Welcome

I am Chris Ward (aka Chris Chinchilla). I am a Developer, Designer and Writer currently living in Berlin, but originally from London and with many years spent in Melbourne.

This site is the home of many of my personal and work projects and the experiences I have working on them. All have a thread of openness, exchanging knowledge and new ideas.

Why do you call yourself Chris Chinchilla? Hmm, yes it does sound rather silly doesn't it! It's a nickname I've had for over 12 years after a passing comment at school, I've carried it through all my fanzine and music years and quite like it. For those who are interested, a Chinchilla is a small (and very cute) South American rodent, a Small Town in Queensland, Australia and is a real name in South America.

  • Observations on Albania and Australia in Eurovision

    Observations on Albania and Australia in Eurovision

    Last weekend I was back in Tirana for my second OSCAL, an awesome little open source conference that has a massively diverse audience and punches well above it's weight. Whilst in Albania I was conducting some interviews and research for a forthcoming article on the Albanian (likely also including Kosovo) startup and tech scene(s), but more of that later. When I visited Albania last year it was my first trip to a Balkan country and since then I have visited Serbia (twice) and Croatia. Last year, everything was new and novel, this trip I was seeing beyond that into things I might have missed.

  • Teaching People to Code — Part 1, Talking to Beginners

    Teaching People to Code — Part 1, Talking to Beginners

    Like many of my age and generation, I started learning to program with BASIC. These were the days when you bought magazines full of pages and pages of code for games or basic applications. You spent hours with your friends painstakingly typing these programs in to a computer to find there was a typo, or the game didn't work, and then giving up. It was more about hanging out with your friends, whilst your parents felt like you were learning something.

  • Dependency Management with the Swift Package Manager

    Dependency Management with the Swift Package Manager

    Chris Ward looks at the Swift Package Manager, an early-days dependency management utility for Swift.

  • A 1001 Crate Cluster with Microsoft Azure

    A 1001 Crate Cluster with Microsoft Azure

    Crate.io focuses on database simplicity and horizontal scalability. We aim to make scaling your data from millions to billions of records and beyond as simple as possible.

  • Video - Real World Use Cases of NoSQL Databases

    Video - Real World Use Cases of NoSQL Databases

    A modern and flexible alternative to databases

  • Managing data storage with block chain and big chain DB

    Managing data storage with block chain and big chain DB

    There's no denying that whilst Bitcoin's future may be hazy right now, the underlying technology it relies upon -- the Blockchain -- has revolutionized many industries and projects, with more to come.

  • The Past, Present and Future of Swift

    I'm excited about Swift for reasons I will expand upon later, but it's mostly the enthusiasm it has attracted. In less than six months, here are the project's GitHub stats.

  • Understanding the Docker Ecosystem

    Understanding the Docker Ecosystem

    Attend any tech-related event or read any tech-related article over the past 18 months, and you will likely have heard of Docker and have an inkling of what it is and does.

  • Physical and Mental Health for Developers

    Physical and Mental Health for Developers

    OK, I'm late again, but this time I have a decent excuse. My Wife has been in Hospital the past week and it has thrown my planning and timing. By pure coincidence, it leads me nicely to the topic I wanted to discuss this installment based on a presentation I have given twice. The topic is physical and mental health for developers.

  • Video - Loading and Displaying Images on your Android Interface

    Video - Loading and Displaying Images on your Android Interface

    Images enhance any interface and can help engagement and interaction with your users. In this video we will look at how to load and display images from a remote location via an API and the Volley library. We will look at two methods for loading images and how to layout and format images in an interface.

  • Print at Home Chip Shop is Released!

    Print at Home Chip Shop is Released!

    Chip Shop has been a labour of love for me over the past two years. It has been through many changes and revisions and isn't yet 100%, but I have always needed to get something live before it becomes a never ending process of 'polishing'.

  • Are you really a tech company?

    Are you really a tech company?

