Well I've managed 2 blog posts in the last 9 years - the New Year's coming around, and New Years resolutions with it, so I thought I'd try and start blogging again. A lot of the work I do these days is open source so no excuses this time!
Since the last blog post I've found myself working on several Government Digital Services projects - first for Dept for Education and now for HMRC. For those not 'in the know', these are the various services you'll find on the GOV.UK website, all using the same consistent look and feel.
Get school experience service
For Dept for Education we first built a booking service for prospective teachers to arrange time in schools to gain experience of teaching in classrooms. As with many GDS services with was quite simple for a user perspective with plenty of complexity hidden away behind the scenes with integrations to the DfE internal authentication system and with data from the public held within one of the departments Microsoft Dynamics instances.
Get into teaching
Another DFE project, Get into teaching was a promotional website to drive up teacher recruitment numbers. As with Get school experience this project integrated with the Microsoft Dynamics system behind the scenes for data management. This was a much more UI focused project so didn't use the GOV.UK look but followed a similar feel and made extensive use of Stimulus and Rails Components to build a nice dynamic feeling website which our content authors could easily edit and update.
Get teacher training adviser service
A GOV.UK service using the standard GDS Design System to apply for a teacher training adviser, who can help guide prospective teachers through the process of becoming a teacher. Multi-step wizard process using the same pattern I'd built for the wizards in Get into Teaching.
HMRC Online Trade Tariff
This is 4 separate ruby applications providing trade tariff information to traders who wish to import or export goods with the rest of the world. Quite an interesting set of applications - they predate many of the current tooling around the GOV.UK Design System but are steadily being ported to take advantage of it. The backend uses the Sequel ORM in place of ActiveRecord because the nightly data feed from Dept for International Trade expects to populate a table with a log/append style set records of changes - eg INSERTing a 'delete' record to mark an earlier recorded as deleted. These are then 'presented' via a database view, which in turn is then exposed to the rails app via the Sequel ORM. The applications themselves are all Rails 6.1 but have a mixture of quite modern code and some legacy Rails 2/3 era code, though the old code is steadily getting modernised with every improving test coverage.
As well as working on the GDS projects, I've also been worked on a couple of features for Gnome-Builder - my current text editor - adding support for ERB files (both HTML and JS) and adding Rubocop support for inline linting.
Prior to switching back to using Linux I'd been a TextMate user for over a decade and whilst there was some initial learning curve I've settled right in to using Gnome-Builder. I'd encourage any other TextMate enthusiasts switching to Gnome to give it a go. It feels native to Gnome in the same way TextMate does on a mac and offers many of the same features.
The other project I've been working on relates to Geminispace but I'll save that for another post.