Websites: where words, pixels and code converge

websites are words, pixels and code

I have long been making the case that freelance software and website work straddles a multi-disciplinary intersection of converging skills. A one-man band plays all instruments — and will occasionally reach out to a soloist who can play a particular part better.

An interweaving rhythm taps out the need for getting detail right — nerdy pedantry, take a bow, please — and my inner quality-controller signs the project off just before it’s plain to everyone that further polishing might smudge the design — or trash the project’s budget. Freelancers and project managers know that this is how words, pixels and code eventually come together. With luck, these convergences also break new ground, generate fresh ideas and pose further questions. This website has become a vehicle for expressing some of that.

Diverging interests

a continuing journey of diverging interests

The site has broadened and gained bulk as this journey has runs its course and I am surprised by and grateful to those who have encountered my various posts and made contact. As semi-retirement is not a binary move from light to dark, action to inaction, I shall continue posting to this website — inviting visitors in for a long read.

I plan to write about the world of the web. I shall also work away at topics in a less convergent manner, about books read, about art, buildings and even shorelines — using photographs wherever appropriate.

I’m a semi-retired English designer and developer of websites for individuals and businesses in the UK, France and beyond. I’m in sunny Worthing on England’s south-coast, having moved here from an 18-year stint in rural south-west France. I specialise in using the Drupal and Backdrop content-management systems.

I liken a website to an iceberg: there’s much below the surface that doesn’t meet the eye. Getting both parts — the visible and the hidden — absolutely right is crucial for the success of any activity on the web.

That iceberg analogy applies first to pages and the way in which they are coded, scripted and crafted, but it also applies to whole sites, including this one. The menus dotted about this site should lead you into collections of posts arranged by type. A site map experimentally blurts everything out on a single page. A handful of recent posts appears below. If you get lost, I hope that it will be in thought not in orientation.

(Any factual errors or typos are mine; all photographs are copyrighted to me, unless otherwise stated.)

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The Kintyre shoreline

The Kintyre shoreline

June 20, 2018

Kintyre, not too unlike a finger of home-made shortbread on the map, leaves Argyll behind by bending a knuckle at Tarbert and then pointing nearly due south towards the shores of Northern Ireland, leaving at its tip...

The Glasgow School of Art 2018

The Glasgow School of Art 2018

June 16, 2018

Shed tears today that the beloved Glasgow School of Art has yet again been enveloped by flame and gutted by fire. Shed tears that an icon of the Glasgow skyline is again a source of black smoke. Shed tears that one...

Great Chalfield Manor

Great Chalfield Manor

May 28, 2018

Browning’s “Oh, to be in England now that April’s there” tugs with even greater poignancy as May moves on and the season’s heat builds under blue skies. Rural England in full verdant bloom...

The Seabird's Cry

The Seabird's Cry - the lives and loves of puffins, gannets and other ocean voyagers

May 25, 2018

Adam Nicolson’s The Seabird’s Cry is a work of such intelligence, such passion and such craft that you may never think of seabirds in the same way again. It is a volume dense with experience,...

The Giant's Causeway

The Giant's Causeway

May 22, 2018

I‘d not be troubled if over the door of the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre it said “Here be Giants” because everything about this place is, well, gigantic, whether stamped into being by Finn McCool on...

Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple

Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple

May 15, 2018

What a mouthful, a place called “Downhill Demesne and Mussenden Temple”. What a puzzle that the person who built it was called “the Earl-Bishop”, an earl or a bishop, well both actually. And that archaic word “...

Belfast's Murals and Peace Walls

Belfast's Murals and Peace Walls

May 12, 2018

When faced with another couple of tourists saying how welcoming and kind they found everyone in Belfast, our driver Danny said, “Well, yes, that’s it really. Belfast people are very kind to everyone. It’s...

Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island

April 25, 2018

Rathlin Island is Northern Ireland’s only inhabited offshore island. It lies 15 miles from Scotland’s Kintyre Peninsula and is a 6 mile ferry hop from Northern Ireland’s Ballycastle. It may be just...