Matt Platts

Web and app development since 1998 using
HTML5, CSS3 (inc Sass, Less), Javascript, Jquery, Mootols, Node, PHP, Perl, Linux, Apache |

Career History

An annotated and potted career history - a more organised version is on my CV - please request this from matt platts @ gmail . com.

1997 - 2007 - Early years, Developer and eventually CTO for Delerium Music LTD.

Delerium Music comprised of several record labels, a music mailorder company and a music wholesaler.

I started my career at Delerium Music when they were quite small, as the first employee of a partnership, getting my hands dirty in all sorts of jobs which included taking orders over the phone and packing orders, graphic design and DTP (producting catalogues, layouts for album covers etc) and of course working on the web sites. As the company expanded quickly, I was soon solely on web development in HTML4. CSS hadn't been properly invented. Coding for Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer 3 was a whole lot of fun! I spent 6 months making web sites for the label and bands on it, before looking into the e-commerce side of things with Perl.

Soon after I built a completely custom Perl back end for the company's e-commerce site. The early version used text files for customers, products and orders - not MySQL databases! MySQL was introduced in 2000.

The fully MySQL'd version went live in 2000, and was integrated with the in-house MS Access database. I later inherited full development and maintenence of the MS Access Database too which ran the record label, mailorder and distribution sides of the business, together with customised reporting and calculations (eg. Royalty calculations for the label based on sales, etc).

I built several systems from scratch including order import from the web to MS Access screens, and full order tracking emailing customers on the status of their order, delayed items, etc. Later, full stock control, automated stock ordering based on supplier minimum units and ordering frequency tables, etc.

Many mailorder products where ordered in specially for the customer, and customers would often order tens of items at a time, comprising of items in stock, on-order (with estimated delivery time), pre-order, back order, etc. Complex calculations were used to split these orders into multiple packages dependent on timings when items would (hopefully) come into stock, and calculate shipping charges on these multiple pacjages by a number of services in order to find the cheapest methods.

Despite taking on other jobs - some full time - I was actually running the IT side as CTO right up until the company closed (shame on the UK government's botched implementation of LVCR allowing everyone in the Channel Islands to undercut us with tax breaks) in 2007, in fact I was the sole developer for the last 5 or so years despite having another job. After it closed I worked with the manager on other people's e-commerce systems for another 5 years, repackaging what we had as a platform and using it to sell all kinds of other products.

2000 - 2002 - Lead Programmer for Orbix International

The term developer wasn't in use yet. PHP was still a bit of a joke. I wrote Perl, HTML4, Javascript and CSS for a company specialising in multi-lingual web sites - in particular Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Lots of fun cracking the character set limitations of Perl and MySQL in a pre-utf8 environment when two byte characters would be treated as their literal bytes - one of which may equate to ASCII quotes for example and thus terminate strings.

I was full time for about a year and a half, and then when the old guy wanted to come back, stepped down and worked as a ontractor to get more involved in Delerium again as the Database wizard was leaving, so I ended up getting heavily involved in MS Access for the next few years.

2002 - Web Developer and CTO for Second Wave Promotions / Brainwave Festivals

Second Wave were the touring agency for Delerium Records, so I took on a lot of work for them too. Developing sites for bands and festivals, including the Canterbury Fayre festivals in 2002 and 2003 with online ticket ordering, etc. As an interesting side line I also worked at these festivals on the management team - which involved getting no sleep for 5 days each year. I also put together a team each year and ran the box office dealing with money, guest lists and passes, and the odd irate artist you've probably heard of who didn't send his guest list in and threatened to not play if we didn't let in anyone who mentioned his name for free, etc, etc. (Robert Plant on the other hand was a fantastic sport who genuinely laughed when one of my box office employees accused him of 'still pulling off that old singing racket', and I still have his iron and ironing board from his rider, which to this day have never ironed anything but his shirt for that gig. (NB: I didn't have to iron it, he had a whole team to do that for him).

2005 - Perl programmer for Mobile Streams PLC.

I finally get to to some wild and crazy things with Perl. Cracking apart and modifying binary files at bit level for example - I finally got to use pack and unpack a lot together with bitwise operators. All the fun stuff. I ran the department for, and wrote software to transcode video, gif and audio files into myriad different versions for every type of phone in existence way before the invention of responsive pages and used the now obsolete WML for coding web sites.

