As well as my life on the farm I double as a computer programmer. I’m the Software Development Manager for a small company based in Cardiff. In my spare time (a rare thing) I’m working on a couple of pet projects including this website and a web based farm management system.
I’m not a “web developer” in the typical sense, I’m a “web applications developer”. Websites like this one are not what I do normally, this has been a pet project for the fun/love of it. As a web ‘applications’ developer my focus is making software that can aid the user is doing some specific task.
I’m interested in developing software for farmers as I’m the place of being a programmer who also lives and works on a farm. As well as the new version of Farm Manager I am also pondering the development of a cattle trading and listing website and a community website, but these are spare time projects and well, farming and spare time are not friends.
When I was 17 I wrote a program in Microsoft Access visual basic (shudder) for my mother to use to track the cattle records. 10 years on and three revisions and it is still in use.
I am now making a new version of this program in Ruby. It is being developed as a modern web (2.0) application which I hope to release for trial in autumn 2011. With it I hope to achieve a tool that is easy to use and enables you to quickly find cattle in your records, view their details and add information such as weights, medical treatments, test results (i.e. TB tests). You can also record service dates or scanning predictions and have the system calculate due dates.
The idea is firstly to make something that is simple and easy to use and which does the basics and would probably be free or really cheep to use initially. As people use it I want to hear what they would like to see added to it and I will extend it. Unlike most other systems you won’t have to go and buy the latest version to get the latest features. As I add new features these will become available to you as options which you can turn on or off. Some features will be free and others will be options that you pay to turn on, the idea being that you can tailor the system to fit your needs and not be paying for things you don’t need.
Eventually my aim is to interface this with the on-line government records system and make it into a tool for complete cattle record management.
This site has been a pet project of mine and it has been a great learning experience writing it. This site is written in the Ruby on Rails framework and uses modern web (2.0) techniques like Ajax. When I have time (lol) I like to make changes and improvements to the site so any suggestions are welcome.