February 27, 2009 by bealers
Update: we’ve disabled the bot now as it was a simple proof of concept that has served its purpose
You may have heard of Twitter.If not then let’s just say that it’s a cross between SMS and blogging; a way to tell people that choose to listen to you - your followers - whatever you like as long as it’s only 140 characters long. Try it. You may not get it immediately but chances are you’ll be hooked pretty quickly, especially if you’re proactive in building your network.
Here at Siftware we love Twitter and have been using it for a quite a while. We like it so much that we felt it was time to start putting our web development skills to use by utilising Twitter’s API. We’ve a few ideas in the pipeline but our first one was a bit of fun.
@anonymise is a twitter bot, written using the Symfony web development framework that sits there waiting for people to follow it. When they do it immediately follows the user back and sends them a direct message with usage instructions. The user can then choose to unfollow @anonymise again.
When any user being followed by @anonymise sends it a direct message @anonymise will simply tweet the contents of the message verbatim but NOT divulge the identity of the original sender. Simple.
You can also choose to follow us on Twitter using @siftware.
Tags: twitter | Comments (0)
February 2, 2009 by bealers
On Saturday the 31st of January a new Directgov innovation blog was launched at the UK Government Barcamp in London. The Directgov | innovate developer network has been provided to “inform the greater developer community about available resources, to provide a platform to connect with one another, and to showcase new ideas with the aim of supporting and encouraging innovation.”
At Siftware we are particularly interested in the new service as we were closely involved with its rollout by taking the supplied designs applying them to the leading open source blog Wordpress as a Wordpress Theme.
Sharon Cooper the Director of Strategy and Proposition at Directgov said of our involvement: “Siftware were extremely responsive to our needs. They did a good job and within a tight time window.”
Directgov is the government’s flagship digital service, welcoming more than 11 million visitors every month.
January 4, 2009 by bealers
We’ve moved our office and we are now slap-bang in the middle of Malvern with better transport links and many more lunch options.
Our new address is:
The Darwin Rooms
1 Worcester Road
Tel: 01684 576 700
October 8, 2008 by bealers
Siftware’s first web application sw0p.com came one step closer to being a reality today when we launched the holding site in the run up to us launching it as a beta service around Christmas time.
sw0p.com will allow individuals to trade their items and skills with other members with no money changing hands. The site will be free for all to use with no limitations.
Behind the scenes we are working hard to finsh the last few major tasks and we’re really looking forard to launching this service in the coming months.
Tags: industry, news | Comments (2)
September 19, 2008 by bealers
Last weekend I attended my first barcamp ‘unconference’ in Bath called, unsurprisingly, Bathcamp.
It was absolutely brilliant.
There were around 60 attendees a number of whom are now listed on the bathcamp blog and the split was around 70%/30% web geeks and educational/knowledge management types.
There were three areas at the venue and the talks varied from the more standard technical web development techniques (which I mainly attended) to how to make a good Espresso and my personal favourite which was Frankie Roberto’s dead-pan delve into the world of the serious Lego geek.
Siftware sponsored the booze for the evening at the venue and I put on a ‘tub quiz’ with prizes, amongst others, of a $50,000,000,000 note. The quiz seemed to go down rather well; I know I enjoyed putting it together.
Kudos to the organisers of the event whose forward planning ensured the weekend went very smoothly. A particularly big shout out to Mike Ellis, Tim Beadle, Frankie Roberto, Lisa Price & Steve Pope who I’m sure didn’t sit down for the 2 days.
I made some great new friends, put faces to names I’ve known for 10 years and have not laughed so much in ages (you know who you are!). Overall I came away on Sunday feeling inspired and with that warm glow you get after putting another good time in the bank.
A few other attendees have blogged about the day or posted their slides. I’ll add them to this list as and when I get the links:
Here’s the quiz slides with answers, as requested by a few people. Apparently it was too hard?
Here’s the answer sheet.
Tags: bathcamp08, industry | Comments (5)
September 2, 2008 by bealers
Today Google released its new web browser called Google Chrome as a public beta, you can download it here.
You could ask why bother releasing a new browser when there’s IE 8 in beta, Firefox 3 recently released, Apple’s Safari and at least 10 people use Opera. They pre-empted this perfectly reasonable question by releasing a really well done comic strip explaining their reasoning, prior to today’s launch.
