John Topley’s Weblog

Home / About

About John Topley

Ten pictures of John Topley's head

I’m John Topley and this is my weblog, where I publish my opinions on the things that interest me and sometimes the things that infuriate me. Most of the content on this site is about computing and design topics, although I occasionally write about music and anything else that takes my fancy. You might even find a few jokes here and there.

I was born in the mid-1970s in Lincoln, which is a fairly sleepy city in the east of England. Since 2002 I’ve lived some two hundred miles further south, in Hampshire. I moved to be with my partner, to find more interesting work and because the weather’s better.

When I grew up I wanted to be a car designer, but now that I’m grown up I write computer software for a living, and fortunately I enjoy doing so. I’ve programmed using BASIC, Object Pascal, Smalltalk, Java, JavaScript and Ruby. I’ve written desktop applications that run on Windows and web applications that don’t. I write enterprise Java software for the government by day and Ruby on Rails software for myself in my own time. In Autumn 2006 I took a three month sabbatical from work and spent most of it learning Ruby on Rails by way of creating a simple financial asset tracking application named AssetsGraphed.

My first computer was a 1982 vintage, rubber key Sinclair ZX Spectrum that I loved dearly. I’ve been using PCs since 1994, although for my own computers I bought my first Mac in 2005 and haven’t looked back since.

As well as messing around with computers I also enjoy music—listening to it, experiencing it live and creating it—travelling, reading (mainly crime thrillers and sci-fi), eating out and walking in the countryside on a sunny day.

About This Site

Ten pictures of John Topley's head

I’ve been blogging here since May 2003, although I’ve had a website since January 1998. The original version of my blog was created and maintained using Fog Creek Software’s CityDesk desktop application. I switched over to WordPress in 2006 because in spite of really liking CityDesk, it was becoming a bit unwieldy to use with the amount of content I had and it was no longer being actively developed.

I grew a bit disatisfied with some aspects of WordPress and decided that it would be a fun little project and a valuable learning exercise to write my own blog application using Ruby on Rails. After all, it only takes fifteen minutes, right?

In June 2007 I commissioned Mike Rohde to do the visual design for my new blog, using the key words Grid, Content, Minimal and Orange. I also insisted that Helvetica be used as the font.

In December that year I started development work on the new site and some eighteen months later it was done! I hadn’t intended the process to take that long—I could only work on it for the odd hour here and there and most of the time was taken up with migrating all my old content and comments from two different blogging platforms. Regardless, I hope you find something of interest here and let me know if you enjoyed your visit.

This site uses the Fugue icons by pinvoke.


  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014

More Archives

Sign In