New Year 2024

I’ve had a really relaxing Christmas break with the family this year, only opening my laptop to read my friend’s advent murder mystery. I sit here drinking a Christmas beer (a Belgium beer called Père Noël by De Ranke) writing a short post summing up 2023 and my hopes for this year. In a minute I’ll get back to that murder mystery and try to work out whodunnit!


2023 was a challenging year for many digital agencies. With the economic slowdown continuing many of my peers at other digital shops reported difficulties winning new work. We experienced similar challenges throughout a lot of 2023, but I’m glad things picked up in the autumn and we finished the year with 3 new charity clients – something I’m very proud of (both for the effort my team put into the sales work and the fact we’re increasing our roster of charity clients).

We hired local strategic digital marketing firm Sookio to undertake a positioning review for Studio 24, which really helped focus how we talk about ourselves. So far we’ve updated the Studio 24 homepage and have a new tagline “Building a better web, together.” We have a whole new website in the plans which we will launch later in 2024!

During 2023 I worked with the excellent business coach Susie McFarland. Our monthly sessions (and a few in-person workshops) really helped dig into different areas of running an agency and how we can improve it. I found this really useful and we have a ton of really valuable, actionable stuff to help improve the agency in 2024.

In July I joined the BIMA Sustainability Council, it’s an area I think is really important for all businesses to tackle and I hope to help move things forward within the BIMA community. Around the same time I started looking at what it would take for Studio 24 to become B Corp accredited, something I am keen to achieve in the next year.

Late September / early October was a particularly busy time for me. Across 3 weeks I hosted a Boye & Co Digital Leadership meeting in London, attended the HE Connect conference in Liverpool (my first time in this amazing city), and travelled to Barcelona to talk about the W3C redesign and accessibility at DotAll, the Craft CMS conference. This was an amazing experience, I took along 2 of my work colleagues, met many lovely folk in the Craft CMS community, and after the conference enjoyed an extended trip with the family exploring Barcelona.

In December I travelled with another colleague to Brussels for SymfonyCon, met up with a friend and took the opportunity to meet up with our client, W3C, who were also attending. Although remote work can be great I really enjoy seeing people in person!

Looking back on last year’s post we did start having quarterly in-person company days last year, which I think is really needed now we’re a remote first company. Among many client website launches I was very proud to see the new W3C website redesign launch live in June which we received a string of awards for, culminating in the Gaddys award which Emma travelled to sunny San Francisco to accept the award!

Family and friends

My family and I saw My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican in January, it was simply amazing. The way they used puppetry to mimic the animation of the film was beautiful, the music was incredible – the band suspended up in the trees – composed by Joe Hisaishi, who worked on the original film. They have another run on now so if you can see it I’d recommend it. Other theatre trips included the brilliant Accidental Death of an Anarchist at the Hammersmith Lyric. Daniel Rigby was a sparkling ball of energy as the Maniac. And Dear England at the National Theatre. I went to this with friends and took Bill along, who really enjoyed it. It was nice to see such a mixed audience of young and old watching a play about football!

As well as Barcelona and Brussels for work, I travelled to Porto with friends in January. It was an amazing trip, and like typical Englishmen the 4 of us happened to be out walking with our umbrellas just when the flash floods hit Porto – flooding the streets and causing a lot of damage. We managed to walk for 5 minutes in the old town before, utterly soaked and up against torrents of water, we holed up in a cafe and waited until the rain passed with hot chocolate!

Family trips this year were in the UK, with a big family meet-up in Bath (my first time there), a trip to Southwold and Latitude Festival, and trips to Oxford, Lewes and Norfolk.

We were lucky enough to get tickets to Wimbledon this year and I took Bill along. Was brill to see world class tennis players compete, including seeing Carlos Alcaraz in the practise courts.

One of the highlights of the Cambridge Film Festival this year was watching documentaries Senna and Maradonna in the presence of filmmaker Asif Kapadia. Asif was at the festival for a couple of days and was very generous in his Q&As (often expanding on really interesting points linked to the original question) and talking to the Youth Lab team about how to get into filmmaking.

