Tag Archives: development

GitHub Pages

Playing with Pages

GitHub has a super cool feature called “Pages” which lets you host a website from a GitHub repository on your GitHub account. Hosting from GitHub makes deployment really simple and slick.

Tom wanted to use his Pages site to host a web version of his resume which was such a great idea that I totally copied it. Tom’s is really awesome though – he built it using LaTeX to create both the html and a really neatly-formatted pdf from the same markdown file.

I helped a little with the html side of things. Continue reading Playing with Pages


I’ve been working on a new app lately. It’s a sort of grocery list creator based on recipes that you enter into the application.

The inspiration is that I’m sick and tired of going to the supermarket every day and trying to think about what to cook each evening. Neither Tom or I have time these days for such foolishness, so the app helps you plan a menu of meals and then gives you a list of ingredients required for that menu. We’re using it so that we only have to think weekly about what we will cook and we can do all the shopping just once for the whole week.

Continue reading Pronoms

Spanish Summer of Code

I never mentioned it because I didn’t want to jinx it, but a little while ago I applied to participate in an intensive web development course run by Ironhack. The course runs for 8 weeks in Barcelona, Spain and covers all the latest in front end development. Well, after two interviews and a few email conversations with previous students, I found out that I have been accepted! Continue reading Spanish Summer of Code

Don’t forget the Germans!

My post about a project that forgot the French reminded me of a similar – but not so serious – issue that has happened a few times since moving to Germany. We updated our address with various institutions once we had found a permanent residence on Cologne: bank, insurance, etc.

It’s a small difference, but Germany has a different format for addresses. Instead of ## Street, they use the format Street ## (why is it formatted differently?? Good question! I wish I knew…). Continue reading Don’t forget the Germans!

Don’t forget the French!

I still regularly think about a project that I worked on where we – without even realising it! – completely excluded a huge portion of our potential users. The project was a reasonably complicated registration and payment gateway for an online product: users purchased an account to use the website.

After launching a version of the project in Canada, we began receiving emails about problems with the registration almost immediately and could not work out what was causing the problem. The users were doing everything right and then the application would simply stall at the payment section and refuse to proceed with the transaction. We checked all the fields to submit the transaction and couldn’t find any errors from our side at all. We tried using false postcodes or incorrectly formatted Canadian phone numbers and found that the system was able to return a helpful validation error each time.

What was the problem? Why were so many potential users stalling within the process? Why were we getting so many angry emails in French?? Céline and François were emailing us, but John and Anna were not. Was our application form discriminating against French Canadians?!

I tried putting through a transaction for one of our emailers using only dummy credit details and it all worked. So, it wasn’t the payment that was stalling it. What was it?
Then I saw that I had anglicised the name. Celine instead of Céline. Add the accent back in and… failed transaction. So, our application would not accept an acute. Or a grave,  a circumflex or a cedilla.

It turned out to be a simple developer fix to upgrade the application to accept foreign characters, but it taught me a valuable lesson: don’t forget the French.