2006 - Various agency contracts

Front and back end development for a number of agencies as a contractor including Big Fish (Chelsea) and Impact Generator (Northampton). First exposure to PHP 5 which I blagged by the seat of my pants learned one weekend and followed up over the course of the next year. (I had previously covered the pointless attempted perl-rewrite and security black hole known as PHP 3 however - or Perl for HiPsters 3 - it certainly wasn't for programmers and until version 5 I refused to touch it.. see my rant balanced and thought out discussion on the subject here if you want to know more..)

2007 - Lead developer / Senior architect for Paragon Digital

I'd got bored of being a programmer and a developer, and fancied being an architect, so I formed my own company and gave myself the title. This was an agency, creating custom e-commerce web sites and CMS systems, integrating them with fulfillment warehouses, accounting software and anything else people wanted.

The company's main software was a custom PHP framework / e-commerce system (all my own) built into a platform, with a complete customer back end, running in a multi window environment using Mootools because I thought it was better then Jquery. Then Jquery got popular after I'd done loads of work on it and nobody else wanted to touch it, which was a shame because it was brilliant.

2012 - Lead developer for

Frameworks go out of the window as I am called in to fix a mess of a web site which has missed it's launch date. It's pure PHP and untemplated, so a mass of PHP, HTML, Javascript and CSS is all intermingled and all over the place. Worse, there isn't time to refactor it all, thus a battle of wits begins to hit a Christmas launch date with corrections and a bunch of new features too.

Massive use of jQuery for animation, interacting with the back end.

Facebook app integration which I built from scratch - load in your friends and their birthdays from here, and get birthday gift suggestions for them. This was all run in a custom built multiple pop-up window interface, displaying 'contact cards' for your friends which you'd imported.

Complex algorithms for displaying gifts, using a mixture of product rotation, supplier rotation, promoted products, product score, category rotation, product availability given a customer-selected delivery window and whether or not the supplier was on holiday and would they be back in time etc etc, how often the product was viewed and more. This resulted in a 30 line SQL statement with further processing. This was not simple 'order by' stuff, it was rotations within rotations within algorithms within more rotations etc etc.

The deadline was hit, but sadly the company was to fold in the next year so it was off to find another Full Time job.

2013 - Lead developer / team leader for goHenry LTD

This was great fun - I took a banking app from the third party software house who developed it, hired a team and brought it all in house. goHenry was one of the best ideas in the history of good ideas for the internet, as it was about teaching children the value of money. Whether you love it or think it's the root of all evil everyone needs to learn about it. Child cards with parental controls and real time spending alerts is an excellent way to do it.

The company grew from a few thousand subscribers to tens of thousands whilst I was there, resulting in many changes having to be made in the name of scalability. Last I heard was they're in the hundreds of thousands. Miss it massively but not the insane commute after they moved to the other side of London from me (personal record - 5.5 hours in one day). And that would be why I had to leave...

2015-2016 - Lead developer for Portcullis Internet Security LTD (acquired by Cisco )

Cyber-security and penetration testing company, focussed on trying to break web sites rather than build them. Banks, Governments etc - I could tell you more about it, but I'd have to...

Sadly made redundant as part of the Cisco buyout, which turned out to be the best thing ever because...

2016 - Developer for Blue Coat Systems Inc. (Acquired by Symantec, then Broadcom) / /

And I've gone full circle - it's back to Perl back ends! Perl/Python and front end development for Silicon Valley security company Blue Coat, an award winning company who have nailed business security accross local network and the cloud with an amazing all-in-one solution which has brought us success worldwide and seen us team up with Symantec to form the biggest cyber-security in the world. Later Symantec was to split in two and become NortonLifelock and Enterprise Security side of Symantec was taken on by Broadcom. Spending some time in Silicon Vally - it feels like it's where I was heading all along. I'm also soaking up the latest in front end dev including Node and React. Moving all the old perl code to Python and setting up Google Cloud hosting with Docker and Kubernetes. A great mixture of old school Perl and latest javascript and devops tech.

Contact me.