I’m not sure what happened to the 2022 review, but here is a summary of the last two years from a work perspective, including ShedCode work and a new job for me.
Members of Parliament after 1832 normalising
Hopefully this will be completed in 2024.
Standing orders build and demo
The initial build was during 2022, incorporating an academic data set of Parliamentary Standing Orders. The final changes to the application to be ready for hand over will be happening in early 2024.
Some fun was had with the URL and domain was it needed to be available at https://api.parliament.uk/standing-orders/ whilst actually being hosted on Heroku behind the scenes. All possible, but working out the correct incantations for Rails and the proxying set up took a few calls!
An app which contained historical records from Parliament’s Hansard in a huge database, built in 2011, had fallen behind on maintenance and no longer worked. I was given access to the code repo, so got to work on getting it up and running again. It’s not publicly available I’m afraid, but is used by the History of Parliament team. It is always fun doing a bit of code archaeology!
Carried on working with Accel as staff until May 2022, then Freelance from then onwards. Had some fun using dbt and graphql but still unable to de-commision the application I’d been hired to do! I’m stepping away from this work now as the organisation has hired a new contractor.
Drone Investigation App and API
It was time to decommission the API which used to power The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s Drone Investigation bit of their site. This app had a fair innings, but I was, in effect, maintaining it for free on launch in 2016! Once Heroku removed their free tier, it was a gonna.
Choice engine decommissioned
Tom (Stafford) and I decided that it was time to switch off the Choice Engine and archive the content. The changes to Twitter’s APIs and Heroku’s free tier meant that it was a pain to continue. Still, it had a good innings with a fair few users.
I generally avoid this kind of thing, but helping friends out with building a new e-commerce shop for their academic publishing house had its usual challenges. It made most sense to build on WordPress and WooCommerce as the main user already had WordPress experience.
One of the bright points though has been sussing out WordPress dev with docker. One for setting up a WordPress instance, another for setting up a SQL server instance to get a backup of the old site up and running to extract all of the old data. This site has now been up and running for a year without any bother at all.
Mapping the quartet rebuild
During 2022 we did a rebuild of the Mapping The Quartet website with a re-focus on the book Metaphysical Animals which was released (and is worth a read!)
Iris Murdoch conference
I did a talk at the 2022 Iris Murdoch conference on using computational textual analysis techniques to compare Iris Murdoch’s fiction and philosophy. It was a lot of fun to do and I’m now thinking of what to do for the 2024 conference, watch this space!
This was a new ‘job job’ which I started in September 2022, for the charity Rewilding Britain. An initial 12 month, part time job, which has now been extended. Covering info security, data and knowledge management, internal systems, support and hardware provision, strategy and a data project, this soon proved to be too many plates for me to spin part time!
We’ve started working with an org who can handle our support and hardware provision, whilst also exploring future strategy options. The idea being to free me up to do more work on the data side, which is what I’m interested in. Already it has been interesting to see the acceleration in rewilding progress in Britain.
It’s a fully remote organisation and a great & friendly team of people, plus, not having the rewilding background, I’ve been learning a lot of stuff about how rewilding works!