Hughes Industries

A blog about the activities of Joel and Hughes Industries Ltd

My (Professional?) History on the Web


It was summer, I'd done my degree, I was moving in with my (then) girlfriend (now wife) and needed a job. I got the Manchester Yellow Pages and found the section on "Web Design" (as I knew some HTML and Flash).

I got two interviews. One was a misunderstanding, they thought that I wanted to sell web hosting on the phone. The interviewer opened with a hypothetical cold call:

Me: hello, this is Joel, from Whatever Web
The Guy: Fuck off.
Me: stunned silence.

I didn't get the job.

The next interview was with Manchester.com. It was great, for the next few years (sometimes alone) I worked on the site: coding, writing articles, designing and occasionally going into the server room, underneath the streets of Manchester (in an old nuclear bunker). I loved it.


When I started it looked like this:



2004: The World Is On Fire (TWIOF)

I then started making web-sites for myself.



Code began to consume my thoughts and I dropped making music and skateboarding.

2009: Good Baad

At this point I was a "LAMP" developer. I made sites for all sorts of people and the start-up hype machine got to me. I wrote my own MVC framework and used it to build "Good Baad". (It did _ok_, even got a mentions on Tech Crunch and abduzeedo - I made something and showed it off).


I could/should try and revive it.



Shortly after this I got a taste for JavaScript. I began to dabble in other languages, I started learning programming languages _for fun_.

2011-2015: The JS Years (and Nokia)

I got a job at Nokia, working (mostly) with JavaScript (for making native mobile apps for Maemo/Meego, remember that?).

At this point I was really into JS and functional programming:


I was really into it. Then I wasn't. I didn't know what to do next. I tried management and started down the automation, CI/CD and DevOps path.

2015-now: Anything Goes (Contracting/Consulting)

I went contracting and consulting. I wanted to go to as many different organisations as I could and use as many tools as were available.

- NodeJS
- Swift and Objective C on IOS
- C# on Windows
- Unikernels and Containers
- Assembly, C, Go and Swift
- DevOps, IOT, AWS, GCP, Azure and K8s

Key learnings: most problems are not solved with "tech"; "tech" isn't much fun if the problem it's pointed at isn't well defined; "problems" are not the only reason for making things.

Meanwhile, I rediscovered skateboarding and audio/Drum and Bass

What next? I'm thinking I'd like to get back to the Web. Looking at those old sites. There was a rough charm that I miss. I'd like to focus on the aesthetics of the web, the properties that run through the tools, techniques and end results. I'd like to make some things. I'd like those things to reflect my tastes and aesthetics, and encourage others to do the same.

I'll try to elaborate in the coming posts.