Dan Garland

Freelance web/Ruby on Rails developer from London, UK

“Expressing creativity through innovative web development”

About Dan

Dan Garland

Current Status

Self-employed web developer with ten years of commercial experience delivering web applications. I specialise in Ruby on Rails agile web development, requirements analysis with user stories and e-commerce payment gateway integration.

I am currently operating solely through my training / recruitment project We Got Coders, and will not be available for permanent work for the foreseeable future.

Technical Sklls

Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, Padrino, EventMachine, Cucumber, Selenium, Rspec, Shoulda, HTML 5, CSS, Javascript, Backbone.js, JQuery, XML, SQL, AJAX, Design Patterns, MySQL, SQLite, MongoDB, Linux, Tomcat, Apache, Subversion, Git, Capistrano.


We Got Coders

August 2013 - Present
  • Market: Training & Recruitment
  • Role: Founder, Lead Instructor
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails 3, HTML 5, CSS/SASS, jQuery, SQL, RSpec, Cucumber
  • I founded my own training and recruitment company called We Got Coders, specialising in the training of junior developers. We work with a range of clients, from start-ups and digital agencies to the NHS, with a unique pair-programming approach where I back my trainees and help them get programming jobs.
  • We work out of our amazing countryside location, near London UK, where we have our own 9-bedroom watermill
  • I designed the marketing strategy for the business, run operations on a day-to-day basis, teach web development and devised all of the coursework curriculum.
  • I have placed all four of my trainees into permanent positions, following our six-month course, covering classroom-based training and on-site mentoring. I now have five developers working for me and aim to become twenty developers by the end of the year.
  • Trainees from my second cohort won a prize at the recent #endsvchack, taking home £500 seed funding for a new project idea to help find missing displaced persons.

General Assembly

March 2013 - June 2013
  • Market: Education
  • Role: Lead Instructor, Web Development Immersive
  • Skills: Teaching, Leadership, Patience(!), Ruby on Rails 3, HTML 5, CSS/SASS, jQuery, Backbone.js, RSpec, Cucumber
  • I taught an intensive 3-month program covering the essentials of web development, to a group of 17 adult learners in New York.
  • The course covered a range of topics, covering Ruby on Rails, Front-end frameworks, Javascript, HTML/CSS, Testing and TDD, Agile Software Development, Databases and Computer Science.
  • I devised most of the classroom exercises and materials from scratch, drawn from my experience in the sector, aimed at giving students the knowledge required of Junior Web Developers.


November 2012 - March 2013
  • Market: E-commerce
  • Role: Senior Ruby on Rails Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails 3, HTML 5, CSS/SASS, jQuery, Photoshop, SQL, RSpec, Cucumber
  • I built the new shipping module for SupaDupa.me, an e-commerce platform with thousands of paying customers.
  • Working on an agile basis, I created a complex multi-channel shipping system that integrates with the existing checkout mechanism.
  • I implemented a Barclays ePDQ integration with Active Merchant, enabling the platform to accept credit card payments for the first time, increasing sales for the business.

Pencil In

July 2012 - December 2012
  • Market: Learning & Services Marketplace
  • Role: Project Manager & Lead Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails 3, PayPal integration, HTML / CSS, Cucumber
  • I recruited and led a team of freelance Ruby developers to create a services marketplace for education courses.
  • I was responsible for the entire project, from creating user stories, testing and overseeing the development and liaising with the client.
  • The site features an advanced integration with PayPal, multi-user registration with Devise and full-text search.
New Black - Fortune Message App

Fortune Message App

June 2012
  • Market: Music Promotions
  • Role: Ruby on Rails Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails 3, Facebook Integration, Javascript, CSS
  • I worked alongside the New Black digital music agency on the promotions campaign for a major album release.
  • I devised an application that allows Facebook users to encode and decode messages to their friends in the campaign's typeface, using Ruby on Rails.
  • The Facebook app is fully integrated, including a 'Like' gate.


