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I am the head of platform and standards at one of the UK's largest children's charities, Ask Me Anything!

Toby Osbourn
I'm a CTO/Developer who is available for hire. I like talking about how to get the most out of developers and Ruby.
・1 min read

I lead a dev team there and head up a team seeking to unify our technical assets under a common set of best practice standards.

Discussion (9)

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vuild profile image
Vuild

Good work.

I helped get a charity moving, which is still a small operation. What is the best way to find/convince devs to help out (volunteer, for now at least)? It's not a lot of hard/complex work but I've got others to deal with. It's a 1/2 technical question but I thought you may have insight. Thanks.

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Toby Osbourn Ask Me Anything

Honestly, I would focus more on getting the budget to pay developers.

If that is totally out of the question then I'd suggest contacting local hackerspaces and meetups, to see if people would be up for doing a 2-3 hour session on solving smaller well-defined issues.

Hope that helps!

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Vuild

To stay near 12% mgt numbers the tech budget has to be hyper restricted. Even at 2M+ rev, there is little there (back/front/seo/marketing etc).

Hackerspace support on specific items is interesting thanks. 👍

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vip3rousmango profile image
Al Romano • Edited

How does your team handle accessibility development and testing within projects? Is your charity subject to WCAG guidelines?

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Toby Osbourn Ask Me Anything

Great question!

Yes, we are subject to them, but even for areas where we could "get away" without being accessible, we treat accessibility as a first-class requirement.

We automate where possible, so build tooling to do a lot of checks that can be done and then do manual testing for the rest.

Where possible we try and provide tooling to the other teams that builds in accessibility for free. For example, our design system is made with accessibility in mind.

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Al Romano

That's great to hear that its first class!

To dive a bit deeper, when automating are you manually running code tests using automated checking tools (Wave,Tenon, etc...) and/or with unit testing as part of CI/CD?

Have any tips on helping to "toolchain" the process for DevOps?

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Toby Osbourn Ask Me Anything

Both and it kind of varies by the project (something we're hoping to standardise).

Generally, we do:

  • linters at the point of development
  • pre-commit hooks for some static analysis
  • CI for unit and automated checks. In that order (no point in everything passing colour contrast if unit tests fail)
  • Manual QA before deploy
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Ben Halpern

Are there any norms for developing software within a charity that are different from other areas of software?

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Toby Osbourn Ask Me Anything

Great question.

There is definitely a shift to thinking about long term life and support of a product much earlier on than I've seen in other sectors.

Normally this just means following the good development practice we know we should be following anyways (good tests, CI, good docs).

It is also refreshing that developers themselves are definitely seen as less important than the frontline charity staff. Which of course makes a tonne of sense but unfortunately in other industries we tend to get lauded a bit too much.