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Showing posts from November, 2010

FreeAgent Geckoboard widgets....its a trust thing

So I've been looking at how simple it would be to get Geckoboard widgets up and running to visualise your FreeAgent data....and the answer is, pretty easy really. The idea I had was for a text widget to display your due invoices. The FA api is pretty comprehensive and this data is available via REST as XML - authentication is http basic using your FA username and password.

I created a new FA widget user for my account and assigned it permissions up to the Invoicing Level - this protects my more sensitive data. Wrap all this up in a Google-AppEngine (GAE) app and there you have it - your FA pending invoices....

In glorious public view....oh dear

Ok, no problem - we use the Geckoboard ApiKey to secure it so that only requests with the correct ApiKey (that we set in the widget configuration) will be allowed access to the feed. Or rather I use my Apikey - it works in my GAE app as I can hard code the apikey check into it...this app instance cannot be used to provide FA data for your a…

FreeAgent - accounting made simple!

About 6 months ago I swapped accountants - I had a pretty good, fully online accountant but was introduced to FreeAgent - did the free 30 day trial and was hooked - it did everything my accountants system did but better, much better....oh and soooo much cheaper, £100 a month cheaper! It handles Payroll, Salary, VAT, NIC, Invoicing, Expenses, Bank Account...the lot (my personal fav is the Out-of-Pocket iPhone app that lets you submit expense claims direct to your FreeAgent account!)

Of course I immediately used this saving to justify an iPad purchase, but that aside and six months on I can totally recommend FreeAgent. I still have an accountant, a new one, KPF Accountants - these guys are FreeAgent experts - and are really just there to get your Company Year End accounts in order...which they have just done...which makes me happy!

So to celebrate and spread the FreeAgent & KPF love for a great cost effective accounting solution (& referral discounts all round!) I thought I'…

Web Designers vs Web Developers...LOL

On the radar...

Couple of things I've bumped up against in the last few days that have piqued my curiosity,

StoryQ - a BDD framework for .Net. Like all of these things you can't really comment on how good it looks but from what I have read it "looks" pretty good....I'll put it to use on my next home project I think to kick its tyres.

FLIT - "(the FLuent Interface Toolkit) streamlines the design and implementation of fluent interfaces in C#. FLIT generates customisable fluent interface code from a simple text-based DSL. FLIT includes a parser, an object model, and a set of starter templates." - I'm a fan of fluent interfaces as they simplify coding as the code reads better and it is easier to write against (use). This looks an interesting project - again something for the next home project that has a fluent interface.

Beautiful Soup - "Beautiful Soup is a Python HTML/XML parser designed for quick turnaround projects like screen-scraping". I'm looking at p…

Geckoboard Countdown Widget v2

v2 is here, now with added colours! This time using the RAG Numbers widget to display your date countdown - as you get nearer the date the number will change from green to amber then red.

The new url is:!
Note 1: notice the new /rag/ path and the msg querystring param.
Note 2: the original v1 url still works

To use this on your Geckoboard add a new "Custom Widget/RAG Numbers" widget. By default the number will turn amber at 10 or less days to go and red at 3 or less days to go however you can change these with the querystring (see below).

Required querystring params
date: "yyyy-mm-dd" format, this is the target date to countdown totz: timezone offset in hours from GMT that you are in. Can be negative if you are behind GMT
Optional querystring params
msg: the label that appears next to the number of days (remember to encode spaces as +). The default is "Days Remaining" if you…

Geckoboard and Google App Engine = Awesome!

So I've just completed my first Google App Engine python app....I can't begin to say how awesome App Engine is...I had the python and Google Apps SDK installed and a Hello World app deployed onto world class infrastructure in about 20 mins flat. Deployment, simple! Management, simple! Python coding...not so simple (yet!).

So after seeing how awesome it was I put it to good use and implemented an idea I had for the Geckoboard Number widget - a day countdown. I've already implemented this in MonitorWang so if you use this (does anybody? I've had nearly 200 downloads but not a single comment about it, not a single one, good, bad or indifferent!) you can plug your Geckoboard into that.

However a conversation with Hugo the other day piqued my interest in Google App Engine and this seemed the ideal thing to use it for.

Very simply you put the date to countdown to on the querystring and it returns the Geckoboard Number widget XML containing the number of days to go. This means…