Fractal + Heroku + Basic auth

I’m currently experimenting with the rather excellent ’Fractal’ a powerful tool for building component libraries & styleguides.

As it’s for work and my employer being a government department I find myself having to be cautious about working in the open (at least in the initial stages of work). Mainly because we wouldn’t want citizens or fellow civil servants to find a trial service and believe it to be something they should use.

The quickest way to get a build of Fractal online is to use a service like Heroku which is very good but can be complicated for less experienced users (of which I count myself).

I’d shared the URL with immediate colleagues yet needed to retroactively add a form...

My response to GDS Front-end Survey

Recently GDS (Government Digital Service) asked for feedback from Front-end developers. The bulk of my response came to the question ’Are there any specific improvements you’d like to see in the front-end resources offered by GDS?

In summary I replied

A set of resources that will allow teams to create composible components that can be selected and assembled in various combinations to satisfy specific user needs.

  • New coding standards for HTML, CSS & Javascript.

  • A core ‘ normalised’ set of Sass/CSS files written in a manner that allows re-use and promotion of patterns and components.

  • A core javascript framework that is lite but powerful and forms a basis for modularising javascript...

Discourse trial for UK Service Designers

As part of my job for DWP, I try to take part in cross government discussions about service design, patterns, work flow, etc. I’m part of a mailing list along with lots of other talented people all trying to improve the services we deliver.

Recently it has become necessary for the community to move away from a platform it has been using to document and discuss design patterns. This blog post is my examination of “Discourse” a platform I’ve volunteered to set-up as a help to those interested in trialling it and hopefully for people using assistive technologies to put it through it’s paces to ensure it meets their needs and the accessibility needs of others.

Video overview

For those wanting...

A busy two months

I started the new chapter of my life going full-time (permanent) again roughly 8 weeks ago. I’ve not had much time to process but I’ve done a lot of traveling, meeting people and importantly, I’ve learnt a lot in a short space of time.

Below are the highlights of my first two months. Its quite lengthy so thanks for reading, I intend for future blog posts to be more concise.

A quiet start

Due to the time of year and some other circumstances, my start in Government was very quiet (compared to what I was used to). I arrived in Stockport for the usual first day stuff such as finding my way, meeting my new ‘line manager’ and some of the other nice people that will also be based in DWP’s temporary...

Paul Smith

Front-end Developer for UK Government. Drinks lots of tea!



I'm designing this blog "live". I believe that coding in the open promotes sharing, feedback and learning. Occasionally things will change and possibly break but that's ok. You can let me know.

Feel free to browse the source code and commit history