What does 2024 hold?

I want to spend more time relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends. I hope to have an extended holiday this summer travelling across Europe with my son Bill (by train we hope), once he’s finished his GCSEs.

I want to see more theatre. I am off to Soho Theatre tomorrow and we have a trip planned to Stratford-upon-Avon (which I’ve never visited). The brilliant Matthew Baynton (of Ghosts fame) is playing Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream which has to be seen!

I’d like to learn something new. Not really sure what, but probably something creative. I shall await serendipity!

I have a few work resolutions for 2024. One is helping improve how we use documentation at Studio 24. Reading the GitLab remote handbook it’s clear written documentation is key to working successfully remote first.

I’d like to attend more in-person events where I get the chance to collaborate with people from different backgrounds. The Boye & Co events are good for this, they bring together people across client-side, government, academia, and industry. Cross collaboration is something I really value and I feel always brings out good results.

And I’d like to create more. Although I lead an agency I’ve always loved making things with technology, so hope I get the opportunity to build something useful this year.

That’s me for now, I hope you have a most excellent 2024!


It’s been a while since I posted an end of year review, so thought I’d have a go!


It’s been a busy year at Studio 24 and I was really ready for a break by Christmas. It feels like we’re finally coming out of the pandemic years properly. We had our 11th Studio Day at the wonderful Fitzwilliam Museum (a client) with everyone in attendance for the first time since the pandemic. As ever, it is wonderful to see people in person. We’ve managed to create a successful format for these all-staff days. Some games to warm people up, a little bit of business stuff, lightning talks from anyone on any topic (always really creative and fun), and one interactive session where we work on something to improve the agency. We currently have these twice a year and I hope to increase the frequency in 2023.

We worked on a wide range of projects in 2022. Some of the most fulfilling was our work with CBM, the global disability charity. Earlier in 2022, we launched a Ukrainian language version of the Humanitarian Hands-on Tool (HHoT) website in response to the war in Ukraine. This was a fairly short turnaround but felt really important. The HHoT website is focussed on sharing information on how to provide inclusive humanitarian aid.

Later in the year we launched the Inclusive Participation Toolbox which is all about including persons with disabilities in development and humanitarian programs. We’re really passionate about working with charities and not-for-profit and hope to do more of this type of work in 2023.

In May, our long-time client Crossrail launched the Elizabeth Line. We’ve been working with them for over 13 years so it was amazing to see the new London Underground line be available for public use. Though it also marks the end of our relationship as Crossrail shuts down and everything is handed over to TfL. It’s been a great experience and a valuable stepping stone to public sector work.

We also started a bunch of new things at Studio 24. Volunteer days (a few of us helped the Rowan Forest School), Hack Days (the dev team get together to experiment and try new things), we had a work experience student for the first time since the pandemic, and Nicki launched our accessible front-end starter kit Apollo which we now use on all client projects (and is available to anyone as an open source project). We’ve already seen the impact as new staff join and can onboard to our front-end practices quickly.

Earlier in 2022 also saw us finish officially working on the W3C redesign project. It’s been a massive effort over the past 2 years with amazing work across the Studio 24 team and at W3C. After working remotely with W3C for 2 years I finally met some of the core team in person in the south of France in early September, which was amazing! W3C are very busy with the transition to non-profit status. We continue to keep in touch to help support W3C with the final stages of finishing the Beta site before it launches publicly (hopefully in early 2023!).

I attended a bunch of interesting events last year including Web Summer Camp, dConstruct, Boye & Co Digital Leadership Day in Cambridge, and Higher Education Connect (I talked at 2 of these events). It was nice to get back to in-person gatherings where it’s so much easier to meet new people and share experiences.

A few team members moved on to new jobs (always sad to see people go, but I wish them the best). We hired a new Front-End Developer, Miro, and advertised for 2 new roles in December. We successfully hired for the first role, Web Developer, just before the Christmas break and are still looking for a PHP Developer to join the team. It was amazing how many people applied for the Web Developer role, with 215 applications in just over a month! We use the excellent software Homerun to help manage applications, it certainly made processing large numbers of applicants far easier.