May 2012
  • Market: Volunteering
  • Role: Ruby on Rails Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails 3, Devise, Cucumber, RSpec, HTML 5, CSS
  • I was approached by Logspaces, a community of student volunteers based in Oxford, UK, to create a website to support their activities and to enhance communication.
  • I liaised with the organisation to scope the project, create the specification, and followed an agile approach using user stories to rapidly deliver features built in Rails 3.
  • I hosted the application during development to allow the client to see changes during the build as they were developed.

HTE Gateway

May 2012
  • Market: Hotels
  • Role: Backend Developer
  • Skills: Ruby, Sinatra, Padrino, RSpec, Capistrano
  • Working for the Forward 3D digital agency, I created a gateway using Sinatra, that adds a layer of functionality onto the reservations and bookings system for a global hotels group, editing XML SOAP requests. The system handles all incoming traffic for the client's entire business.
  • I created a URL generation system, using Padrino, AJAX and JQuery, that allows administrators to generate URLs for a new search system.


October 2011 - April 2012
  • Market: Travel
  • Role: Backend Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails, HTML5, CSS3, JS, Backbone, EventMachine, Sinatra
  • I worked for six months on rails development for Libertrip, a new web start-up that specialises in travel based in Lille, France. I delivered new features, enhanced data retrieval and built an API, upon which the operations of the company is based.
  • I introduced a system of agile development using user stories and I created a test suite. Using cutting-edge asynchronous technology, I created a system written in Ruby and Sinatra, that used EventMachine to greatly enhance the speed of data delivery and enhances the user experience of Libertrip.
  • I took an existing Rails codebase and upgraded the underlying classes to Ruby 1.9.

Peter Baikie

January 2012
  • Market: Therapy & Counselling
  • Role: Wordpress Developer, Hosting
  • Skills: Wordpress, HTML, CSS, Linux, Apache
  • I was approached by Peter Baikie to create a website to help promote his therapy and counselling activities. I delivered a customised Wordpress solution that allows Peter to update his website with minimal effort and to keep it up-to-date with his articles on therapy.
  • I created a custom Wordpress theme that included a number of plugins and currently host the project on my dedicated hardware in the UK.

Kahala Aviation

November 2011
  • Market: Aviation
  • Role: Web Developer, Web Design, Hosting
  • Skills: HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Linux, Apache
  • I designed and built a static HTML website, to act as the brochure for a new aviation leasing company. I liaised with the company's directors to rapidly turnaround a site that is cross-browser compatible.
  • I provide a full hosting and e-mail solution for the company's employees using my dedicated hardware in the UK.

Most Rated

January 2011 - Present
  • Market: Music
  • Role: Director, Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails, HTML5, CSS3, JS, MongoDB, EventMachine, Sinatra, Streaming
  • I am the director of a new music technology start-up company, which has developed a music discovery service called Most Rated. In conjunction with live music events, the website promotes material submitted by artists, organised around local music scene.
  • The website is a distributed web application comprising of Ruby on Rails, HTML5, MongoDB, EventMachine and RESTFul API integration (Facebook, Mixlr).
  • The site has a complex mechanism to automatically select tracks from the pool of artist's submissions, and collates the content into a continuous stream, like a radio station.
  • I devised a business plan for the project, including a marketing strategy and fund-raising.
  • I work with local venues, artist managers and creative suppliers to source the locations, the artists, creative and video for the project.


March 2011 - Present
  • Market: Music Promotions
  • Role: Developer, Consultancy, Hosting
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails, Cucumber, MySQL, Apache, Linux
  • I was approached by Phatnights to take over the management and development from a failing web agency project and to take it forward.
  • I assumed control of a large Ruby on Rails codebase, which had zero test coverage and add new features based on the client's pressing requirements.
  • Working to a tight deadline and budget, I developed the software to fix critical issues and provide the basis for on-going development.
  • I host the website from my own dedicated hardware in the UK.

