Water Quality Information System – UNICEF

Riscon Solutions Limited is a global consulting company specialising in information and knowledge management. Roger from Riscon approached me to work on various projects because of my experience with MySQL and WordPress. As a consultant working with UNICEF and the communities in the south Pacific ocean, Roger wanted to build an information system that allowed users from the Governments of Vanuatu and Fiji to record and manage data regarding water quality and events such as tropical cyclones.

The system utilises the WPDatatables WordPress plugin, giving users access to tables, charts and data management. We also built a range of data input forms using the Gravity Forms WordPress plugin. These were welcomed by engineers and workers on the ground as they simplified the recording of vital water quality information throughout the region.

Another requirement was that the system needed to interface with some of the existing 3rd party data collection products such as Jotform and Integromat. This was achieved by integrating the respective products API with the MySQL database to store the data.

Tracy Hill website screenshot

Tracy Hill

Tracy Hill is an award-winning artist, Senior Printmaking Technician at UCLan and Research Associate for Artlab Contemporary Print Studios. Tracy has shown works across the UK and internationally in Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, India, Krakow, Serbia, Shanghai and the USA.

Having worked with other artists at UCLan, Tracy and I collaborated to design and develop a portfolio and blog. The brief was to provide Tracy with a space to exhibit her extensive art portfolio and somewhere people could find Tracy’s research. I built a responsive, clean gallery-style website and blog using the Avada theme on top of WordPress.

Tracy needed to easily create new blog posts that retained the style of the overall site design. To achieve this I created a set of custom blog templates that could be quickly edited and published by Tracy when necessary.

::before ::after CSS Pseudo Elements

The ::before pseudo-element adds content that appears before an element, and therefore the ::after pseudo-element adds content that appears after an element. This allows you to add elements such as icons or symbols to your code using just CSS.

The syntax of the ::before pseudo-element uses double colon.

selector::before {
	// CSS rules

The pseudo-element can be used to add an asterisk symbol to highlight required fields on forms. The content property is required for both the ::before and ::after pseudo-elemnt to add the element needed.

  color: red

Prevent CSS Caching with filemtime()

Lately, I’ve been having caching issues when trying to amend some CSS on various sites. In fact, this has plagued me for quite a while. I would usually force a page to reload regardless of the cached content or use a common hack such as renaming the file to something like style-v2.css. However, since moving hosts to AWS even this seems not to give me the most recent version.

The following is a method that always serves the newest file each time the page reloads. The filemtime() function returns the last time the file was changed as a Unix timestamp.

// Enqueue custom styles
function enqueue_custom_styles() {
    wp_enqueue_style( 'custom-style', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/custom.css', array(), filemtime( get_stylesheet_directory() . '/custom.css' ), 'all');
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'enqueue_custom_styles', 99 );

More information about filemtime() can be found in the PHP documentation here.

Dynamic Copyright Date

Maintaining WordPress sites is an important part of my day to day workload. In short, it pays the bills. However, repetitive practices always make me want to find an alternative approach.
A recent client asked me to update the copyright dates that are within the footer section of the website. Rather than come back in a year to repeat the process I endeavoured to find a way for the change to happen dynamically.

The site is built on WordPress so a simple PHP solution would be required.

This method requires access to the footer.php file which can be achieved through the theme editor section of the WordPress backend.



copy; <?php echo date(“Y”); echo ” “; echo bloginfo(‘name’); ?></p>

Caelus Drones

Richard of Caelus Drones, approached me following my work with North West Vintage VW, to design and develop an eCommerce website for his start-up drone sales and services business.

I created the branding and logo designs and using the created guidelines designed and developed a WordPress driven site that delivers an easy to use experience for the user.

WooCommerce was a solid choice for the eCommerce side because of its integration with both PayPal and Stripe payment gateways, as well as accepting payment via BACS and cheque. Richard wanted the ability to integrate 3rd party finance calculators, which was easily achieved via the custom plugins supported by WordPress.

Richard and the team at Caelus were delighted with the end result.

Avada WordPress Theme

Purple Custard is a Lancashire based design, branding and marketing company that creates beautiful websites. Craig at Purple Custard reached out to me for help developing a new WordPress theme that would be included in the upcoming Avada WordPress theme update. Avada is a world-class WordPress theme with over 700,000 users and a theme that I often use because of its user-friendly interface and feature-rich design tools.

Users of the Avada theme have access to professionally designed, pre-built websites to suit their business type, from hairdressers to electricians. Craig handed off a pixel-perfect Photoshop design for the new craft beer business website to be included in an upcoming Avada theme update. Using Avada’s theme option and design tools, I was able to replicate the design as a fully working website ready for deployment.

North West Vintage VW

North West Vintage VW is a local VW campervan wedding transport hire company that approached me to design their logo and website concept for their fledgeling business. The campervan is a pristine 1967 Westfalia model imported from California, resprayed with the original colourway and makes wedding photos look timeless. The design concept for the website and logo was inspired by the VW branding along with the vans beautiful colourway with a touch of romantic influence.