Personal development

For the first time I’ve hired a business coach to help me improve the business (and myself), so far this is going really well. It’s good to have someone external to talk to who has a deep understanding of running agencies. Over the past few years I’ve talked to more people about agency life and there certainly seems to be more people willing to share experiences than there used to be when I started.

Public speaking

I’ve always been fairly reluctant to do public speaking, but also keen to share knowledge and get out there more. It’s something I’d like to make more time for. This year we seem to have had a lot more success with public speaking at Studio 24.

I spoke about the W3C redesign project at Web Summer Camp in September, an amazing conference run by friendly agency NetGen on the coast in beautiful Croatia. I also spoke about writing for accessibility at HE Connect in Manchester in October.

Marie, our Front-End Team Lead, spoke about W3C, Craft and accessibility at Craft CMS’s conference dotCMS in New York City at the end of September.

We’ll be looking for more places to share our knowledge in 2023.

The arts

The 41st Cambridge Film Festival, of which I’m a trustee, ran in October half-term, which was great fun. It’s still a really challenging time for charities and cinema, but it felt like a step closer to pre-pandemic audiences and was a really well run festival this year. Highlights included comedy The Banshees of Inisherin, set around the start of the Irish Civil War, Corsage, the modern and brilliantly acted retelling of Empress Elizabeth “Sisi” of Austria, and the hilariously dark Triangle of Sadness. My favourite film of the festival was Sinjar, a superb Catalan film about three women whose lives have been affected by ISIS. It was a well told story with some superb performances and natural realism.

Fitzwilliam Museum had a superb exhibition on called Defaced, a very modern exhibition on money and protest and how it’s been used by society. Some great artifacts such as forged British notes created by prisoners of war in Germany and artwork created with worthless banknotes (due to hyperinflation). I attended the opening and we had a curator-led tour as part of our Studio Day which was fascinating. If you get a chance it’s on until 8th Jan.

I saw the brilliant Best of Enemies at Nöel Coward Theatre in December. I wasn’t aware of the political TV battle of wits between liberal Gore Vidal and right-wing William F. Buckley before. Zachary Quinto and David Harewood give superb performances and the production is very modern and engaging.

As ever, the Panto at Cambridge Arts Theatre, another of our clients, was a great evening out. Panto is so much fun and I’ve really got back into it as an adult.

A couple of book highlights. I’m usually a fiction fan but I really enjoyed Bob Mortimer’s hilarious autobiography And Away and David Attenborough’s important A Life on Our Planet about the threat to our planet through biodiversity loss and climate change.

In November the family all attended a book talk by Randall Munroe, of XKCD fame, talking about his new book What If 2. The talk was at the Department of Chemistry in Cambridge and was hosted by Adam Rutherford. Randall was pretty laid back and told lots of funny stories about his journey writing What If.


One trip with friends to Luxembourg in February where we also ventured into Germany to visit Trier, the oldest city in Germany (founded by the Romans). It was a fun trip, though one of my friends sadly couldn’t join since he contracted Covid just before travelling. In Germany we encountered some quite strict Covid rules, we had to present our Covid pass every time we entered a bar or restaurant. Sensible precautions, but it feels like such a different world already only 10 months on.

I travelled to Nice and Sophia Antopolis, France in early Sept to visit W3C en route to speaking at Web Summer Camp in Šibenik, Croatia. It was my first time in Croatia and it is an incredibly beautiful country. I’ll certainly be coming back.

Family trips this year have been in the UK, visiting family and a long weekend to Leicester to visit the National Space Centre and the King Richard III visitor centre. Both were really interesting, we all love anything to do with space and it was good to see the story of how King Richard III was found in a council car park (we saw the dramatisation later in the year in the film The Lost King).