    I go to a lot of events. Firstly because I get bored easily, but mainly because I like hearing what people are working on and their ideas. I have noticed an increasing amount of companies and events that label themselves as 'tech', and I challenge if they actually are. To me it feels like some older phrases that are slowly dying and losing their meaning.

  • Migrating Your Android or iOS App from Parse

    Not since the shuttering of Google Reader has there been quite so many outcries of surprise and annoyance amongst tech fans. Facebook's announcement that their popular developer service platform, Parse, will shut in a years time caused ripples of panic amongst developers who rely on it. It's always been a bad idea to be too reliant on a centralized, commercial service as it may not always last for ever. Parse wont be the first or the last to close and it's a good lesson to us all to be flexible.

  • Tech Tribes and Being an Outsider Amongst Outsiders

    Tech Tribes and Being an Outsider Amongst Outsiders

    I make no pretense that I am a generalist and get bored quickly. I have written before about how this sometimes makes you feel left out, or worse, an idiot who has wasted their life. I want to explore this topic in more detail, and that of 'tech tribes', that I feel it relates to.

  • Video - Preparing Your Android App for Release

    Video - Preparing Your Android App for Release

    Your app is ready, the next steps are to get it into the Google Play Store for people to download and use. In this video we look at preparing your application for release and creating a listings page for your creation.

  • Video - Outputting Data to the User Interface

    In this video you'll be building upon previously learned techniques by taking data imported via API and displaying it to the interface. We'll learn how to get into the API data, get it into a usable format, and then once it is properly formatted, attach that data to the interface to make a usable implementation of the API data that, in this example, you are fetching from the Marvel API.

  • CTop: A top tool for Crate Clusters

    CTop: A top tool for Crate Clusters

    Meet Christian Haudum, aka 'Haudi', one of Crate's integration engineers and a fan of vinyl and dub step.

  • CR8: A collection of utility scripts for working with Clusters

    CR8: A collection of utility scripts for working with Clusters

    Meet Mathias Fußenegger, aka 'Jordi', one of Crate's core engineers and a massive Linux fan.

  • Play Testing is Open Again

    Play Testing is Open Again

    After making many changes, some of which I will get around to blogging about soon, play testing for Chip Shop is open again!

  • Using Classy to Create Stylesheets for Native iOS Apps

    Using Classy to Create Stylesheets for Native iOS Apps

    Classy is an intriguing project hoping to bridge some gaps between designers more used to web or front end projects and app developers. Classy allows for the use of 'CSS-esque' stylesheets to style native iOS app interface components.

  • Meetup and Conference Etiquette Revisited

    Meetup and Conference Etiquette Revisited

    I don't have an particular themes from the week I can remember in enough detail to discuss this week, so thought it time I dragged out one of my long term 'topics to discuss'.

  • Display Data Sets in InDesign with Porky

    Display Data Sets in InDesign with Porky

    As a coder of many years, I am a keen believer in writing everything once and being able to use it in multiple places. In the coding world, thanks to open data formats and widely supported APIs we can generally have one central set of content and use it for different applications and use cases, all nicely in sync.

  • Video - Using layout managers to craft awesome Android interfaces

    Video - Using layout managers to craft awesome Android interfaces

    Using layout managers to craft awesome Android interfaces

  • Celebrity Death, Netflix vs Digital Nomads and Introducing the Enthusiastic Amateur

    Celebrity Death, Netflix vs Digital Nomads and Introducing the Enthusiastic Amateur

    It's been quite a week (month, year) for celebrity death and I'm certainly not going to be the first or last to talk about the subject this week. I am going to mostly talk about Bowie, because I was a bigger fan of his work than say, Alan Rickman, but also for other reasons I will come to. Whilst we're here I should also briefly mention the death of John Bradbury, drummer with The Specials. He actually died on December 28th of 2015 and wasn't part of the new 69 club, but was 62.

  • How to auto deploy from GitHub to your server

    How to auto deploy from GitHub to your server

    GitHub, and the Git version control system it's based on, are fantastic tools for managing and collaborating on projects – code-based or otherwise.