Andrew Betts

Senior Developer, Assanka

Current Projects

I earn my keep running a London-based software consultancy called Assanka, but various projects keep me busy in my ’spare’ time.

When Assanka developed Alphaville for the FT, we needed a simple scalable Comet server, and having built one I found myself as the maintainer of the resulting project, which we called Meteor: an open source Comet package featuring a Perl server and JavaScript client. At Assanka we’ve also recently been working with News International, and we develop the technology for a UK property website called OnOneMap which gives househunters a really powerful way of searching for property online. That was another ‘accidental’ project that happened when I last wanted to move house…

Why Comet?

So much of the time people spend on the web is wasted by poorly designed systems, which is one of the things that prompted me to start OnOneMap. It’s hugely significant when you can replace a process that involves clicking through several hundred pages with a single interface where you can get all the information you need in a fraction of the time. The logical extension to concepts like Ajax and rich media web apps is to make everything event driven, and that opens up a whole host of exciting new ways of making websites.

Sources of Inspiration

I’m a fairly typical engineer, so my sources of inspiration tend to be things that don’t work properly. I recently discovered that to move my mobile (cellphone) from a personal plan to a business one I have to have a new phone number, unless I switch to another network, port the number, and then switch back and port the number back again. It’s just the way the system works. Sadly you can only fight one battle at a time.

Lifetime Accomplishments

Unfortunately I have a namesake who is rather more well known than I am, so just to make sure everyone’s clear on this point, I’m not the seven-foot basketball player of the same name.

I’m also a BCS (British Computer Society) award winner and Zend Certified PHP Engineer. I’m told I make a decent cup of tea, and I’m the office champ at decoding (and constructing) bizarre regular expressions.



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