I plan to start 2023 with My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican with the family and a trip with friends to Porto, Portugal. Should be a good year ahead…

A little bit about filesize units (KB, MB, etc)

I helped my 14-year old son with his homework today and there was a question about how to convert from Kilobytes (KB) to Megabytes (MB). My instinct was to tell him to divide by 1024 (the more technically accurate version of a KB) but we both decided the answer they wanted was 1,000.

In my work creating websites and web applications we sometimes report on filesizes, usually in human-readable formats such as reporting on the filesize in MB. For example, a document listing may include the filesize to give the user an idea of how long a download may take.

So this made me think about how we calculate human-readable versions of filesizes on websites. In the past we tend to divide bytes by (1024 * 1024) to get to MB. Now I wasn’t so sure. So I had a bit of a read around.

Binary and decimal units

Historically computers have always used binary units, since that’s how computers work. At their simplest level everything is either a 1 or a 0.

Traditionally a kilobyte is 1024 bytes, a megabyte is 1024 kilobytes, a gigabyte 1024 megabytes, and so on. This is called base 2 (or binary) since these numbers are all a power of 2 (1024 = 210 bytes).

As computers became more mainstream people naturally assumed a kilobyte meant 1000 bytes, a megabyte 1000 kilobytes, since base 10 (or decimal) is what we’re used to as humans.

So we currently have two ways to describe a kilobyte: decimal (1,000 bytes) or binary (1,024 bytes).

Messy real world definitions

There seems to be a lot of confusion in computing with developers often using the “more accurate” binary unit to calculate file sizes and others using the decimal unit.

In the early days of the web most computers used binary units to report filesizes. This has changed over time.

It turns out hard drive manufacturers refer to storage sizes using the decimal format. So a 100 MB hard drive is actually 100 * 1000 KB (rather than 100 * 1024 KB). This results in a smaller storage space than if you used the binary unit to calculate storage size (e.g. 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes in decimal or 1,073,741,824 bytes in binary, this is around 7% smaller). Good for sales, less good for the consumer.

There’s even a Wikipedia page on the confusion this has created. Interestingly this notes that the US legal system has decided “1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes (the decimal definition) rather than the binary definition.”

There are also standards. IEC 80000-13, published in 2008, defines a kibibyte (or KiB) as 1024 bytes and a kilobyte (KB) as 1000 bytes.

According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) the decimal format should be used as standard unless noted in a case-by-case basis (see Historical Context on this NIST reference page). This is also known as SI, The International System of Units, which defines the prefix killo as 1,000.

So technically you should write KiB if you mean 1024 bytes. But it turns out very few people do this, and everyone just sticks to kilobytes or KB whether they mean decimal or binary.

So today we’re still stuck with some people using KB = 1024 bytes and some people using KB = 1000 bytes. Yay!

However, clearly most people don’t care. And storage sizes are so large now most people don’t really notice the differences. Unless you’re a computer or web engineer who has to do calculations on this sort of thing.

What do modern operating systems use?

Well, here’s where it gets interesting.

In my early days of web development (which started around 1999) I used a Windows PC, these days I use a Mac. While hard drives advertised their size in decimal units, Windows itself reported filesizes in binary. So in practical terms a 1 GB hard drive actually had less space for file storage on it (around 953 MB available space). I remember that annoying me!

In the early days of Macs and smartphones they also reported filesizes in binary units. So it made sense that most people used binary units to report filesizes on web apps.

From 2009 Mac switched to reporting file sizes in decimal (with Mac OS X Snow Leopard, presumably in response to the IEC standard). This didn’t happen until 2017 for iOS and Android.

Today Ubuntu Linux, Mac OS, iOS and Android use decimal for file storage sizes. Windows, as far as I’m aware, still uses binary units. However, to spice things up Microsoft’s cloud office service 365 uses decimal units when referring to cloud storage size!

So today if you have a file which is 500,000 bytes in size this would report as 488 KB (binary) on Windows and 500 KB (decimal) on Macs, Ubuntu Linux and modern smartphones.

What works for users?

Which is right? To be honest, I don’t think that matters. What’s more important is which makes more sense for your users.

Most web development resources still tell you to use a binary units to convert between file storage sizes (e.g. bytes to KB).

