Martin Hathaway

Front-end Web Developer & Product Designer @NorthAspect
Remote-working my way around the world, indefinitely*

Product

CSS3 Icon Set: Credit Cards

16 credit card and payment method icons, built in pure CSS.

16 beautiful credit card and modern payment method icons. All lovingly handcrafted and recreated in pure HTML5 & CSS3.

Includes:

After purchase, you will immediately receive all the HTML & CSS files to integrate these icons into your own web projects. Plus, the LESS construction files and support documentation.

Buy Now $9.99 / Gumroad.com
Web App

Video onDemand

Streaming educational videos directly into classrooms.

When I was at school teachers had to wheel a TV set into the classroom, in order to play you grainy and cringe-inducing educational videos. With the installation of a computer and projector into every classroom that is a thing of the past.

One of the last projects I undertook at The Netherhall School was to overhaul the school's digital video library. Despite the arrival of ceiling-mounted projectors into every classroom, I was surprised to learn that many teachers still keep shelves full of dusty old VHS tapes in their department offices. Even worse, they often had multiple copies of each tape, for lessons where several classes were timetabled to run in parallel.

What the school needed was a centralised, web-based media library, from which teachers could stream videos directly to their classroom computer and connected whiteboard projector.

My predecessor had made a good start in converting and hosting more than 1300+ movies, TV shows and video clips on a simple, internal WordPress blog. However, teachers had started to complain about the poor user experience. It only supported progressive download, which was slow across the school network. And the growing catalogue meant that it was becoming ever more difficult to find the videos they needed.

Here is how it looked like before I started the project...

The objectives for this project where to:

New hardware
This was one of the rare occasions where I got to touch bare metal and provision my own server hardware - inclduing upgrading RAM, installing a graphics card and new hard drives. Plus, I got to install my preferred Linux distribution; Ubuntu.

Media-streaming
After evaluating a copy of Adobe Media Server that we had kicking about the office, I instead opted to use Red5, an open source media-streaming server.

Migration & backwards compatibilty
The 'no downtime' requirement created some challenging project constraints. Specifically it meant that the new system had to be backwards compatible with the old media player and library file structure. The upside was that the migration could be performed in smaller chunks and without anyone noticing.

Web app user interface (UI)
I decided to keep the WordPress back-end to the media library. However, I designed a custom WordPress theme / UI / front-end of the web application. To give it a nice modern aestethic and to make it responsive, so that it could be used by the increasing number of mobile devices within the school.

Advanced features
In addition to updating the existing library I also developed a number of new features and functionality to improve usability. Some 'bells and whistles' include:

Unfortunately this project is currently hosted on premise by The Netherhall School and it is therefore not publicly accessible.

Web App

FTPvau.lt

Redundant storage for Plesk Panel server backups.

Server backups are definitely not the glamorous side of web development. Yet they are absolutely essential to smooth operations.

During the virtualisation and migration of Netherhall's web systems, I found myself looking into server backups for our new VPS. This ran Parallels Plesk control panel and the built-in options were simply to store backups on the same server, or FTP the backup files to another location.

As I researched redundant storage services I was dismayed at the apparent cost. An ardent Amazon Web Services (AWS) user, I knew that these services were charging more than 10x the actual cost of the storage space. Finally, I decided to try my hand at building my own AWS-based storage solution.

FTPvau.lt was originally created to 'scratch my own itch'. This simple SFTP-based web service has since been modified to allow multi-tenancy, staggered scheduling to reduce CPU needs, automation of backup recycling and other key operations.

It is an elegant solution and a pleasure to use. You simply point your Parallels Plesk backup process at the FTP service, and you can sleep a little easier knowing that you have reliable and redundant storage for your server backups.

This web service is currently in a closed private beta.

Visit Project
Website

Get Rackin'

Microsite demonstrating HTML5 & jQuery based drag-and-drop.

In an age of virtualisation, Dockerisation and the Cloud there is still a geeky romanticism to handling bare metal and racking your own servers.

These days you are far more likely to find me logged into an AWS console than squirrelled away in amongst the racks of a datacentre. However, as users of these technologies, we still need an appreciation of the core fundamentals. After all, our work is still hosted on physical servers, somewhere.

Get Rackin' is a fun one-page website where you can rackmount different types of servers and other peripherals into virtual 42U racks. All meticulously recreated using only CSS3. It is also a showcase for HTML5 and jQuery drag-and-drop functionality.

Visit Website

Have laptop, will travel.

In 2015 I packed my life into one carry-on suitcase and set off to travel around the world, indefinitely.

I am spending 90-day cycles in each of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. Living and working remotely from planes, trains and hotel rooms. While also exploring a new city or destination every few weeks.

Leg 01.

West Coast, USA
06 Feb - 30 Apr 2015
  • 05 Feb: Los Angeles, CA
  • 19 Feb: Las Vegas, NV
  • 26 Feb: Pacific Coast Highway
  • 05 Mar: San Francisco, CA
  • 19 Mar: Pacific Coast Highway
  • 26 Mar: Portland, OR
  • 09 Apr: Pacific Coast Highway
  • 16 Apr: Seattle, WA

Leg 02.

S.E. Australia
May - Aug 2015
  • Sydney, NSW
  • Canberra, ACT
  • Melbourne, VIC
  • Adelaide, SA
  • Tasmania, TAS

Leg 03.

British Columbia
Sep - Dec 2015
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Victoria, BC
  • Whistler, BC
  • Jasper, AB
  • Banff, AB
  • Calgary, AB

Leg 04.

New Zealand
Jan - Mar 2016
  • Auckland
  • Queenstown
  • Milford Sound
  • Franz Josef Glacier
  • Christchurch

Note: this itinerary and corresponding dates are subject to change.

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions that I get asked about my Digital Nomad lifestyle.

Follow my progress on Twitter.

What I've Learnt...

Travelling around the world full-time has given me an interesting insight into the intersection between life and travel. I write about my experiences on the road, via my travel blog. Some of those blog posts have also been turned into ebooks.

Life Up Front

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Buy Now Amazon.co.uk (prices vary)
PDF only (£24.99)

About me

I am a front-end web developer with full-stack operations experience and passion for crafting beautiful websites and web applications.

Back in 2003, I attended an "Introduction to Web Design with Dreamweaver" evening course. Although I never touched a WYSIWYG editor again, I have spent more than a decade since hand coding HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP & MySQL.

During that time I have enjoyed working on challenging and varied projects. From simple website redesigns to helping build complex web applications. And been able to see them all the way through from ideation to implementation.

Looking for a Front-end Web Developer? Lets talk...

Curriculum Vitae PDF / 217KB