The online home of Toby Wilkinson

Web Development Skills

I’ve had a keen interest in the web and it’s workings since I first encountered it almost fifteen years ago. From my rather humble first pages, I’ve been keen to make more happen on the web, to make content more dynamic. I’m lucky enough to be living in exciting times, new technologies and new ways of interacting with and using technology are springing up all the time. I still find the web as exciting today as it was in those early days viewed through a skreechy modem…

Key Skills:

  • Expert knowledge of writing standards compliant, functional HTML and CSS both by hand and programatically
  • Expert knowledge of a variety of popular server-side web programnming languages PHP, Perl, Ruby etc.
  • Good knowledge of client-side programming with
  • Thorough knowledge of data transmission and storage formats (XML, JSON etc.)
  • Broard working knowledge of various SQL and SQL like databases.
  • Good knowledge of a variety of web frameworks (Joomla, Prestashop, Rails, WordPress).

As time has moved on, the line between web development and traditional application development has become increasingly blurred. I’ve worked on many interesting projects requiring existing data and processes to be adapted to work over the web.

Now we have web frameworks to do much of the boring work. This has led to a new set of challenges, new work has to be shoehorned into modules templates and addons. Each of these is its own set of challenges bringing a new set of rules to follow each time.

Examples of projects I have worked on are:

Holiday Extras – I provided programming services for a number of projects to this popular travel company. I helped to develop their PPC advertising management system handling a multi-million pound budget. I developed an interface for the users to interact with the data and API scripts to reliably collect up-to-date statistics into a DB2 database. I also worked on a novel click-tracking system which helped the web content team to see how end users were interacting with their site and identify “hot” areas of pages where users’ attention was concentrated. I also performed a wide variety of maintenance and development roles including work on their in-house CMS system, evaluating various cloud hosting providers for their needs and extending their API system to handle the adoption of users from a legacy European system.

Activ Folkestone – A local business wanted a new website to update their online presence, expand their community involvement and lead the way into online sales. Working with the designer Lisa Thompson, we put together a new site using the open source Prestashop framework. Considerable customisation was required to ensure that it filled their requirements. I wrote a series of modules using PHP to ensure that the site was an exact fit to their requirements. Lisa and I then provide training and ongoing support to the staff in the use of the new site.

3 Steps Beyond – I was approached by an exciting new start-up keen to advance their concept and bring it to market. I developed a reporting interface to allow agencies to set up and share reports on web traffic. The project required a variety of aspects of web development, including an innovative “drag and drop” interface. Using PHP, jQuery and Ajax I was able to build an interface that was both responsive and intuitive. I also helped with the setup of the servers to run the reporting interface and the tracking system.