Touch Local

August 2010 - September 2010
  • Market: Business Directory
  • Role: Frontend Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, Photoshop
  • I assumed the role of freelance front-end developer in the recent redesign of the TouchLocal business directory website.
  • I was responsible for the HTML, CSS, cross-browser support and accessibility of the new templates.
  • I also worked on the wefinda.co.uk project, which used HAML for its template mechanism. I was responsible for updating copy, altering forms and improving user journeys.

Westfield London

June 2010 - July 2010
  • Market: Retail Property Leasing
  • Role: Ruby on Rails Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, XML, RSpec
  • Following my succesful time with Delete, I was tasked with implementing a feature to integrate affiliate data into the Westfield London website.
  • The project involved interacting with the sizeable Westfield codebase and liaising with their twenty-strong development team in Australia, to integrate XML data into Rails views.
  • I worked on-site at Westfield's Holborn offices, and earned a recommendation from Sarah Lukins, the head of UK Digital Marketing.

Oxford University Press - CPT

January 2010 - March 2010
  • Market: Education
  • Role: Ruby on Rails Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, JS, Selenium, MySQL, Linux
  • Following the success of the previous work I had done on the Hubbub launch, I was tasked by Head London to work on a classroom presentation tool (CPT) for interactive whiteboards commissioned by Oxford University Press.
  • I instigated an agile development process using user-stories, a points system and burn-down charts, which is now in use for all new Head London projects.
  • Amongst a team of four developers, I developed a XUL-supported HTML/CSS application that is dynamically generated from a RoR content management system.
  • The project was comprehensive in the technology used, from MVC Javascript, to CD-ROM ISO generation on the Linux platform. Throughout a test-driven approach was used based on Cucmber, Selenium and Shoulda with 100% coverage and 2:1 test to code ratio.


August 2009 - December 2009
  • Market: Food, Retail
  • Role: Ruby on Rails Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, JS, Cucumber, Selenium, MySQL, Linux
  • I joined the Hubbub project after the requirements phase had been completed and development had begun, and saw it through until launch.
  • Amongst a team of 3-4 developers, I developed using a test-driven approach using Cucumber, Selenium, Shoulda unit tests and RCov.
  • I debugged and verified the payment gateway integration with the SecureTrading network.
  • The on-line retail platform won a BIMA award in the Consumer Services and Goods category.

Westfield Stratford City

May 2009 - July 2009
  • Market: Retail Property Leasing
  • Role: Ruby on Rails Developer
  • Skills: Ruby on Rails, XML, RSpec, Teamsite
  • I worked on a large Ruby on Rails project for the Westfield group via the Delete web agency, developing front-end features on a large legacy codebase.
  • I worked with the Teamsite CMS system, integrating XML data into Rails views.
  • I developed a moderated comments system and associated administrative screens, using AJAX.
  • I developed using a test-driven approach using RSpec.

Titan Entertainment Group

April 2005 - September 2008
  • Market: Retail & Publishing
  • Role: Lead Web Developer
  • Skills: Java, Tapestry, Spring, Ruby on Rails, XML, HTML, CSS, Linux
  • I created the forbiddenplanet.com on-line megastore, an e-commerce website that promotes over 14,000 product lines from graphic novels to über-cool art toys. The website takes hundreds of orders a week and is visited by over 50,000 people each month.
  • I am accustomed to relaying technical concepts in plain English; I held meetings with the senior directors to establish the requirements and embodied them into formal use case documents.
  • I implemented a sophisticated Java web application that runs on a fault-tolerant Tomcat cluster. The website is a Java / Tapestry / Hibernate / Spring application. I also used HTML, CSS and XML.
  • I created the titanmagazines.com subscriptions website using Java / Tapestry / Hibernate / Spring. The site handles 70-80% of the business' subscription orders. The site uses a mySQL database to store a publication schedule, which is interrogated by the front-end to determine which magazines are to be displayed in the user's locale. I developed a content management system that allows non-expert users to administer content, based on XML / XSLT.
  • I know how to work under pressure and to challenging deadlines. I created the dwscifi.com news website using Ruby on Rails in under two weeks, yet the site now hosts several hundred articles and allows the editors to manage the content themselves.
  • I was responsible for all of Titan's webservers and websites, which are hosted in-house on hardware that I procured and configured.
  • I introduced several concepts and technology to the business, in particular I introduced an agile / XP methodology which is now adopted for all web development within the organisation. I developed a project planning tool in Ruby on Rails, which tracks the requirements for projects on an intranet website.
  • I was responsible for the creation and maintenance of Titan's web development environment. I installed and maintained a subversion repository and cruise control, Apache and Tomcat servers.

