Author

me.jpeg

I am a web developer specialising in web driven applications using PHP, MySQL, Symfony and Zend and I am currently working for the The Drum in Glasgow, Scotland.

Most days I can be found frantically coding away with EuroDance in my ears and consuming what I hope to be a never ending supply of coffee... happy days!

Behind the Paywall - An Insider Point of View

Over the years, a number of publishers have tried their hand at implementing a paywall. These efforts have been met with varying degrees of success:

paywall.jpg

The Sun introduced a paywall on the 1st August 2013, partially removed it in the summer of 2015 and removed it completely on the 30th November 2015. The Financial Times introduced its paywall in 2007, however, they chose to relax the paywall in 2015 in an effort to combat sluggish growth and The Times introduced its paywall in 2010, which recent news suggests it be performing well.

Read more

The Adblock Wars - Stop blaming the victim!

Much to the dismay of the advertising and publishing industry, Adblock is indeed here to stay. But, what is the industry doing about it? For the most part, pointing the finger and accusing the end user of underhanded tactics. To that I say: Pot, meet Kettle.

ad-blocking-article

Over the last few months I have noticed an increasing number of articles surround Adblock usage, most of which are coming from advertisers and publishers perspective.  Within these articles the underlying theme is that Adblock is evil and people using it are:

Read more

How To: Track Outbound Links

Great! You have got visitors on your website, you can see they viewed several articles, but where did they go next?

outbound-link-tracking.jpg

Everyone wants to know why their visitors left their website and this might be for a number of reasons including:-

Read more

Increasing the barrier to entry by simplifying the process

The more we browse the web the more our experiences influence how we design and develop our own products. We isolate and extract the best experiences and replicate them to help guide and inform users as best we can. But are we really in the best position to decide what works and what doesn't? The simple answer is, no!

plan-vs-reality.jpg

Over the last few months I have been working on a major new section of a website and I was recently invited to sit in on one of the user testing session that was set up to test the work I had done.  In the run up to the user testing sessions we had identified that parts of the user journey were quite complicated for new users and decided to pre-empt any confusion by implementing IntroJS so we could highlight the main parts of the product and tell the user what they were expected to do. 

Read more

Installing and configuring Symfony2

Symfony2 is a fantastic framework for developing your web applications and services and installing and configuring Symfony2 is extremely easy.  With the use of composer and the Symfony installer you can get started in just a couple of minutes and with only a few simple commands.

Symfony2 Welcome Screen

Symfony2 uses composer as the package manager for managing all of the dependencies within your applications and is a prerequistie to developing with Symfony2 so we will install this first.

Read more

Localtunnel: Easily validate your Schema.org and Open Graph Tags

Validating Schema.org tags, open graph tags and testing how sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will treat a link from your site has always been difficult to test in development.

localtunnelme.jpg

Some tools have allowed you to copy and paste HTML and although it is not necessarily the most convenience way to do things, it did allow you to progress.  Other tools require you to enter a URL which is crawlable in order to perform the validation but while the code changes reside in your development environment it can be a rather challenging to make these available for testing and generally there have been 3 options available to you: 

Read more

Disqus: How-To notify your authors of new comments

The commenting platform Disqus is really easy to get up and running and a great addtion to your blog.  However, there was one feature I needed for Inside the Agency that didn't appear to be as simple as it sounded.

disqus_logo_-_white_on_blue_background (1).png

An implied feature of any collaborative site (including Inside the Agency) is that each author who contributes to the site is notified of any new comments that were posted on their articles, but this is not a feature that Disqus handles directly.  Disqus can send notifications to each Disqus moderator when a new comment is posted but often the author is not a Disqus moderator so sending author notifications has to be handled outside of Disqus.

Read more

How-To: Tail Apache logs to Ubuntu Notifications

Like many other developers I aspire to write clean, efficient code and while I don't always achieve that goal I am always on the lookout for ways to help me in that pursuit.

error-notification-pic.jpg

It always makes me a little sad when I look at an error log file to try and diagnose a problem only to find it bloated with deprecation and notice warnings which are easily preventable with a little care and attention. I know you can turn off logging for these types of errors but I feel it is better to fix these issues rather than ignore them.

Read more

My Top 10 Linux Commands

Over the last couple of years my role has expanded significantly and I have really had to pick up some good tips and tricks to try and make me as efficient as possible.  One area that has had to grow has been my familiarity with linux, terminal and my comfort with the command line and so I thought I would share my top 10 linux commands which I use on a regular basis. 

work-731198_1280.jpg

Read more

Composer & Git Branch Names - A Doh! Moment

It was one of those moments of clarity followed quickly by a doh! from everyone.

children-593313_1280.jpg

We were trying to include a branch of one of our Symfony bundles in our project using composer but composer refused to see the branch.  We checked the repository and the branch was definitely there so we could not understand why composer was not able to check out the branch.

Read more

Advertisement

Digital Ocean

Chris's Reading List

www.thoughtworks.com

BFF @ SoundCloud

Our friends at SoundCloud embarked on a journey a few years ago that changed their system and moved it from a monolithic Rails application towards an ecosystem of microservices. Read more

The Drum

The Drum

Google'€™s AMP is bringing some much needed speed to mobile but the transition won'€™t be easy for publishers

A week after launching, the Google-led Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative has raised more questions than answers for publishers... Read more

SitePoint

SitePoint

Quick Tip: How to Permanently Change SQL Mode in MySQL

MySQL 5.7 introduced some awkward changes for older codebases and tends to break apps. Here's how to temporarily (or permanently) lower the strictness level Read more

SitePoint

SitePoint

How to Build Your Own Dependency Injection Container

Andrew Carter builds a Dependency Injection container from scratch, showing you how that rocket science is really just fireworks strapped to lego figures! Read more

AuthorityLabs

AuthorityLabs

13 Reasons Your Organic Traffic is in Decline | It's Not a Penalty

The landscape of search engine optimization has changed drastically in the last 3-4 years. Even as it changes, a lot stays the same. It has been very challenging to see a multitude of friends and colleagues approach me with problems that often seem beyond repair with clients that they have worked with for years. Read more

TechCrunch

TechCrunch

WordPress Sites Now Support Google’s AMP To Make Mobile Pages Load Much Faster

Google has some big plans when it comes to making the web faster on your mobile phone. The company just added AMP-enabled pages in its mobile search results... Read more