeze in a couple of trips down to London; the first was for my stag do (I won’t go into details), and the second was with some friends for a daytime festival in Victoria Park. The festival was called ‘Field Day’ and the main acts we traveled down to see were The Chemical Brothers (always amazing live), and Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk were instrumental in inspiring the birth of Techno, and were one of the earliest acts to use drum machines and synthesisers in this way, and watching their show really was mind blowing – they are true pioneers.
We have an exciting new project coming up that involves designing and building a modern finance app. We’ll be looking to use modern frameworks to create a fantastic product for our client, which will also be a lot of fun for us along the way. Due to the size of the application this will be a shared project across the whole web development team, so upfront there’s plenty of planning required. I have been putting together a detailed spec over the past couple of weeks, which will act as a blueprint for the project and hopefully keep everyone on track.
I’ve also had chance to develop a new product for one of our long term clients, which sell printed canvases. The latest product we’ve added is a city map, where the visitor can add their location and text to a canvas, and have a beautiful map printed, which they can hang pride of place at home, or give as a fantastic gift.
JakeFallen foul of the paparazzi...
To say August is generally a quiet month for businesses, I’ve certainly kept busy! Two new marketing retainers started, so there’s always a lot of background activity that needs to take place to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. The trick is to put the hard work in right at the beginning so you start off on good foundations. This leaves plenty of time down the line to optimise the marketing efforts and look for further gaps in the market to exploit. Starting off without being fully prepared means you’re chasing your tail somewhat right from the start – not a great position to be in.
A good example of this is how we’ve upped our SEO efforts, making little tweaks here and there to better solidify a marketing channel in the future.
Away from the office, I took full advantage of the last summer bank holiday of the year and took a trip up to Newcastle with my better half. We went to a 90’s festival right next to St James Park, it was a good excuse to don some questionable clothes and relive my youth a bit, I may or may not be a closet Blazin’ Squad fan now.
I also managed to get papped in my England World Cup ’98 top looking decidedly worse for wear – despite it being quite early in the day and I was simply relaxing on the grass. Pictures without context can be a killer.
On a side note, does anyone know a good defamation lawyer? Taking a picture of me having a snooze with my little pooh bear belly out does not constitute public interest! I’ve taken the decision to avoid popping the photo up here but if you’re an avid reader of the Chronicle Live, I’m sure you can find it there.
StephenRacking up the brownie points at home this month...
August was a fairly quiet month for me personally, the most exciting thing I ended up doing was a trip to Meadowhall with a bunch of friends, cinema, then a bite to eat at Wagamama for a bowl of ramen!
I did end up scoring some brownie points back home from the missus and undertook an ambitious deep clean of the house and sort out the back decking from getting consumed by the wild ivy that keeps coming back with vengeance…I am in the good books!
The project I had the privilege of working on this month was an exciting one as I got to create an exhibition design for a company called Cablenet for an EI Live event this Sept! I’ve never really gotten the chance to design anything like this before so it was a good learning experience for me. If you’re in Farnborough on the 14-15th September, pop by the Cablenet stand to admire my handiwork.
Another learning experience I had was the opportunity to design my first Mailchimp templates for two brands this month, now I just need to learn how to properly build them in Mailchimp itself.
AndrewExpanding my coding knowledge and battling through a huge sitemap...
Many skills have been obtained and developed this month through the performance of varying tasks and study. I’ve developed my knowledge of SQL through my apprenticeship which will provide me with better tools to create even better solutions when working on our web applications. There was a challenging job to create a sitemap on a website that contains much more than 1,000,000 product pages! I’ve also expanded my experience in file handling, sending a zip folder to a user.
Sitemaps are usually straightforward unless the website has many pages. In this case, sitemaps must be broken down. The challenge here was writing code that could do this automatically and efficiently with all the data that was in the database. This is where efficient code was important as you do not want too many database requests or too many loops so that when you are dealing with more than 1,000,000 pages, it doesn’t take unnecessary time.
A sitemap is important as it tells search engines what is on the site, it’s a hugely important factor in SEO.
During my study through my apprenticeship sessions, I have learned new tools such as creating views and using union operators. These are elements of SQL I had previously not used and was not aware of. Views are something I would like to experiment with in the future; it is a clean solution for accessing commonly retrieved data with simpler queries. If you often find you are doing similar JOIN queries throughout the application, views are a good tool to have those joins already created. They are also just handy for giving someone access to a table where you don’t want them to see certain fields or records.
Who likes cheese and eggs?
Things got a bit cheesy this month, as I started a build for a new, award winning, British made cheese company, their cheese will be hitting supermarkets soon!
This build has been a lot of fun and again improved my knowledge in HTML, CSS, PHP and JQuery, as we mix parallax effects and smooth scrolling to create a gooey, cheesy user experience.
Alongside this, I have been working heavily on improving and updating our in-house custom CSS framework Grilla. Following a web development meeting, it became apparent that we had features that were not being used and there were some features we were constantly adding to our Custom CSS file that should be implemented into our Core files. Working on this has been extremely beneficial as I now know the framework inside out which will drastically improve my development speed.
Outside of work, there has been a change to my usual get home, workout, relax, go to bed routine, as I near the end of my first year of study at university. The workload has increased drastically as more assignments that felt like a life time away have crept up on me. So it’s been less relaxing and a lot more studying.
Alongside this, the gym has also been kicked to touch as the new rugby season approaches. Pre-season has started so it’s back to chasing an egg around a field twice a week and wondering why I didn’t do more cardio in the off season!
Fun Fact: I use to play at national level and was selected for the Cheshire U19 squad back in my youth (the phrase youth used liberally, I’m only 23).
Other than that this month has been full of learning and improving my development skills.
Joke of the Month
What’s the difference between a vegan and a computer programmer? One is disgusted by a rack of lamb and the other is disgusted by a lack of RAM.
Photo of the Month
And to end, here's something cool we've seen this month...