blueshantung

I'm Mark, and I have worked as an IT professional for over 30+ years. I currently design and develop websites and Android apps when I'm not working on Mainframe systems. When not going stir-crazy in front of my screens, I like nothing more than drinking real ale and doing yoga.

Drop me an email if you are interested in what you see here.

Web Development

I started in web design back in 2001 when HTML, CSS and Javascript were quite limited when compared to these days. My original sites were functional and blazoned with colour, but they lacked a finesse in the layout and gloss you see today. Yet they slid into obscurity and armed with an understanding of design, I produced a number of commercial sites; the rest were for my own use or for friends.

In 2003, I branched into PERL and PHP with MySQL and this made my designs less static. I replaced a Mainframe-based tool which was used by 24x7 Operations to record incidents — this is still in active agile development and has been for the past 14 years. Another site was designed for peer review/approver change recording, using a unique platform configuration for different environments.

But web design has moved at an accelerated pace. I embraced flat design along with Google's Material Design Lite to produce responsive web design and user experience. But ultimately, it is your design that has to stand out. The current direction is flat design, who knows what next? But we must keep the visitor in mind.

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Android Apps

I came to Android in 2013 and was a chance to work on a modern OS with a clean and standardised visual design - I had not seen this since the release of AmigaOS 2.0 and the Amiga User Interface Style Guide back in 1990. Now apps could be designed with a consistent user experience so users could move from one to another without a steep learning curve. The Open Source licensing of Android made it more appealing than iOS and allowed for unrestricted development. Whilst I admire the visual design of iOS, the development process has kept me at bay for the time being.

My first Android app was for Mikey Hall Yoga and was designed around Material Design. My second one merged my two passions, Mainframe and Android, and was called z/OS System Monitor which presented data generated by the System Data programs. I am currently scoping out new ideas and pursuing redesigns of the above with new ideas from UX.

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z/OS Mainframe

I have worked in MVS or z/OS for over 30 years; 19 of those as a System Programmer and have always been intrigued by large interconnected systems, sharing workloads and multi-processing realtime and batch work. During this time, I have installed MVS releases from OS/390 2.8 through to z/OS 2.2 - each presented new challenges. I have written numerous programs and user exits in C and Assembler, all requiring a bespoke design and utilising various MVS functions but never over-inflating them with unnecessary code.

As well as supporting the MVS systems, I also support CA OPS/MVS (developing a new Automation package for my employer's systems to replace a previous system which was creaking with age), Phoenix Software's E(JES), Serena Software's ChangeMan and many others.

Beyond the software level, I have consolidated MVS/JES3 systems, removed some and created others. I was the Technical Lead in several Hardware projects to refresh processors, DASD and virtual tape hardware. Each has required extensive use of HCD to create IOCP/IODFs for the hardware configurations. Ultimately, my goal is to simplify each environment and ensure detailed documentation is produced for future understanding.

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