First impressions after the speedy install and it automatically importing my Firefox bookmarks (particularly the toolbar & without adding extra rubbish) are good.
- Speedy rendering (though to be fair Safari is also based on WebKit)
- Folder like tab that one can drag out into a new window (with page preview)
- The magic auto complete address/search bar seems pretty clever and I’m also liking the colour coding in the addresses
- Text areas in web pages are stretchy
- There’s a task manager showing what each tab is doing/using
- Gmail hasn’t crashed yet
I’m not so keen on:
- No taskbar, though I see that mousing over links brings up a small tooltip at the bottom of the screen
- Find is Ctrl-F and I so love the ‘/’ of Firefox matching Vim’s control
- Really missing right-click and left for back (using mouse gestures)
- No web developer toolbar (another FF extension) or ability to see at a glance if a page validates though to be fair it’s very early days
- Really surprised to see that zoom has taken a step backwards and doesn’t zoom images.
So in reality my only dislikes are that I’m missing some Firefox add-on features which for a browser only released in the past few hours isn’t too shoddy at all especially as I could ‘make do’ with the in-built debugging support.
I’ve set it as my default browser and we’ll see how I get on for a extended period, first signs are promising, though.
Tags: industry | Comments (0)
It was nice to see today that the custom tag that I built for CMS Made Simple has exceeded 4000 downloads.
Random Global Content Blocks enables the template editor to specify a range of content blocks to show and then the tag does the work of deciding which one to display per page load. It even supports a regular expression syntax so as long as a given naming convention is adhered to new items can be added through the CMS without the need for template modifications.
This would mean that any global content block starting with the name starting case_study_ would be included in rotation, randomly.
You can download the tag here or read more about Siftware’s CMS Made Simple installation and customisation services.
Tags: cms, php, smarty | Comments (0)
August 29, 2008 by Cathie
We’re delighted to launch the newest version of our website which replaces the original one launched 2 years previously.
This version incorporates the blog you’re reading which we’ll be posting to with a mix of company information and technical snippets. It has also been updated with a slightly tweaked brand and details of our streamlined service offerings to better reflect the work we’re now doing.
In summary these service offerings are:
We’ve also added a briefing form for users wishing for us to provide a quote.
Tags: news | Comments (0)
March 10, 2008 by bealers
The Multipack describes itself as “a community of multi-talented Web professionals from across the West Midlands” and attending one of their meetings has been high on my list for over a year now. This Saturday I finally made the effort to get to Birmingham for the March meeting and it was definitely worth it.
I got there a bit late so didn’t manage to speak with all of the 15 or so people in attendance as the seating was initially an awkward L-Shape but they seemed a friendly, knowledgeable bunch and people started moving around soon enough. Discussions ranged from Mark James (of FamFamFam fame) describing the features of his pseudo-UML source code generator, the merits (or not) of twittering ones every mundane thought and super-mobile notebooks. I also got to put a face to the name of Owen Gregory, had a general business chat with Noel Welsh and Dave Gurnell of Untyped, bumped into Sukhi Dehal again and had a good chat with Tim Gaunt on the train home who also happens to be a fellow Underscore subscriber.
I’m particularly excited by The Multipack as it’s (as far as I know) the only general interest gathering of web types round these parts, I like its relaxed beer and geekage attitude and although it’s a bit of a mission for me to get to - 1.5 hr journey each way including a £20 cab fair for the last stretch home from the train station (although that’s my fault for wanting to drink and living in the middle of nowhere) - I do think Birmingham is a sensible location for the meetings. I did also raise the subject of there being a mailing list aspect to the group which, as I’ve mentioned previously elsewhere, would mean that people don’t have to remember to visit a website to have a conversation; everyone’s got email, right?
If you’re into web and available for the next meeting on the 12th of April then you should definitely come along. It’s already in my diary.
Update: There *is* a mailing list, hooray. http://groups.google.com/group/multipack
Tags: industry | Comments (0)
January 20, 2008 by bealers
As long-term PhpED user I’ve always been well aware that I was not making the most of some of the more powerful features of my IDE, particularly the debugging capabilities. Well this week I finally got debugging set-up properly and as per most of my other blog posts I’m listing what I did here for future reference and just in case it helps anyone else. (more…)
Tags: php, symfony | Comments (1)