Latest Blog Posts


  

How do you choose between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and a bespoke customer relationship management (CRM) solution if you want a new back office system to collect and manage information about customers, products and orders? Perhaps you want to capture new leads, allocate them to your sales team and then track sales conversations. When is a bespoke CRM system a better long term solution?

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Writing software isn’t difficult when you know what you want to do. Coding is the easy bit. The tricky bit is working out what your end users and your customers really need. And when you think you’ve done that, you’ve got to document it and communicate it in a way that makes it as easy as possible for your development team to design and build the best solution.

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A bespoke customer relationship management solution is an affordable alternative to more complex off-the-shelf software. It will put you in complete control of the information you collect about customers, enquiries, leads and sales; you make better decisions when you can report on accurate, well organised data.

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This post was inspired by Joel Splosky’s The Joel Test: 12 Steps to Better Code. That post is now more than 20 years old, but it is still very relevant and has plenty of good, clear advice for its software developer audience. This one is slightly different because my intended audience is customers - people with little or no software development expertise who want to commission bespoke software. It’ll take you less than 5 minutes to read and you never know, it could save you a lot of time, hassle and money.

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The best way to learn React is to dive straight in and build something. To keep things simple I decided to copy our current www.coursedate.com website (PHP with Twig templates) in React. That way I wouldn’t have to spend any time thinking about the usual stuff that comes with a new web project (requirements, UI design etc), instead I could just focus on understanding how React works.

I’m using Express.js with React. I created the React project in a folder called client inside the Express project. I think that’s just for convenience - I can open both projects at once in VS Code.

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The sitemap file for Coursedate, our online course booking system, is generated on the fly using PHP.

We don’t manually update the sitemap.xml file each time a training provider creates a new course. New course pages now appear automatically in the sitemap file as soon as they are published in Coursedate’s course directory. That’s less work for us and it means the sitemap is always up to date when search engines do their indexing.

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I’ve built a simple app to capture weight data from some bluetooth enabled bathroom scales. The app uses the react-native-ble-plx library from Polidea to handle the Bluetooth connections. The library is great - there’s good documentation - and getting it to work with the scales was pretty straightforward once I’d got a basic understanding of how the scales’ Bluetooth LE services and characteristics work.

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