I'm James Jefferies: Creative Technologist, Software Engineer, Web Developer, Technology Consultant & all-round Problem Solver.
The main technologies I use day to day are the Ruby language and Ruby on Rails web frameworks. Both are now very mature tools to use to build modern, scalable, secure and performant web applications.
I often help organisations do interesting things with their data, so I'm well used to working with CSV, JSON and XML files, old school databases (MS Access) and other random things to get data in to a usable format before making it useful.
Many of my projects have interactive maps, I usually use Leaflet for those.
I'm happy to work with a variety of databases, but the common ones I use are PostgreSQL and MongoDB.
I usually get a bit stuck in to the server side the usual deployment platforms I use are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Heroku.
My preference on web projects is to work with a User Experience designer or front end specialist.
How I work
For most projects, I work remotely from my office in Sheffield.
Some projects require face to face meetings or site visits and I'm happy to do those.
As an employee I worked for Barclays, Yorkshire Electricity (npower) & the digital agency TechnoPhobia.
In 2011 I started my own company, ShedCode, so that I could begin a new career working freelance. Initially I took on work with financial systems, but this changed in 2012.
I was accepted as a Technologist in Residence as part of the Happenstance Project, based at Site Gallery, Sheffield.
Happenstance was a national ‘Digital R&D Fund for the Arts’ pilot project, and as one of the six residents I found a new creative direction for my company and career. I enjoyed using my communication skills to de-mystify technology & to learn, first hand, how technical approaches can benefit arts organisations, including building digital prototypes for audience participation.
Once the residency was over, it was time to shift my focus to building innovative prototypes and products.
Since then, I’ve been able to work with organisations like Fun Palaces, BBC (Research & Development, Audience Services), Brighton and Hove Museums, Rattle, Caper, Energy Sparks, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Hack Circus & In Parenthesis
Mapping The Quartet
Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley and Iris Murdoch are a Quartet of remarkable philosophers who began their philosophical journey at Oxford University during World War Two.
I built the application, Mapping The Quartet to help capture recollections and interests in these four women by the In Parenthesis team. The design was by Morph Creative
Energy Sparks is an application which empowers schools to explore their energy usage. It provides in depth analysis for the schools and provides activities for pupils and teachers.
I was one of the lead, full stack developers on the application.
Civilisations is an epic new series spanning 31 countries on six continents, and covering more than 500 works of art. The Civilisations Explorer allows you to delve in to the documentaries at your own pace, trace a theme, find an artefact on the map, watch a clip on an important piece of art.
I built the application with the BBC Research and Development team along with the designer, Richard Jones.
Dr. Tom Stafford is an academic in the Psychology department of the University of Sheffield, we’ve been friends for a long time, but he had an idea about creating an essay which could be explored interactively using a twitter bot.
You can read more about the Choice Engine in New Scientist.
You can also follow the twitter bot, tweet START at it and after a minor delay, it should reply to you and you can interact with it!
BBC Home Front
Home Front is an epic radio drama series set in Britain during World War One and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The Home Front Story Explorer allows you to trace individual storylines, listen or catch up via key events, follow characters and find the moments you love across three seasons, sixteen storylines and over twenty-one hours of listening.
It is like an interactive box set companion, immersing you in the fictional universe. Built around interlinked characters, storylines and moments, driven by data and represented with illustrations, text and audio.
I built the application with the BBC Research and Development team along with the designer, Richard Jones. The illustrations were by Ivan Allen.
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