Author Archives: Sam

Semantic Versioning when you change the required programming language version

The question Here are White October, we maintain a number of Open Source projects.  We’ve recently been discussing changing the minimum PHP version supported by some of them.  The question naturally arose as to how we change the version number when we do that. We follow Semantic Versioning, which says: Given a version number MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH, […]

“Tests as contract” – using automated tests to help teams work together

We recently worked with UNISON, the UK’s largest public sector trade union, to create a better online joining experience for their new members. The Online Join journey represents a key revenue stream for the 1.3 million member organisation. Joining the union is a multi-stage sign-up process which we helped them drastically simplify, decreasing the total […]

Put your money where your mouse is (again)

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” (Isaac Newton) “If we have built great digital products, it is by standing on the shoulders of free software” (White October) Okay, so our adaptation of Bernard of Chartres’ metaphor isn’t going to stand the test of time like Isaac Newton’s […]

Hackday 2017 – think like a startup!

What we did We’ve done various hackdays in the past, and have really valued experimenting with new technology and getting to know our colleagues better. However, we’d also found that our previous hackdays had been a bit tech-focused.  Whilst we’d tried to seize the opportunity for developers to teach others about what they were doing, […]

Put your money where your mouse is

“If you found this program useful, please consider making a donation.” You’ve probably seen those words quite a bit on software that you use.  I have too.  But it struck me a little while ago how much what we at White October do relies on hard work done by others for free in their spare […]

Connecting to Google’s Natural Language API with Python on App Engine.

Connecting to Google’s Natural Language API with Python on App Engine. Introduction As part of our recent White October Hack Day, I did something very basic using Google’s Natural Language API to extract a list of nouns from a sentence. The detail of what I used it for isn’t important here.  What is important is […]

Handling uploads with App Engine and webapp2

I’ve been developing a prototype with Google App Engine, webapp2 and Python for a few weeks now, and I’m really enjoying it. That said, some things have taken a bit more digging to work out.  This blog post is an attempt to explain one of those areas that I think could do with a bit […]

Can agile save the world? Using retrospectives to improve volunteer meetings.

Retrospectives and Global Justice White October is leading the way in applying agile software-development principles to the work of a web agency.  So it’s only natural that I’ve been wondering what agile could contribute to my spare time activities too. When I’m not leading the Backend Development Team at White October, I chair Global Justice […]

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