Constructive sloppiness

Tl;dr For hackathons and things, insecure database solutions can save you a big wodge of time and Chrome extensions are a very versatile tool.

The other week, I took part in the FT’s annual internal hackathon. My team and I decided to play with our idea of bringing video-game-style ‘achievements’ into FT.com, with the aim of encouraging exploration and discovery of the site. It was great fun! Check it out:

poliwag screenshot

I got to try out some cringe-inducingly sloppy but highly effective techniques for quickly building rich prototypes. I’m not sure I should really be proud of them but I am.
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Adventures with Neo4j and Timetrees

Update:  Since writing this blog I’ve learnt that there may be a better approach to this problem. These days, Neo4j allows you to make indexes on numeric properties and run range queries that use the index. We can take advantage of this for dates by storing them as millisecond timestamps, allowing us to perform date range queries without the need to maintain a time tree.

If you’re aware of this and still vaguely interested in time trees from an academic point of view, by all means read on 😁.


The new and improved FT website, launching 5 October, has many exciting and engaging new features, one of which is the subject of my own team’s focus: myFT.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-20-15-43

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