Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas

Intro / Career

Having studied Communication Systems Engineering at The University of Birmingham, my education had revolved mostly around hardware with a bit of programming. Straight out of university I set up my own company offering mountain bike holidays in the French Alps (Riders Retreat) and needed a website. I’d briefly been introduced to HTML at uni and so set about creating my first website for my first client myself!

I continued to run Riders Retreat and lived mostly in France snowboarding and mountain biking. Web development proved to be a useful, portable skill which I could do in an office when I was in the UK with agencies sending me work out to do while I was in France. A lot of the work was for a family friend who owns and runs 64digital.co.uk.

Around the time of my 30th birthday I decided it was probably time I grew up and a steady life in the city of Bristol seemed more appealing than throwing myself down mountains daily in the French Alps. I began to freelance from the same offices as Hype & Slippers/Gather'Round with one of my first clients being the guys at Green Chameleon Design.

Shortly after moving to Bristol my health was dealt a serious blow and a prolonged hospitalisation ensued, being bed ridden and largely paralysed for 4 months. With zero income being a freelancer started to seem like an unwise choice. Upon regaining my health the guys at Green Chameleon offered me the chance to work with them full time.

Highly regarding their work, design and the role they were proposing I said yes without too much procrastination. 18 months on and I continue to work for them in their new offices in central Bristol, putting out work I am always proud of, both in terms of design and development.

Tips / Tricks / Tools

My toolkit is similar to many front-end web developers and includes­ HTML/CSS/jQuery, SVG and a touch of PHP all hand coded through Sublime Text, compiled with Grunt and deployed with Git.

My latest favourite tool is BrowserSync. When I make a change to my code I scroll my device, click a link or fill in a form and the action is synced across my testing station, all without any input/page refresh from me. I can have my phone, iPad, Mac, PC (with IE9/10/11, FF & Chrome) all up and running, showing me the latest version of the site. A quick scan across them shows that all is well with the changes I've made.

Life / Work / Balance

Outside of work I still keep incredibly active with bouldering (indoor rock climbing) twice a week and mountain biking at least once a week. As much as I love to code, I love getting away from a screen for a while even more.

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