Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A pragmatist’s view: What is Technical Architecture and how do you do it?

As a Technical Architect in a digital agency I am often am asked what the role actually means or does. This question comes from everyone including Technical Architects (TAs) and one that is actually quite difficult to answer. The reason for this is that the definition of Technical Architecture in the real world has a very broad scope and is different in different companies, projects and from person to person. It is often becomes a religious argument what being a TA means or what the best way of doing it is. Forgetting best practices, patterns, methodologies, techniques and opinions just for a minute, here a broad view ‘what’ a Technical Architect does and ‘how’ they do it. I'll even look at why in some cases. I'll leave where and who up to you.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Dealing with a Vampire Launch: What to do when your site bursts into flames

We're gonna need a montage.
I've written about Vampire Launches in the past. For new comers, a 'Vampire Launch' is when a site or application is launched and has a brief and glorious moment in the sun but then suddenly and horrifically erupts into flames. Vampire launches do happen and when they do, an expert firefighting team needs to be deployed to deal with technically complex and mysterious issues in a pressured and emotional environment. Having been involved in a few crises in my time and watching and participating in their resolution, these are some things I've learnt along the way.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Effective Resource Management in Web Application Development

Mmmm. Chocolate.
My wife and I recently found ourselves in a frustrating predicament. Over a year ago we made a decision that we needed to move house and therefore needed to save money so we could afford a deposit. We started our saving initiative my way. I created an elaborate spreadsheet which listed our outgoings in meticulous detail. Well, the outgoings that I knew about like bills and mortgage payments. I then added in lines on our living expenses and luxuries. I was very generous about how much we needed to live and how much we could splash out on for fun. I crunched some numbers and the end result looked pretty good. We could save a tidy sum every month and be living in a new house before you could say ‘white picket fence’.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Social networks: If you build it, will they come?

Don't do what Costner did or you will fail.
Social is pretty big now, right? If you ask me what main things the next generation have which I didn't have growing up, I'd say Facebook, Twitter and Apps. It's no surprise then that businesses are desperate to get involved and use social networking to boost their profile and their profits. And while they're at it they will create a couple of apps too.

There are many different strategies to leverage social media. Some companies try to use what's already there. They will litter their web site with Social calls to action. Do you 'Like' this page about the latest innovation in washing powder? Of course I do! Which person of sound mind wouldn’t? Would you like to tweet and then re-tweet this great deal on life insurance? Did you have to ask? #Death is trending right now.