SKWebDevelopment was started in 2008 by me, Sandy Knight.

I originally started down the road of building websites in 1998 when I worked in the offices of a web start-up. I quickly decided that being the office gofer wasn't as much fun as actually building websites so I decided to teach myself.

I could trace my interest in programming back to my formative years, typing BASIC programs from the back of magazines into my ZX Spectrum +2.

My first website was built in Flash and involved lots of pop-up windows and animated page transitions. Of course these days pop-ups and Flash are generally frowned upon, apart for some very rare exceptions. Although I enjoyed the process, I quickly realised that I preferred the code and the logic that went into building it than I did the graphic design. For that reason I have since concentrated on building websites rather than making them look nice. Having said that, nobody wants a website that doesn't look nice so I work with some great web designers such as Hamish over at rocketbug.

I have been playing around with Linux since RedHat 7.2 and using it as my primary OS since 2008. To start with I used to dual-boot Ubuntu Linux and Windows XP so I could use Photoshop and test my websites in Internet Explorer (the only two things I was still reliant on Windows for). Since then computers have become more powerful and RAM cheaper so it is easy to run a virtual machine of Windows instead, Microsoft even give away free virtual machines ('free' as in beer, not as in liberty of course) for testing different versions of IE.

I have also set up (and still manage) several Linux web and mail servers running Debian and CentOS, some with control panels such as cPanel or ISPManager and some without, some running the standard LAMP stack (Linux, Apache MySQL, PHP) and one with LEMP (NginX instead of Apache).

My most used tools are Geany 'a fast and lightweight IDE' (AKA a text editor), Firefox (with a few addons such as Firebug, Live HTTP Headers, MeasurIt, ColorZilla and Quick Java) the default Linux SSH client (OpenSSH) and FileZilla FTP client. No need for Dreamweaver or the like, I have always preferred to write my own code rather than add an unnecessary layer of abstraction.

When building websites I will happily work with frameworks such as Wordpress, Drupal or for shopping carts Zen-Cart isn't too bad, but only when the website requires a lot of those features. For simple 'business card' websites a bespoke CMS is easier to use, less bloated (so it works better on cheap, shared hosting) and has a significantly smaller code base so doesn't require regular security updates.

Outside Work

In 2001 I moved over to Chamonix in the French Alps, partly because I had always dreamed of living in a ski resort and partly because a client had offered to pay me with a month of accommodation there. By 2003 I was staying there year round (Winters AND Summers), considered myself a resident rather than a seasonaire. One of the reasons for that was mountain biking which has been a great passion of mine from before I went to Chamonix but also in 2003 I learned to paraglide. It gets darned cold paragliding in the Winter, imagine sitting in -5°C with your hands above your shoulders for an hour (or more) at a time, add to that 35kph of wind chill and you start to get the idea!

In September 2014 I moved back to London to take my career more seriously. Although there is a steady supply of work in the Alps there is also a steady supply of new seasonaires willing to build any old rubbish for any money people will offer them. Another reason for moving back is that I'm nearly 40 and I've been 'living the dream' for the last 13 years so I decided I'd have an anti mid-life crisis.

The rest of my life story is yet to be written...