Few things to cover…

Firstly, thank you for stopping by, taking time to view my blog, read my posts and hopefully take something away from them.

If you do happen to like the posts on here, then please do say so; retweet, Facebook share, LinkedIn, whatever, it would be great to get more of my content out there, and more of you on here!

Also If you have any post requests or tech questions, please send those over too, Twitter is possibly the best for that @jaward916

Secondly, apologies for the lack of posts during February. Over the Christmas break I had some good ideas which I made lots of notes for then came up with the 4 posts during Januray, however the ideas have dried up (already) and family related things have meant less free weekends. The weekday’s are taken up with the job, typically Sundays are when I get “me” time to do some techy stuff for my benfit rather than for customers!


Whilst I don’t have a nice full topic to write up for this week (I promise there are some ideas bouncing around in my head) what I do have is a snippet of 2018 so far in my world of tech/code/software etc.

During January I spent many hours getting to grips with a new major release of the software I work with, as I’m a little bit of a nerd, a lot of those hours were spent in my own time, drilling down into things, working scenarios out, deplyoment strategies etc. What I ended up with by last week was a full test scenario, remeniscient of a real world deployment. Effectivley emulating what a customer would have. The really cool thing is this allows me to very quickly test out scenarios, when a customer reports something “not working” I can run it through my servers and give them an answer same day along the lines of (usually) “try this, I think you’ve done X in the wrong place”. This is in no way a bypass to my wonderful colleagues in Support, but more of a way to assist the customer with getting their deployment up and running. I don’t generally delve into the applications, I’m not that kind of consultant. What I do is design deployments and implement them, I get the back end of a system up and running. The latest version included quite a few new technical enhancements, so getting experienced with them is an essential part of me being able to do my job!

February hasseen a few more interesting engagements for me, site visits all over the place (on top of delivering 2 training courses during January), with some more lined up, possibly even abroad.

What I am being asked to do now is anlyse, review, and in some cases redesign or reimplement deployments. Not because what they have was done wrong to start with, far from it, but more to help them become future-proof, employ best practices and become more agile as the world around us is changing, and the software adjusts to match. There’s no wheel reinvention, just a set of new tyres here and a bit of air there.

I write on here a lot about SQL Server as it is the underlying DB server platform for all systems I support. Another area of SQL that has always interested me is SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services), basically a very smart, sometimes fiddly report generation toolset. What I have been able to do over the last few weeks is take some reports, rip them apart, analyse a few minor but irritating issues and develop solutoins to those problems. The strange thing is that I’ve not been trained in SSRS, or had the change do do anything with it prior ot this. I just saw an issue, delved straight into the SSRS builder and worked it out, for myself. I forgot I had those abillites and it’s been refreshing to remember how good I used to be solving new problems.

I’m thinking some SSRS tips in a post may be some decent content in the future, think I’ll build the scrapbook up on those!


That’s it for an update, I’ve also updated the About page on this site to reflect the last 2 years!


HTML 5 Video Code

With the new features of HTML5 being constantly shoved in our faces, I though I’d share a little snippet of code that adjusts the initial volume of a video on a HTML page- this particular example is used at http://www.redsumo.com/blog for the video header on the main page. The video was too loud when the client computer volume was at 100% so, we decided it needed lowering, without re-encoding the video.


<video id=“welcomevid” width=“620” height=“250” controls=“controls” autoplay=“autoplay” onplay=“document.getElementById(‘welcomevid’).volume=0.2;” ></video>

Note the id=“welcomevid” which is required in order to set the volume paramter in the DOM with the getElementById command.

Volume control is 0-1 with 0.5 being 50% etc. hence the use of 0.2 in this example.

PHP code to list folders in a directory and make them links…


I had a vision of listing all the folders within a web directory so that they were browseable – I.E if you have a parent site with lots of sub sites, how can you create a list that you can just click on to look at them?

The Solution was a snippet of PHP code I put together based on some useful online stuff, none of which answered the problem specifically, so here it is:


$dirs = array_filter(glob(‘*’), ‘is_dir’);
foreach ($dirs as $key => $val) {
    echo “<a href=’$val’>$val</a><br>n”;
I’m quite happy with that one!
The usage is at http://www.redsumoclients.co.uk/list.php (note: the sites found here are only for development/ test purposes and are not “live”)