Hello. We invented the Internet.
OK, not really, but we're pretty good at it.
We are a co-operative with some of the most experienced web-application developers in the UK offering software development and design.
Wholly owned and run by the hands that build your software. We are self-organising: we don't have account managers (we call them fluffers); we want you to work with the doers instead of sayers.
Please approach us with projects that are inspiring; we absolutely require a challenge.
We learnt quite a bit while helping FutureLearn with their video player and wondered how easy it would be to glue some components together to create something similar to existing full-stack video services.
To this end we've created a Rails app which uses AWS Elastic Transcoder to transcode videos and AWS S3 & CloudFront to host & distribute the transcoded videos. We provide instructions on how to setup the VideoJS player on your website and we plan to provide instructions for other open-source players.
We think it's important that the user owns their own URLs so we make it easy to host the video assets on your own domain. We're committed to avoiding any kind of vendor lock-in. You can read more about GFR Video on its "about" page.
We were very frustrated with the quality of the online banking experience delivered by high street banks and the lamentably slow pace of change. So we decided to invest some of our own time in investigating whether we could set up some kind of very simple, online-only bank-like entity in order to demonstrate how much better things could be.
It quickly became apparent that starting a credit union was the most obvious approach, which is why the we called it Project Credit Union, but really that's just one way of tackling the problem.
We started by working on the project full-time for a couple of weeks and started building a wiki. We wrote a manifesto which summarised what we hoped to achieve and daily notes to record our progress.
FutureLearn, a start-up founded by the Open University, approached us in April 2013 to help build the first UK platform for massive open online courses. We jumped at the chance to get involved in such an exciting project!
We played an important role in the team from the beginning; promoting a strong agile development culture as we helped ensure the platform was ready for the public launch in September 2013, and then again for the uncapped courses in January 2014.
We think it's a great project, with a great team, and we're proud to have been involved.
Harmonia is a web-based application which captures, schedules and assigns all of the peripheral tasks and chores that a team needs to perform as part of their normal routine.
From writing weeknotes to chasing invoices to hosting social events, Harmonia will assign responsibility for completing each task randomly but fairly within the team, so everyone knows who is taking care of what.
Your team can sign up to Harmonia now.
Government Single Domain
We worked with GDS to help deliver the "Single Domain Project" for the UK government. The aim of the project is to deliver a simpler, smaller, nimbler, cheaper and better gov.uk domain for citizens and businesses to interact with the government and its services. This involves consolidating services from the multitude of existing government agency websites into a single, modern and usable system.
Our specific role was to develop a platform to allow the various government departments and agencies to communicate with the public about their policies, publications and goals in a uniform way to increase the clarify, usefulness and reusability of that information.
O2 approached Go Free Range to explore new approaches to software development, database technologies and open collaboration with their customers. We built a working prototype / beta replicating one of O2's existing products which let customers access text messages online. Working iteratively, we designed and built an API to securely expose this data, and #blue, a front-end application which consumes this data.
We then worked with O2 to scale and integrate the service directly into O2's data network, allowing it to support hundreds of thousands of customers, whilst remaining responsive to the feedback and direction provided by the users of #blue.
After getting their development team up to speed, we have now handed principal development of #blue over to O2 to continue the rollout to all their customers.
Using a custom HTML5 application running on iPhones, vendors recorded purchases of tea and coffee, and an array of statistics were projected and displayed on screens around the conference.
Using an Oyster card users swipe in and out of tube stations, ride the overground and jump on buses, accruing points for themselves and their team. The game includes missions, collections and achievements which can be unlocked via game mechanics such as location, time and speed.
The game is open to the public now.
Check it out: http://chromaroma.com
Our thoughts, ethos and process.
Using an agile/XP-based process is fundamental to our business. Much like the software it helps us to build, our process is always evolving and changing to meet the requirements and challenges with which we are presented.
We urge you to talk to us about your project. To give you an idea of how we work, our approach is framed by three guiding principles:
Software is alive
We know that software is not a static artefact and so cannot be described by a static spec or plan.
It needs to grow and evolve according to its environment, to best suit the needs of its users.
These needs change over time, even as the software is being built.
By getting early and regular feedback from users in real scenarios, we can identify and fulfill these needs.
By not compromising on quality and by avoiding unnecessary complexity, we can keep the system flexible and adaptable.
Always a product
We deliver working software every week, giving you visibility of tangible progress.
We develop your product incrementally, making the most valuable features available as early as possible.
We work iteratively, refining functionality based on feedback from you and your users.
By keeping your options open, you have complete control over your budget.
We want to work in partnership towards a shared goal.
We will challenge you and expect you to challenge us.
We write software in pairs.
We are selective about the projects we work on, based on the challenge and interestingness of project as well as the nature of the business involved.
A little background on our team
Founded in 2009 on the basis of mutual respect for each others' work and character, our team is made up of complementary skills and a shared vision of how software should be built. Respected by clients and the online development community, we are experts at building software for the web.
Since spending a couple of years as an electronic engineer on an Antarctic research station (yes, it was cold; no, there weren’t any polar bears), James has spent the last 15 years developing software at a number of consultancies and startups in the UK and US. After a stint at Thoughtworks working for clients like Dixons, AOL & Fidelity, he was the first employee at Reevoo, an early adopter of Ruby on Rails.
James is the author of Mocha, a popular Ruby testing framework.
Chris joined us in late 2010 and with him brought two outstanding contributions to our team: the ability to write elegant no-nonsense code and a massive beard.
Get in touch
Want to work with us?
Before we get acquainted here is the low-down:
Timing: We're fully booked until the beginning of June 2016, but we'd still love to hear from you if you've got an idea you think we can help with.
Organisation: We prefer to work as a whole team (we don't offer individual contractors), and we require direct communication with the actual project decision makers.
Scope: We aren't looking for a detailed specification, just provide us with a flavour and some enthusiasm for what you want to do and we can discover the rest together.
Budget: You pay a fixed cost per iteration. Since we deliver working software of value to your business with each iteration, we give you the flexibility to disengage at any point. We're confident that the quality of our work and the rate at which we deliver it will have you coming back for more.
Go Free Range Limited is a company registered in England under number 06789592, whose registered office is Walnut Tree Cottage, Station Road, Ningwood, Isle of Wight PO41 0TQ. VAT registration number 947510611