Tuning Varnish Cache

The FT recently sent me on a Varnish administration course run by Varnish Software; based just around the corner from our London office.

Varnishing the floor.

It was a brilliant two days of learning all about Varnish cache and the VCL language, making good use of The Varnish Book for course material.

Here are some tips on tuning Varnish cache that we discussed during the course. Continue reading “Tuning Varnish Cache”

The case for accessibility

FT.com for everyone. Always.

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 [1][2]. Yet there’s an aspect of our new site we have largely overlooked: accessibility (a11y).

The new FT.com
The new FT.com

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.

This will be the first of a series of posts that will document our progress on web accessibility at FT.com. Continue reading “The case for accessibility”

The Year of Lightning

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.

Lightning Components framework is a set of out-of-the-box components build on the open source Aura framework. Developers can utilise Aura to build their own custom components and extend framework. The key here is that Lightning Components are client-side based. Lightning Components Framework has an event driven architecture and relies mostly on Javascript on the client side to manage the UI and application data. Hence it is much better performance wise as opposed to Salesforce classic technologies that rely heavily on the server. You can find more information by visiting these links:

Lightning Components Framework: https://developer.salesforce.com/docs/atlas.en-us.lightning.meta/lightning/intro_framework.htm

Open source Aura Framework: http://documentation.auraframework.org/auradocs

the-flashOne 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”

The Data Platform: moving from Buckaroo! to building with Lego

buckarooo
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!

Swapping Mortarboards For Motherboards

Fresh faces in FT Technology – Our rotating graduate scheme

mortarboards
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.

Continue reading “Swapping Mortarboards For Motherboards”

Putting Jetpacks On Our Membership Platforms; How the FT made message processing near real time in salesforce.com

FTUser2

In 2015 the FT replaced its monolithic subscription and entitlements system – replacing it with a platform of microservices and APIs (Find out more here). This provided the FT with a modern, scalable platform for managing our users and subscriptions on FT.com.

Continue reading “Putting Jetpacks On Our Membership Platforms; How the FT made message processing near real time in salesforce.com”

The Bootcamp Experience

Earlier this year, I joined FT’s membership team as a Java Developer. On a typical day, the membership team are responsible for developing and maintaining a series of microservices which provide APIs for FT to manage its subscribers through our various mobile platforms. This includes setting up new subscriptions on the FT site/mobile app, which our web application services are able to handle and ensure customers are successfully subscribed and more importantly, have access to content they are paying for. Continue reading “The Bootcamp Experience”