Southampton Focus

Southampton Focus is the online place to go for finding businesses in and around the area. Businesses pay for a listing on the site and get free access to Southampton Focus’ vast social network presence.

Southampton Focus already had a site but decided to scrap it and start completely afresh. They chose a theme from Theme Forest and I configured WordPress and the theme to their specifications. I had to customize the theme quite a bit to get it to the functionality that was advertised on Theme Forest, and we used many different plugins together to give the site company listings functionality.

Overall, I’m really pleased with how it turned out considering the scope of the site.

Stakks Pancake House

This Pancake House in Southampton wanted a complete website redesign. They got Mirror Digital Media to design the site and I built a custom WordPress theme from the designs. I then migrated all of the old blog posts to the new website and made a couple of small design changes that weren’t finalized in the initial design before pushing the website live. I used Local by FlyWheel to develop the site but there was a lot of hassle with sending an ngrok link every day for the client to view the site. In the future, I’m just going to create sites under a subdomain on my Digital Ocean Droplet and work on them there so that my client will be able to access them at all times.

Train In Blocks

I started working with Mikey Lau, founder of Train In Blocks in April 2020. He wanted to create a web app for personal trainers to manage their clients. We had a lot of project meetings to work out how best to implement such an app and I was given complete control of the implementation. I decided Okta was a good fit for Authentication, and we were going to use Stripe to process payments. As I love Vue I decided to use that on the front end, and I have quite a bit of experience with PHP so used that, along with slim, to create an API for updating content in a MySQL database.

Initially, I did a lot of the front-end work, but I taught Mikey HTML, CSS, and Vue and started to move more into a project manager role and backend developer. I created a Stripe WebHook to handle sign-ups which then creates a user in Okta and sends the customer an email about their new account. We also created a site in Nuxt for sign-ups to take place and for potential customers to learn more about the application.

The Pretty Dark

This band posted an advert on Facebook for a Web Developer. I approached them and they needed help making their site mobile friendly. They had a friend build them the site using some sort of framework, the code was a mess, resulting in the site being slow and not mobile-friendly. I cleaned the site up, updated some content as their new album had just been released, and gave them the finished copy of the site.

Re-creating my portfolio with Gatsby

You may have read Re-creating my portfolio with React where I talked about my experiences converting my simple static portfolio into a React website, turning reusable objects on the page into React components. This inspired me to learn Gatsby, a static site generator that uses React.

I was previously using my a category on my photography WordPress blog to host my blogs about web design and projects. This was a bit of a weird experience for users as if they chose to read more about a post on my portfolio, they’d be directed to my photography site. Gatsby allows me to pull in all the posts from WordPress and create a new site. This also allowed me to store all of my portfolio items as WordPress posts. I installed the Advanced Custom Fields plugin to handle the tech icons and button links.

The site is now insanely fast hosted on Netlify and using Server Side Rendering. Gatsby’s links also make navigating from page to page incredibly quick.

Whenever I want to add content to the site I just login to WordPress, create a new post under the relevant category, with a tag for if I want it to be displayed on the homepage of my portfolio. I hit publish and a new Netlify build is queued then deployed using the Jamstack deployments plugin.

I want to build every website this way in the future. It took me about 2 days to set up, so it’s incredibly quick to develop. Plus, sites are faster and more secure on the Jamstack.

Joe Bailey Photography

In order to use many of the new Web Technologies you first need a platform to test them on. This is my photography website. I am very passionate about photography and like to keep my website as close to the cutting edge as possible.

Re-creating my Portfolio with React

I’ve just finished recreating my portfolio using React. There aren’t very many visual changes apart from changing the hover effects a little. The site features a lot of repetitive content, such as portfolio items. React is good for this because I can create a component for the item which minimizes the amount of coding required. Having components also saves time in the long run because if I want to update a component I’ll only have to do it once rather than multiple times. As part of the process, I tried to make the code more readable, by including comments in each file, and separating out the Sass so it’s more manageable.

After attending several interviews, there was a common question that came up: What technologies did I use for a particular project? As a result of this, I have included icons beneath each project in my portfolio indicating the different technologies that I used. I have also brought back the GitHub contributions image.