designsuperbuild is a small but perfectly formed company that develop all kinds of digital artifacts, from websites and web apps through to native mobile apps for iPhone and Android. Give us a call if you'd like us to work with you on something insanely great.


Next-Gen Static Sites

22 Jan 2012

When it came to building a new site for designsuperbuild using WordPress or Rails seemed a bit overkill - I didn't really want to have to deal with a web interface to just write a few posts. In fact, when I thought about it, I could make the site static and use javascript to pull in any dynamic content. This would give me a site that could easily deal with high traffic and take very little maintenance. Having said that I didn't want to get rid of the goodness that Sass, CoffeeScript and Backbone.js add to my development workflow.

I'd heard good things about Jekyll - Github use it for Github Pages - so I thought I'd give it a try. It's theoretically very simple - you set up a directory hierarchy and then run a command line utility that walks your directories, processing templates and markup files through any needed filters and then rendering your pages out to a _site folder that you can then upload to any server.

With a few plugins you can get a modern development stack up pretty quickly:


The generator itself itself, comes as a Ruby Gem so you'll need to have Ruby installed on your machine

Jekyll Bootstrap

Lots of documentation on developing Jekyll sites and customising the tool

Jekyll Plug-ins

just save these Gists into your _plugins directory and make sure you've installed any Ruby Gems that are needed:

Drop a few javascript libraries in your js folder and your good to go. Next post I'll cover using Ruby and Backbone.js to add dynamic elements to a static site.

A Sneak Peak of Our First iPhone Game

15 Jan 2012

We're nearing the end of development on our first iPhone game, an adaptation of the earliest known board game , The Royal Game of Url (wikipedia). Here's a couple of screen shots of the latest version:

Hopefully a February launch is on the cards but, as always, it's in the hands of the AppStore gods - we wait with baited breath.

Upgrading Orange Nexus S to Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS)

14 Jan 2012

Upgrading Android ROMs seems really hard if you just read through blogpost you find searching the web. If you've got a Nexus S from Orange it's actually pretty easy, but you need to find the right upgrade file.

First you need to go into Settings -> About and find your build number, for a stock Orange Nexus S it was GRH78 but yours might vary. Then you need to go to this very useful page of Android ROMs ( ROM List ) and find the right incremental update. For me I wanted to go from Android 2.3.1 (Build GRH78) to the latest Android 4.0.3 release. Download that zip and follow the standard upgrade instructions but use that zip file, there's a simple guide on ZDNet here

Some Resources For Learning Ruby

01 Jan 2012

I'm a big fan of Ruby as a programming language and was asked for some resources for learning Ruby the other day, here's some good places to start:

The Well Grounded Rubyist - best learning ruby book, and one of the better programming books i've read, well worth the money if you want a solid understanding

Learn Ruby The Hard Way - from absolute beginner to programming a web game,

Rails for Zombies - codeschool.com free course, learn Rails in the browser http://railsforzombies.org/

and, if you want a more unique guide, try the legendary _why's Poignant guide to Ruby, with lots of pictures of fox http://mislav.uniqpath.com/poignant-guide/

Recent Work

IAB YourOnlineChoices Opt-Out

Behavioural Advertising opt-out web application for the Internet Advertising Bureau, localised app in 21 countries across Europe

SquareClock Website

Customised WordPress CMS site for the innovative 3D space design software startup

The World v David Beckham

Event site for Yahoo!'s worldwide crowdsourced David Beckham interview - live video stream and integration of realtime Twitter feeds from the many international Yahoo! Sports Twitter accounts.

Global Radio Media Players

Flash development for suite of offline media players for the Global Radio group of web sites