About Me

I’m Paul Davis, and I work as Cross Stroke.

What’s your story?

I’ve been professionally building websites since 2008, and have worked in several corners of the web, including a small London web agency, larger creative agency, and even a publishing startup. Over the years, I’ve worked on everything from small brochure sites, e-commerce stores, musicians biography sites, and local government sites. I started this company in May 2015, and have been closely working with a small group of clients on a regular basis since then.

How did you learn all this?

I learn something new every day. I’ve always believed the best way to learn something is to fully immerse yourself in that subject. I’m always reading design and technology blogs, and try to attend a few web conferences every year. So far, that’s kept me on top of things.

I'm also good at being given a problem and finding a suitable solution. Working with print designers who side-step into the web has helped there.

If public recognition means anything to you, I won .net magazines Young Developer of the Year award in November 2011 at age 20,

What are you into?

When I’m not wearing down the letters on my keyboard, I’m usually out taking photos, driving, watching interesting YouTube videos, or enjoying a nice craft beer.

Services

My core strength is collaboratively working with high-calibre design agencies and freelancers to build what they design, be it a brochure site, blog, and occasionally a shop.

The agencies I work with have very high standards, and would notice if something is 1px out of alignment. My job is to produce consistent perfection for demanding clients.

Development

A majority of my work is taking something you've designed, and returning a responsive, content-managed website, whether that's sending zip files, a Github link, or pushing the site live myself. Most of the time, I'm building on WordPress, and the code is always clean and easy to work on, be it me or someone else.

So it goes without saying that I handle the front-end, CMS, inputting content, browser and functional testing, writing documentation, and ongoing support.

I tend to work the same way on most projects, which means using Gulp to compile numerous SCSS files into 1 main file (in 2 versions, expanded and compressed), concatenate several JS files into 2 (vendor and app, expanded and compressed again), SVG sprites for icons, markup partials, and more.

Everything needed to get the project up and running in a local environment is delivered to you, so you have a copy of the working filed you've paid for. Instruction are included, so your own team can take the project over should they choose to. If I get run over by a bus, nothing is lost.

Hosting

I can offer rock-solid web hosting, whether you get 10 or 1 million hits a day, in a UK-based data centre, using fast, secure, and up-to-date server technology. This includes automated uptime monitoring, and fortnightly checks to update anything where necessary.

Process

I work in a similar way to most developers, but everyone has their quirks. Here's the general process for a typical WP project.

Initial conversation

It all starts with an email. We'll discuss the timeline, requirements, and budget. After I'm given a visual design, I can go through it and raise any concerns, if any at all.

Spec refinement and quote

If there were any concerns, those get addressed and then I can provide a quote with a technical spec. This outlines how each section will work from a CMS point of view, and cements what work is carried out for the quoted figure. This helps make sure we're all on the same page and nothing gets lost in translation.

I prefer to work in fixed costs, so if I say something will take a week and it takes longer, that's my loss. No unexpectedly large invoices and no surprises.

The build

When I have all the raw assets I need (design files, images, fonts, and any other assets) I start the build. After a few days, there's generally something good to see, so I upload that to my staging server, and keep it updated as chunks of the site are completed. This gives you the opportunity to see it works in real life, and flag any issues before it's too late.

At a later stage, I give you the a login to the CMS and the go-ahead to start inputting content.

Testing

While content is being added, I start the testing phase. This involves clicking every button, pre-empting what users would do on the site like selecting text, opening in new tabs, filling out forms, etc. I also leave server-side errors on and make sure we have no warnings there which inevitably end up clogging up the server logs. Then I move onto browser testing, both on physical devices and virtualised environments to cover the most ground.

Any issues that have surfaced in adding content get addressed now, then sent back to you to clarity they're fixed.

Delivery

When everything is built right, works correctly, looks good, and reads well, we enter the delivery phase. A majority of the time, the agency have opened a new hosting account on behalf of their client and give me the login to that (along with a domain registrar login) to push it live.

It's not uncommon for me to deliver a packaged WordPress site either, which when combined with a clean WP install, replicates what was on the staging site.

  • Zip of wp-content/themes/newtheme (with uncompiled assets included)
  • Zip of wp-content/uploads
  • Zip of wp-content/plugins
  • SQL dump of the database (will need to find-replace the URL)
  • wp-config.php (mostly for the database prefix)
  • A text file with WP login credentials, which should be changed once live

Looking promising?

Contact