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Building online applications

Research in Modern Languages in the UK

This project was originally a collaboration between the National Centre for Languages (CILT) and Oxford Brookes University's Modern Languages school. Research in Modern languages in the UK provides an online single point of reference for research interests in modern language studies across the UK.

Saving the day

CILT designed the web site and Oxford Brookes University implemented it. The University gave the work to one of their students who spent 6 months working on it then left. The University then gave the work to another student who spend 2 months rewriting half of it, then left. The University went back to CILT and said the project was not completed and they had spend almost all the funding.

CILT still had no deliverable and not enough money to fund another student, but by that point they'd given up on students as a "cheap" form of labour. You get what you pay for, students are cheaper than contractors but you are paying for someone to learn on your time.

CILT approached me, described the situation and explained how they were in a pickle with tight timescales and not much money.

We looked at the current state of the project and worked out a plan for delivering completed features, given the amount of time and money there was left. BigSoft Limited worked almost around the clock to complete the project ensuring CILT didn't miss its deadline.


The online web application provided a searchable online database of research conducted by UK-based researchers. Most of the researchers submitted their new projects using the site. The researchers could add extra resources and calender events. There was also a place to sign up for email discussion lists.

Built on Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (L.A.M.P. stack), with email notifications. The server is hosted at Oxford Brookes University on the Super JANet.