But as you can see, almost everyone else uses decimal units in the real world (except for Windows OS – but even Microsoft uses decimal for their cross-platform 365 service).

When building web applications it’s always best to do what is best for your users. So now, most of the time I think it makes more sense to report filesizes using decimal units rather than binary (so 1,000 bytes = 1 KB). Which is the opposite to what I thought before I started writing this post!

Just to make things fun, other measurements which use kilobytes actually do use binary units consistently, computer memory (or RAM) being the obvious example. As far as I know every system out there uses binary units for measuring memory!

If this is all too much, I’ll leave you with the excellent xkcd web comic, kilobyte edition:

Error monitoring tools and UK/European data storage for GDPR compliance

At Studio 24 we work with a lot of government and public sector clients, who are understandly keen to comply with GDPR and are therefore careful about where data is sent and stored.

There is a strong preference to use services that store all data within UK or the European Economic Area (EEA).

This is an issue for many SaaS products since most of them store data in the US or Canada. While there is the EU-US Privacy Shield agreement this has become uncertain after Brexit.

Where possible, we aim to use EAA or UK hosted data for public sector digital services. Where that’s not possible we can use non-EU hosted data for services, but we need to justify this with our clients.

Two tools we currently use for error reporting and monitoring are Bugsnag and Usersnap. After my review I discovered Bugsnag is hosted in the US, though Usersnap is hosted in Europe. A summary of my research on data storage locations is below.

In addition I’ve also added notes on where you can strip indentifying user data from external data storage. This can be helpful for data privacy.

Hosted in EAA


Data hosted on AWS in Europe (Germany or Ireland). GDPR docs are a bit sparse but you can request more details via email. It’s not really possible to strip data via Usersnap due to how it works (on demand screenshot tool rather than automated monitoring).

New Relic

It is possible to select EU data storage when setting up your account. New Relic publish information on security and privacy. HTTP parameters are not logged by default to avoid logging user data.


You can use the EU site to ensure all data is stored within the EU. View GDPR docs.

Hosted in US only


Data hosted in USA. GDPR documentation is available on request.


Data hosted on Google Cloud in USA. Bugsnag does have a detailed Data Processing Agreement and some examples on how to delete user data for data deletion requests which is nice to see.


As far as I can tell data is stored in USA.


Data is stored in USA. Lots of options to exclude sensitive data.


Data is stored in USA. You can remove sensitive data.


Data is stored in USA. There is some docs on scrubbing data in JS.


Data is stored in USA. See data privacy docs. Sentry has data scrubbing tools.

WP Engine and Atlas Headless CMS

WP Engine recently announced the launch of their Headless CMS hosting and frontend JavaScript stack, Atlas. This sounds really interesting so I took a look at their recent DE{CODE} 2021 conference videos on this topic to find out more.

As a little background we’ve used WP Engine at Studio 24 for a number of years, for enterprise WordPress hosting for some of our larger clients. We’ve always found their WordPress hosting solution rock solid, they have a bunch of very clever engineers developing solutions. When I attended a previous (in-person) WP Engine conference I was always surprised they hadn’t developed their own software to complement WordPress. Looks like that has now changed.

Atlas and headless

The keynote talk was a good summary by founder Jason Cohen on the reasons for investing in Headless. I liked the stat that 64% of enterprises are using headless. Many of us have been using decoupled architectures for years – just without calling it headless!

The key selling points are performance (with 10x page speeds than traditional WordPress), better security, ability to redesign without re-implementing your CMS, and developer freedom to work with any modern framework – as long it’s in JavaScript (for Atlas).

Performance and security I thoroughly agree with. Stripping back the frontend to only what’s required is clearly a great way to improve security and reduce attack vectors.

The ability to redesign a site using headless without having to reimplement your work in a CMS is also a big selling point, however, this assumes a solid frontend that does not also need to significantly change. I think this is the idea behind WP Engine’s Atlas JS framework (which credit to WP Engine is open source).

