Dodgy Code
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Dodgy Code

Dodgy Code | 2021 Year in Review

It’s been a year (somehow), and we’re taking a moment to chat about it. This is not your typical “end of year” self-promo.

Dodgy Code celebrated its 1st birthday!

September 2020 was when we first filed Dodgy Code as a “real” business within the state of New Hampshire. Pinnochio would be so proud.

We finished some client projects.

#1. Ditto PR

I’d probably call this the “Statamic Experiment v2.0”, as it was our second project using the Statamic CMS and our first project using the newly release 2.0 version. It was an experiment in seeing if the new release would flesh out enough usage and features to make it a viable candidate for more website builds.

Ditto PR homepage screenshot
Design Credit: Cantilever

It did not. While we think Statamic is a great choice for simpler websites, or for developers who are already building heavily into a custom Laravel stack (needing a CMS to play nicely with what they already have), its lack of pre-built data relationship capabilities creates too much overhead for our site builds. Additionally, we found the CMS interface and paid plugins to be buggier than we’d expect for a product of its caliber. Hopefully this will improve as the team managing it expands over time. For now, we prefer our other options and have made the decision to move away from further Statamic projects.

While our build experience wasn’t what we wanted, the Ditto website itself came out fantastic. Micro animations and a bold colour palette really bring a punch, and separate it from the online masses. The site is performance and accessibility optimised, and still behaves well nearly a year post-launch.

The Ditto PR project was designed and managed by our good friends at Cantilever, a design and development agency based remotely within the USA & Europe.

Visit the live website at https://dittopr.co

#2. Britax ERP Integration

The Britax project was a development collaboration between Dodgy Code and Paper Tiger, a digital agency based out of NYC.

Screenshot of product ordering on the Britax B2C website.
Design Credit: Paper Tiger

The project involved connecting Paper Tiger’s work with a finicky enterprise-level ERP platform for ordering and inventory management across both a B2C and B2B website. This was a marathon project that really allowed us to hone our PHP and integration skills with the Craft Commerce platform.

Visit the live website at https://us.britax.com

#3. South Side Home Movie Project

The South Side Home Movie Project (SSHMP) is a digital archive of home movies from the residents of Chicago’s famous South Side neighbourhoods. The website houses hundreds of films dating back to the 1920s, and is used for course materials, giving voice to the black communities of Chicago, and for creative reuse within modern media. The site was built on Craft CMS.

SSHMP Homepage Screenshot
Design Credit: Span Studio

The website was built in collaboration with Span Studio, a design agency based in Chicago, IL. The website recently won an award for being one of the “Top 100 designs of 2021” by the Society of Typographical Arts, an institution that has awarded 100 designs yearly for the past 43 years.

Visit the live website at https://sshmp.uchicago.edu

#4. Dodgy Code

We’re our own worst clients, for real. After spending a lot of time trying to design our own site (and changing our minds constantly), we hired Sasha Tomchuk to create a design based on the elements, look, and feel we had in mind. The result was, frankly, perfect.

Figma designs for Dodgy Code
Design Credit: Sasha Tomchuk

This year was insanely busy, so we hired John Flynn for a couple of months to help us control the chaos and get some much needed internal work done. His assistance on dodgyco.de and one of our client projects (not yet released) was invaluable and we’re extremely grateful! One of the biggest lessons we learned in 2021: It’s ok to get help when you need it.

Ya, we could have pushed off getting our website live for another year. But realistically, the downside of business going well is there’s simply no time for internal development. It’s a critical aspect that we’ve seen be the short-sighted downfall of too many companies.

So, we swallowed our pride and allowed someone to enter our world and develop with us. Turns out, John is an amazing developer and we couldn’t have placed our trust in anyone better.

Check out v1 of the Dodgy Code Website here: https://dodgyco.de

Snoop John’s Portfolio here: https://www.johnjflynn.net/

We created new toolkits.

Rachni: A minimal laravel-mix build starter

The laravel-mix starter kit, which Alex Brindley created before Dodgy Code was even born. It’s received a few updates and tweaks this year, with a major release scheduled for this month:

  • updated to laravel-mix v6
  • optimisations to build steps
  • edited the install script

Version 2.0 will launch before the end of January 2022. Rachni is open source and available free of charge. https://github.com/dodgycoffee/rachni

Brimstone

Forged in blatant frustration, this is the Craft CMS starter kit that’s meant to burn lean. Still in development, we’re honing down our kit to include:

  • Rachni (yes, the same listed above)
  • MariaDB / MySQL configurations
  • Baseline (free) plugins that we use across all sites (i.e. Expanded Singles)
  • Our standard .env and config files
  • Baseline templates, styling, and functionality

We’re not quite sure if Brimstone will be released as open source, but it very well could be. We hope to expand upon it in the future, including a module system for adding/removing starter templates and functionality at install.

We adopted a Benny.

Raise a pint, and join us in welcoming Benny Rostron to the Dodgy Code crew! Benny is a part-time independent contractor who’s signed on with us to provide glorious project management services for our in-house projects.

As our Project Guardian, he’s been responsible for keeping projects on-track, in-scope, and our clients well heard and taken care of. Despite being based out of Scotland, he’s mastered the global PM scene and half a dozen time zones. We’ve heard nothing but praise for him since he arrived, and look forward to working together through 2022 (and beyond, if he’ll keep us!)

We spoke at our first conference.

I presented “Building with Bumpers” at Craft’s 2021 DotAll Conference. Originally planned for Amsterdam, COVID numbers took a scary swing and closed down traffic from the US to the Netherlands.

Listen folks, this is scary stuff. Mask up, be safe, and use your best judgement to help stop the spread. We’ve lost too many friends and family in the past two years to not give you (yet another) PSA about how we’re not out of the woods just yet. 2021 was difficult, exhausting, and isolating. We felt it too.

So, DotAll going virtual was both a bummer and a bit of a relief. Regardless, I can’t express how warm and welcoming the community is. It really was a pleasure to interact with peers and present some ideas. I really look forward to meeting you all in person, someday.

Recorded Presentation (currently only available for ticket holders): https://vimeo.com/showcase/8951645/video/637710107

We’re still plotting global domination.

It’s been my and Alex’s plan all along to move Dodgy Code to the UK, on a permanent basis. Up until recently, we had our eyes set on a specific “Entrepreneur” visa that would have let us move over.

Perhaps you’ve heard of a little thing called “Brexit”. With the UK’s exit from the European Union came a fairly major shift in visas and immigration criteria. As far as we can tell, the entrepreneurial visa no longer exists, and the new/remaining visas are vague, to say the least.

We definitely aren’t giving up, but we are researching new avenues and opportunities to get across the pond. Perhaps an EU interim, if the Netherlands will take us.

If you’ve been through this process, or can recommend a good resource, let us know!

That’s a wrap! 2021 was a BIG year, and we look forward to 2022 being even bigger. Want to get on our schedule? Email your project details to info@dodgyco.de to get started.

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