• Using cross targeting to allow .NET Framework projects to reference .NET Core projects

    TAB Blog Post

    Software consultant Matthew Clarke writes about how Visual Studio 2017’s cross targeting has made it easier to mix projects based on new technologies with your existing code. Our new wave of product development projects has been steaming ahead with the latest in Microsoft technologies: .NET Standard v2, .NET Core v2, ASP.NET Core v2, Entity Framework Core v2. Quite fittingly then, sometimes you need two target frameworks. It’s not possible to forget about the whole of the product’s legacy codebase and[...]

  • Social care directory user experience: the results

    Luke Canvin Blog Post

    A recent survey of social care directories found OCC’s MarketPlace offers one of the best user experiences for those seeking information and advice about care. Socitm, the society for IT practitioners in the public sector, carried out the survey in December 2017. It reviewed 152 council sites on a range of user experience criteria, including: how easy it was for a user to find the site content and presentation of information, including the clarity of headings and the relevance, continuity[...]

  • Disruption at OCC

    John Boyle Blog Post

    Director John Boyle recently gave a talk on technology-led disruption and why a company must act as its own disruptor, continuously challenging the way it does things to remain innovative, efficient and an interesting place to work. Disruption is not a new concept in business. Disruption’s latest incarnation is the sharing economy, which is disrupting traditional business models, including those of the information technology age itself. Some argue that the zero-hour contract models of Uber and Airbnb are taking us[...]

  • Success stories: women in tech awards

    Beverley Newing Blog Post

    OCC developer and diversity volunteer Beverley Newing won high honours in 4 women in tech awards last year. She discusses her experiences and the benefits of such awards. Over the past few years, there has been a big surge in the number of awards that recognise the efforts and achievements of women in the technical sector and shine a spotlight on female talent. Highlighting women who have successful tech careers in this way can encourage more women to come into[...]

  • Avoiding deadlocks and blocking with the ForceSeek Table Hint

    TAB Blog Post

    OCC database expert Julian Fletcher describes how SQL’s ForceSeek can be used to combat database deadlocking and blocking. One particular way of using tables in a SQL database can make them particularly prone to deadlocking (and deadlocking’s sickly cousin, blocking). This is where ‘working data’, generated by and used in a complex set of calculations, is temporarily stored in one or more tables. Whereas any one process will probably access only a very small percentage of the rows in a[...]

  • In experienced UX hands

    Sally Croft Blog Post

    The most successful apps and products generally have something in common: as well as meeting a need, they are a pleasure to use. They provide the features a user wants in a clear and intuitive way, and create a satisfying journey that anticipates and focuses on user needs at every step. So how do you get it right? How can you be sure that the interface presenting your innovation to the marketplace is providing great usability? And how do you[...]

  • Xamarin.Forms 2.5 – Forms.Context .Confusion

    TAB Blog Post

    Software consultant Matthew Clarke shares his experience of moving to version 2.5 of Xamarin.Forms. Despite only being a minor version bump over Xamarin.Forms 2.4, version 2.5 has made some rather radical breaking changes. These are currently only “Obsolete” warnings but I’d advise you to act now before they become build failures. The most disruptive of deprecations affect Android but they touch all parts of your code. The chances are they’ll affect you, as they touch some fundamental areas of Xamarin.Forms.[...]

  • The TAB – HTML & CSS

    TAB Blog Post

    The TAB is OCC’s Technical Advisory Board, made up of representatives from OCC’s project and product groups. The TAB’s role includes reviewing technology developments and their impact on the company’s software development. Articulate.js Articulate.js is a simple, free (MIT license) jQuery plugin that uses the Web Speech API to speak the content of a web page. This could be useful in a broad range of circumstances, but particularly as an assistive technology for those that have problems reading text on[...]

  • The TAB – mobile development

    TAB Blog Post

    The TAB is OCC’s Technical Advisory Board, made up of representatives from OCC’s project and product groups. The TAB’s role includes reviewing technology developments and their impact on the company’s software development. Xamarin & .NET Standard (Core) .NET Standard is now supported by Xamarin. The .Net Standard is the specification of which .NET APIs are available on all .NET runtimes – including the full framework, Core and now Xamarin. The upshot is that if you use a library or assembly[...]

  • Work experience with the Design team

    Website Team Blog Post

    My name is Florence. I am an A-Level student from Oxford, studying English, Philosophy and Psychology, but I also have an interest in art and design. I spent the last week at OCC, doing work experience with the design team. I’m still unsure about the career path I will take, but this week has been beneficial in helping me learn about design. With the help of the team, I worked on multiple projects, starting with making a banner for the[...]

  • The TAB – mobile testing

    TAB Blog Post

    The TAB is OCC’s Technical Advisory Board, made up of representatives from OCC’s project and product groups. The TAB’s role includes reviewing technology developments and their impact on the company’s software development. Test your production code Things can go wrong between debug and release builds: conditional compilation linking incorrect project configuration/build dependencies This means we need to test the production build. However, this is not always as simple as it sounds. Apple makes it almost impossible to test release builds[...]

  • Using service patterns to design local government online services

    Luke Canvin Blog Post

    The Government Digital Service (GDS) has begun to work with local government teams on transforming their online services to use some of the new technology developed by GDS for central government. So far, there have been 2 pilot projects across about 15 councils, focusing on parking permit and older person’s concessionary bus pass services. The aim has been to redevelop these services end-to-end using GDS expertise and the new GOV.UK Verify service. The interesting thing is that GDS has documented[...]

  • The TAB – software security

    TAB Blog Post

    The TAB is OCC’s Technical Advisory Board, made up of representatives from OCC’s project and product groups. The TAB’s role includes reviewing technology developments and their impact on the company’s software development. Security in the news Data breaches are on the rise and the media is increasingly publishing news stories on the subject. Some of the breaches happened years ago and are only just coming to light. For example, Yahoo had two hacks three years ago that have only recently[...]

  • Hosting September’s codebar Oxford workshop

    Beverley Newing Blog Post

    Volunteer-led organisation codebar runs regular, free coding workshops that aim to diversify the tech industry. Local developers volunteer as coaches, and women, minority ethnic groups and members of the LGBT+ community come along to learn whatever takes their tech fancy. Workshops run monthly in Oxford, and on 26th September, Oxford Computer Consultants hosted one at our new St Aldates offices. Attendees mingled over food, then the event kicked off with a welcome presentation, followed by a lightning talk from Reynold,[...]