At the Financial Times we’ve recently released a new version of our website, FT.com. “Next FT”, as we’ve come to know it, is now the default experience for our users, and so far it’s proving to be a great one: It’s faster, it’s nicer, it’s better; a success across the board . Yet there’s an aspect of our new site we have largely overlooked: accessibility (a11y).
In this post we will explore what web accessibility is, why it’s important, the current state of accessibility at FT.com and the work we’re doing to improve it.
Approximately a year has passed since Salesforce announced the new Lightning experience. And what a year for Salesforce! At first I thought ‘this is going to take a while, there’s going to be a learning curve, probably known bugs to deal with’, we tentatively started switching on the New Lightning Experience to play around with the new User Interface. In a short while we tested some visualforce pages embedded in the new Salesforce application. Finally, this summer we made the leap to building the first Lightning components and Lightning application.
One of my favourite series as a child was ‘The Flash’. He could miraculously find himself from his home dressed in pyjamas, down the street in front of a shop window within seconds. When I built my first Lightning app this year, the images from ‘The Flash’ running around with the speed of light immediately came to my mind. Three words: fast, simple, beautiful. No wonder they named it Lightning.Continue reading “The Year of Lightning”
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.
“The game centres on a model of a donkey named “Roo” (or “Buckaroo”). The mule begins the game standing on all four feet, with a blanket on its back. Players take turns placing various items onto the mule’s back without causing the mule to buck up on its front legs, throwing off all the accumulated items.” – Wikipedia, Buckaroo!
Fresh faces in FT Technology – Our rotating graduate scheme
Over the past year we’ve been working hard to establish a graduate recruitment scheme for Technology. We’ve taken on grads in the past but in defined roles and wanted to focus on broadening our scope to help talented people get into technology and experience the range of disciplines across engineering.
Varnish Software has awarded the Varnish Award for Innovation to the Financial Times and its architecture team. The FT uses Varnish Cache to implement multi-factor email login for employees to help protect against the increasing threat of phishing attacks.Continue reading “FT Wins Varnish Award”
Developing microservices with RESTful APIs means a large amount of testing will involve hitting endpoints and checking the results. From the tester’s point of view, this is a lot of doing the same thing over and over, hitting the same endpoints over and over.
As a result we concluded that automated tests was the way to go. We collectively decided to go with BDD style testing to make it easy for anyone to understand the test output.Continue reading “Automated API testing”
As you know last month we entered the BCS UK IT Awards under ‘Digital Project of the year’ for our successful removal of eRights for our digital subscribers and smooth implementation of microservices as an effective replacement.
The entire process took seven months. Seven months to uplift a decade old service, scrape off all the leftovers, clean the systems and put a brand new system in place, as well as ensuring the new system catered to our modern customer’s needs. Seven months sounds like a long time, but really this is only 24 weeks (approx.), 168 days, perhaps around 600-800 hours. This was certainly no mean feat..