Nationwide MPOS

August 2004 - April 2005
  • Market: Financial
  • Role: Web Developer
  • Skills: Visual Basic, HTML
  • Working as a consultant for Gamcom, I worked as a developer on the society's mortgage point-of-sale system (MPOS). MPOS uses proprietary in-house software technology based upon a a vast and complex systems architecture. I was swift to learn and adapt to this new environment, including learning a new language called Process Author. Within a month of joining, I was deemed capable of taking responsibility for writing new software modules.
  • I have gained invaluable experience unique to working in a large software project; MPOS has around fifty developers. I am adjusted to handling the necessary communication and cooperation required for such a team to function. I am aware of the critical human factors that influence the outcome of large software projects.

Mathias and Sons

July 2003 - February 2004
  • Market: Textiles
  • Role: Web Developer
  • Skills: Visual Basic, ASP, HTML, CSS
  • Through analysis of existing workplace systems, I identified a requirement for a new Internet based ordering system, called MUMS (Mathias Uniform Management System), which is still used today. I outlined the various solutions to the management via a written report and a presentation. I eliminated the man-hours spent processing orders, saving £15,000 a year.
  • The project was entered for the regional Shell Technology and Enterprise (STEP) award, and I won a local and regional heat. Based upon my performance in both the project, demonstration and my presentation, I was named “the most enterprising student in the South West of England 2003”.
  • I conceived, designed and implemented an Internet-based ordering system that interfaced with existing Sage Line 50 accounting software using Active Server Pages (ASP), Visual Basic, HTML, SQL and Access databases.


University of Bristol

September 2001 - July 2004
  • 2:1 BSc Computer Science
  • I attained an 2:1 Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of Bristol; consistently within the top five computer science departments in the UK.
  • I led a group of five students working on a group project to design a software front-end and device driver for a digital MP3 player written in C. In addition to programming, I was responsible for time management and milestone setting, task allocation, administration of the group website and version control.
  • I wrote a thesis as a proof of concept for networking middle-ware in computer games. It was an individual project to design a client / server network application that explored advances in next-generation market trends such as cloud computing. Used Java and X3D, a cutting-edge graphics standard for the Internet.

Beacon Community College

September 1999 - July 2001
  • A - A-Level Computing
  • A - A-Level Business Studies
  • B - A-Level Maths

Interests & Skills

Dan performing in London


English (Fluent), French (Intermediate).


  • I play piano, keyboards and synthesizers, and enjoy composing my own music. I am working with several musicians on original projects and have spent many months working with a top record producer on song-writing and session playing.
  • I am currently studying for Grade 8 piano, after winning the Sheila Mossman Award for the highest mark in the country for Grade 6 piano, 2008.
  • I currently play keyboards for Mercury-music prize nominees Sweet Billy Pilgrim, who currently touring the UK to promote their much-acclaimed new album.

Reading & Writing:

I enjoy writing and have kept a number of blogs in the past. My writing has also been featured on the Brighton Argus website. I enjoy reading and particularly enjoy reading in French, especially translations from English authors.