Introduction

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 neighbourhood-planning.co.uk 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 →