Atchai blog

Your Big Data Might Be Small

Posted 3 Dec 2015 (6 minute read)

Recently we’ve been working on a prototype of a textual analysis product. The requirements are fairly simple: take a corpus of user comments and find distinctive terms for each user. The purpose of the exercise was to validate the utility of this analysis to the client as well as to explore what architectural choices would be appropriate in a full version of the product. We tried a couple of different approaches and in this post I’m going to look at the pros and cons of them and how the aims of the prototype sometimes conflicted.

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The CMS is dead. Long live Hugo, Wercker, and CloudFront

Posted 25 Nov 2015 (8 minute read)

We recently redesigned our site - yes, the one you’re looking at. After considering our requirements, we realised with significant joy that we could jettison our 5-year old CMS (Drupal) in favour of a Static Site Generator. Over the last few years we’ve been using smaller components in the software stacks that we deploy for client projects. Some people call this a microservices architecture, composing complex applications from small, independent services, allowing you to easily switch out and upgrade parts of your stack.

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Naked Internship Part 4: Storing Passwords Securely

Posted 15 Nov 2014 (4 minute read)

Part 4 of a series exposing what it’s like to be an intern engineer at a tech consultancy. In this post I get into detail on how to use cryptography and store passwords securely. When storing user account information in your database, never store the users password in plaintext. Use password hashing and salting! Hash functions are simply functions which takes input of an arbitrary length and has an output (hash value) of a fixed size.

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Naked Internship Part 3: Lessons in what NOT to do

Posted 29 Oct 2014 (4 minute read)

Part 3 of a series exposing what it’s like to be an intern engineer at a tech consultancy. In this post I describe in detail three lessons that I learnt as part of my project building a SaaS application. Allow me to share with you my main mistakes. Lesson 1: Modularity is good. The app started out simple enough. Essentially just a collection of Backbone models representing the to-dos and a view to render a list of the todos collection.

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Naked Internship Part 2: How we built TodoWhat

Posted 1 Oct 2014 (16 minute read)

Part 2 of a series exposing what it’s like to be an intern engineer at a tech consultancy. In this post I describe how my internship project was structured and some of the technology that was used. Planning “User stories” are used as a starting point to plan development of the application. They are concise sentences summarizing the who, what and why associated with features to be implemented. For example: As a user (who), I want to create a todo (what), so that I can remember things (why).

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Naked Internship Part 1: Introducing TodoWhat

Posted 11 Sep 2014 (2 minute read)

Part 1 of a series exposing what it’s like to be an intern engineer at a tech consultancy. In this post I describe the project I was tasked with - all the assets and code are available as open source, and the end result is available as a Saas application. TodoWhat is a task management tool built with backbone.js and Flask. It was built as part of my internship at Atchai Digital and we’ve decided to release all the assets that were generated during this project as open source.

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Dataseed shortlisted for the Information Is Beautiful Awards

Posted 31 Oct 2013 (1 minute read)

UPDATE: We won a bronze award for our category! Many thanks to everyone who voted for us! We’re delighted and very honoured that our data visualisation tool is short-listed in the Information Is Beautiful Awards this year. There are some great entries so please go and check them out, and we certainly wouldn’t mind if you chose to vote for us :)

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Dataseed featured on Guardian Datablog

Posted 8 Nov 2012 (1 minute read)

We’re thrilled that our Dataseed visualisation of UK mortality statistics has been featured on the Guardian Datablog. Dataseed is our sister company, specialising in data visualisation, and currently working towards a beta version of an open platform that will allow anyone to upload spreadsheets of data and get beautiful, interactive browser-based visualisations in return.

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Our work featured on front page of

Posted 27 Sep 2012 (1 minute read)

Exciting news! Our work on Turner Broadcasting’s General Entertainment multi-site has been included in’s featured sites showcase. This includes a feature on the home page. Thank you editors, and thanks to everybody who worked on the project and helped make it such a success.

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Continuous Integration - A Step by Step Guide

Posted 5 Mar 2012 (5 minute read)

In the software development world, Continuous Integration (CI) is the process of continuously applying quality control to a piece of software in development. What this usually amounts to in practice is having automated systems that build, deploy and test your software each time a change is made. As software complexity increases, and more developers are added to the team, having these types of automated systems in place becomes essential to controlling the quality and cost of projects.

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