Developer preference for “modern tools” was mentioned a lot as a big benefit. I’m not so convinced here. Trends in software tools come and go, developers often want to use the next shiny thing, but businesses need to get things done and maintain websites over the long-term. Decisions on your tech stack should not just be down to preferences of your current developers. I’m not a big fan of JavaScript “eating the web” and I think it’s perfectly valid for websites and web apps to be developed in traditional (popular, well tested and maintainable) server-side languages such as PHP, Python or Ruby. If this is you, then WP Engine’s software based heavily on the JS stack is not for you.

Having to force front-end developers to code directly in JS is becoming a big issue in web development (see articles by Chris Coyier, Brad Frost). I think a full JavaScript stack is great if your team can support it. If it can’t then it can be an obstacle to business efficiency and can cause barriers to entry for people coming into the industry.

Front-end development is a highly skilled profession, which includes a wide range of client-side tech and skills such as usability, accessibility, performance, strategic thinking and device compatibility testing. Front-end developers need to know JavaScript, but they don’t necessarily need to be JS programmers.

I find it ironic one benefit of headless is decoupling, yet with the JavaScript/React approach HTML/CSS is tightly coupled with JavaScript. To the point pure HTML/CSS front-end developers can struggle to be able to work with it.

I thought WP Engine’s approach to solving the preview problem in WordPress was interesting. They use OAuth to get users to login to WordPress before they can view preview content, both helping authenticate to the preview site and authenticate the preview API requests to WordPress.

Benefits of exploring headless

Decode hosted a panel discussion on “Navigating the risks to reap the rewards of Headless WordPress” with perspectives from agency 10UP, the creator of WPGraphQL and WP Engine.

Phil Crumm from 10UP noted clients who are most interested in headless are those with a clear functional use case, those interested in security, or those who want more flexibility for the future. Content portability and flexibility is important. “While we don’t know what the future will look like, the decoupled architecture is probably going to be the best way to get there safely.”

Matt Landers from WP Engine talked about when is headless the right approach. His answer was: scalabilty, developer resources, security and data integrations.

He said “do you have the developers resources to do this? It’s a lot more developer heavy. You can’t rely on community built themes and plugins like you can in a traditional WordPress world. You’re going to have to depend on a development team to build that our for you. [maintenence costs] are coming down as we figure out how to integrate the front-end and back-end more seamlessly.”

Jason Bahl from WPGraphQL talked about the benefits of componentisation which could reduce production and maintenance costs in the future. Creating re-usable components that use GraphQL data fragments to output content that can be re-used on projects. I admit I’m not that familiar with how this works in React. We use Timber a lot at Studio 24, an excellent Twig templating system for WordPress from Upstatement. This is another way to support componentisation in WordPress today, though in practise it can he hard to actually do this across different client projects.

On the future of headless in WordPress Jason noted we’re “super early in this game. The more tooling we see built, the more adoption we’ll see.” There seems to be lots happening on this front across lots of different technologies, which is always great to see.

Gutenberg and headless

The final Decode talk I watched was “The Fast Track to Mastering Modern WordPress” with Rob Stinson of WP Engine and Carrie Dils. The talk focussed on Gutenberg and the future of full site editing that is coming to WordPress in 2021.

Full site editing allows users to edit and layout an entire site via Gutenberg, not just the content area but also headers, footers and the sidebar. Carrie went on to explain how full site editing themes works, moving from template files and template parts to “block template parts” which interestingly seem to be straightforward HTML files (which sounds good). It’s not clear to me if all the dynamic content is then in Gutenberg, which splits up all HTML code into React files.

More details on how this works is available at, which notes HTML files may actually be saved as PHP files to support text translation and dynamic URLs. This feels like a pretty major architectural decision. I’d love to see a proper templating engine like Twig or Handlebars in WordPress! It would certainly help developer efficiency and a large breaking change like Gutenberg is the time to do it (if ever).

Carrie went on to show how the editing experience works in WordPress. It’s very similar to editing content in Gutenberg, allowing users to edit areas of the site such as the footer.

