Friday, April 21, 2017


Have been 20 years… (actually only 4 days).

I'm gonna buy a dinghy...

Gonna call her dignity...


I started on Tuesday at the Marischal College office in the center of Aberdeen. Wow, what a nice place to be. I thought working at the new AIBP office in Dyce would be hard to beat. But I think Marischal college has it by a nose. Super new, clean, open, wired for tech, great architecture, and right in the center of town.


My first day was a quick drive into the park and ride in Bridge of Don and jump on a bus. I had to laugh as on the bus was a mate from Udny also off to his first morning in his new job. We both had a report time of 9:30, we both had our smart new clothes on, and had our packed lunches and play piece in our school bags. It was good to pass the time on the first bus ride for a while.

It's official, I'm a Web Developer I have signed a year's contract and it says it on my shiny new badge.


I use it to swipe in and out every day and the system automatically tracks my time.  Hooray, no more time sheets! no more chasing someone for a cost code! no more having my cost code shutdown mid-job!  No more justifying to a PM that I need to book a couple of hours on their project having done the work they asked for.  It's like a shackle has been removed.


So what does Web Developer mean in reality? The first couple of days were getting settled in reading and working through presentations, core values, HSE, and the eLearning tutorials. I met 100’s of new people in the department. (all super nice).  It's a Hot Desking environment (working from home is encouraged) so it's sitting where you fancy that is free when you come in. Plugin your laptop, log into your phone (I have a real phone again… no more stupid Madonna headphones!). So far so good as you can be sitting with a group of different people every day.


I have been given a new Laptop (yay a windows PC!) It's Windows 7 and the full Microsoft Office 2010 suite.  I need to get the hang of the mouse scrolling in the wrong direction and having the @ symbol in a different location on the keyboard again.

I also have a few interesting applications installed as default which I am keen to see if I get to use.  These include Visual Studio 2015, Android SDK tools, and Java Development Kit.


Oh and one more that made me chuckle is PaintShop Pro... Oh, PaintShop Pro how I have missed you.  It was key to drawing graphics for Master Control Station screens many many moons ago. Many an hour I would be there drawing lines in a .BMP files frustrated knowing there were vector graphics packages out there.  But hey I may laugh, I have used it already to resize a graphic file.


I have also noticed quite a few of my new colleagues are Trello converts and have a number of Trello boards on the go to manage their tasks and workflows.


So I'm back to using Outlook to organize my work email and calendar. 


It's quite refreshing to start with an empty, inbox, empty calendar, and no overdue tasks.  I was hoping to set up the same rules linked to developer buttons that I had set up in my last job to manage my inbox.  So far I've failed and I think it's because some of Outlook has been locked down.  I like a button that runs a rule that moves any read mail that I have not specifically flagged into my archive folder. That way all that is in my inbox is something that is unread or flagged and I need to do something about it.  All the rest can go to the archive.  I will have another try to set up the rule.


I can’t give specifics on what I'm going to be doing (I'm still figuring it out myself) but I will be helping develop a new website in a team of about 6.

It will be based on Drupal, which similar to WordPress. I have had some experience with WordPress when I created the Hill of Fiddes website a few years ago.  It is a CMS which is one of my new TLA or buzzwords I need to remember… Content Management System.  It is based on the language PHP (another TLA… Three Letter Acronym), and it will be hosted on Amazon Web services.


I have run through the Code Academy Tutorial on PHP and it is a scripting language with similarities to HTML. It runs on the server-side of the web interface rather than being in the browser like JavaScript. Oh, and it needs a semicolon at the end of every line.  Don’t forget that semicolon!


The new website seems quite a big ask with lots of parts that need to be done.  It does however have an MVP for its first release.  Thanks, CodeClan if I don’t use the languages you taught me at least you made me aware of the Minimal Viable Product.  


I’ve had a great week and so far I am really enjoying it, I am loving the change and looking forward to what the rest of the year brings.  Watch this space!  Shout out to a mate Ross who likes nothing better than on a Friday (as he put it) "to read my blog on the loo!"  Thanks, Ross...