Project WIP

Meet Dale

Lead Web Developer

Hi, I'm Dale Shepherd

Working my way through the ranks, I’ve gone from developer, to lead developer to Digital Services Manager, looking after the team and planning projects around our busy workloads. It’s almost like my previous roles, but now I’ve got a lot more paperwork and meetings to deal with. I also help to make our websites accessible, so they can be enjoyed by all.

I’ve been building websites since, well, a loooonnng time ago (well over a decade, so pre Chrome/Firefox and *shudder* IE6), which, via various jobs in various organisations and councils, has led me to my current role in the Digital Services team – A.K.A. “Project WIP”.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of changes in how people perceive and use websites, and, with the emergence of other technologies and social media, how the online world has grown and become part of our everyday lives. It’s this constant change and evolution that keeps me interested and excited, because there’s always something new to learn and use. After all, who doesn’t like to play with new toys, especially when we can use those to build something to help others?

I also write the occasional post on the Project WIP blog and tweet and chat through the Twitter account (@ProjectWIP), as does everyone else in the team. It helps us to be part of a larger online community, and ensures that what we are doing is as open and honest as possible – if someone else can learn from our successes and mistakes, then we are doing the right thing!

I’m also the guy who asks the important questions such as: “Whose turn is it to bring in cakes?”

Outside of work I spend time with my family and friends, as well as visiting the local cinema, gaming, and reading books and comics. Any spare time I have is normally spent hoping for a winning lottery ticket.

Experience

As part of (and in between) other IT roles, I’ve spent many years building websites for a variety of audiences, ranging from charities to educational institutions, right up to my current employment in local government.

Having started out hand-coding plain HTML in Notepad, I’ve seen and used various website styles and development best practices over the years. Each one of those has been driven by changes in technologies and standards, such as the rise and fall of competing internet browsers, the increasing use of mobile devices, and the ever-evolving W3C standards for HTML, CSS and accessibility. The programming languages I’ve used for back-end development have changed alongside them too, as I’ve dabbled with Perl, classic ASP and PHP right up to my current work using ASP.NET.

I still have a preference for hand-coding my HTML, but now it’s usually in Visual Studio, alongside C# and Razor for our webforms and MVC Umbraco websites, or in Notepad++ (where I also edit quite a lot of JavaScript via the various libraries we use – jQuery and AngularJS), although there is also the occasional bit of PHP for our WordPress sites.

Skills

  • HTML (4 & 5)
  • CSS (2 & 3)
  • Umbraco development (Level 1 & 2 certified)
  • C#
  • Razor
  • ASP.NET
  • JavaScript
  • jQuery
  • AngularJS
  • PHP
  • Project Management
  • Content Management
  • Image manipulation

Projects worked on

  • shropshire.gov.uk
  • new.shropshire.gov.uk
  • eforms
  • Newsroom
  • CRM & Umbraco integration
  • Staff intranet
  • Project WIP