As for the timeline of all this, full site editing beta is available in WordPress 5.7 in March 2021. This is expected to be in WordPress core by 5.8 in June 2021, pretty soon! Given the disruption caused by the original Gutenberg release I hope this is a smooth and opt-in transition.

So does the Gutenberg layout need to look the same as the frontend? It’s not clear to me what the WordPress recommendation is on this – but it certainly feels like that’s what Gutenberg wants users to experience.

The obvious issue for headless is it’s decoupled, so laying out a site in Gutenberg cannot easily look the same as the frontend, if you’re using WordPress as a headless CMS. Which, to be honest, I think is good.

A CMS should not have to show content exactly as it will display on the frontend, but should give a good enough representation to the user to allow them to manage content effectively.

Rob Stinson then talked about making custom blocks, an area of great interest to me since I see this as essential for digital agencies taking up Gutenberg. Rob talked about a plugin called Genesis Custom Blocks.

The UI for adding a new custom block appeared to use Gutenberg too. This allows you to setup editor fields (that appear in Gutenberg) and inspector fields (that appear in the inspector sidebar).

I wonder how the custom blocks definition is stored, in the database or filesystem? All projects we use need to be stored in version control so we can deploy them across environments effectively.

When adding a custom block a PHP and CSS file is created which controls how the block appears in Gutenberg (when previewing rather than editing). This certainly makes it easier than embedding HTML in React. This is the same HTML and CSS as used on the frontend.

In the demo Rob noted the “styles on the frontend don’t perfectly match up what’s in the editor, but this can be fixed up.” In our previous experience we found it’s very time consuming, and thus not commercially feasible, to try to match CSS on the CMS backend with the frontend website. This is true for custom CSS themes which are the bread and butter of many digital agencies work. And I would have thought even more true for headless CMS setups where the CSS isn’t even shared.

One great point of the Genesis Custom Block plugin is you do not need to use the Genesis framework to use it. You’re free to use your own HTML and CSS.

We are still concerned about accessibility of the Gutenberg editing interface at Studio 24 and it contributed to our decision not to use WordPress for the new W3C website. I hope the Genesis Custom Block developers have considered this.

The aim of the Gutenberg project is to “make writing rich posts effortless.” That’s a mighty fine aim, but I hope WordPress can achieve this without breaking the web for others (be they accessibility users or front-end devs less comfortable writing HTML templates in JavaScript).

Final notes

Atlas sounds like a really interesting develoment from WP Engine and I welcome more tools in the area of Headless CMS. It’s sure to help more people get involved in this exiciting area of digital technology.

It’s a shame the name Atlas is so close to HumanMade’s Altis, WP Engine certainly would have been aware of this. However, Altis is software that extends WordPress more dramatically with DXP/enterprise features. Atlas, for now, is primarily a solution to help make better Headless CMS sites with WordPress.

Weeknotes: 31 Jan

I’m going to try to start keeping weeknotes. It’s a good way to reflect on the past week, get into a regular habit of writing, and is a nice way of working in the open.

My past week has been pretty busy, in general January has been a pretty crazy start to the new decade with lots going on! Monday and Thursday in London for various client meetings in and around Westminster. We’re currently working with the University of Cambridge on a site for their Alumni magazine and a range of WordPress sites for Parliament.

Had an exciting potential new client call on Tuesday, more on that later!

Had a meeting for the Cambridge Film Trust. We’ve going through a lot of planning for the 2020 festival at present.

I took a look at how to multilingual properly in WordPress using a multisite approach. So far initial work is showing this is a far more sane way of doing it in WordPress. Our previous efforts had included tools such as WPML which we found can get into real difficulties once you start having more complex content.

We’re currently recruiting for a new web developer, so spent some time going through CVs and emails from candidates. It’s a pretty time consuming process, but essential to do properly to get the right people.

Ended the week with a board game night at work, where we played Dixit, a fantastic card game I’d not played before. One person plays the storyteller, chooses one of their cards (with beautiful imagery), picks a phrase, and everyone else has to choose which of their cards best fits. The idea is to guess which card is the storytellers. Will have to buy it for the family to play!