Ed | Nov. 16, 2020, 9:51 p.m.

The purpose of this blog is to collate the various web applications I have developed in one place. This blog is itself a web application which I have developed using the Django web framework.

A screenshot of this blog developed using Django and Bootstrap

A screenshot of this blog developed using Django and Bootstrap

Many of my web apps relate to my website, and serve to provide information and advice on the preparation of Neighbourhood Plans. However that site is not really the place to reflect on those projects from the perspective of a web developer, in terms of their strengths and weaknesses - or in terms of the learning experience they provided.

How I got into coding

After receiving a Raspberry Pi several years ago, I decided it might be fun to teach myself Python. I spent a long time just playing - following tutorials, and creating silly games and projects just for fun, and in an attempt to impress friends. Some examples of my 'fun' projects are:
  • A 'Hey Duggee' game, where the player had to help Duggee collect badges;
  • I taught a robotic arm to play noughts and crosses;
  • A raspberry pi which 'listened' for email commands, following which it returned info such as local weather, news headlines, performed calculations;
  • Web scraping my Parkrun results to keep a local record;
  • A daily email whch provided pictures and stats about a randomly selected Pokemon;
  • An email client which scrambled and de-scrambled the contents of emails it sent and received;
  • Send myself an email containing details of each train which passed my office window, at the moment they pass;
Eventually I realised that my Python skills could actually prove quite useful in my professional life. I used it for performing complex calculations, processing spreadsheets, and to analyse spatial data and automate map production in a GIS system.

I took an online Computer Science course from MIT to develop my skills further. Eventually I became a bit fed up with working with text-based scripts and wanted to create more applications with a user interface (I now love writing Python scripts and use them all the time!). I decided that to build some useful Python applications, I would need to harness the power of the web.

I have long been interested in neighbourhood planning, and decided to create a blog to share some useful advice and content for community groups - with the expectation I would learn a bit of html along the way.

From the initial dabbling in Python and html, this has lead me down a path of learning Django web framework, Wagtail CMS, Javascript, CSS, Bootstrap, Leaflet JS mapping library, geoDjango, postgres, and building a web server!

It now feels an appropriate time to look back and reflect on some of the projects I have developed, and maintain a record of new ones as I build them.

My blog posts will likely follow a similar format - a bit of summary and reflection, followed by an app to try out. For this introduction, launching the blog feels an appropriate place to start.

Launch →