équIT is a software design and development organisation established in 2005.
We specialise in providing bespoke solutions for charities, NGOs, small/home traders
and individuals at a price that lowers the barrier to entry for organisations and
individuals whose budgets are better spent elsewhere.
We use open standards and open source software on the basis that these provide the
most robust solutions, and liberate you from single-provider lock-in.
IT solutions should be enabling not restrictive. We never insist on use of a
specific web browser for our online solutions, or on specific email or other client
software. We write code that follows published standards so that you are free to
make your own choices about your desktop software. (See the
standards section for more details.)
We do small, large, complex, simple, interactive or static websites for clients of
any size. We do Mac, Linux and Windows, and more besides. If you think we could help,
contact us to find out what we might be able to do
Who are we?
équIT is a sole traded company owned and run by Darren Edale. Darren
is a freelance developer of applications and databases for the desktop and the web.
Despite graduating from Cardiff University with an MA in Critical Theory, Darren's borderline
obsession with getting computers to do useful things led him to work as an IT analyst and
programmer for IBM for several years before deciding to go freelance and specialise in the
provision of web-based applications. He has a long-standing interest in and commitment to the
use of open standards and open-source software as an enabler for small or
financially-constrained organisations and individuals, and as an effective means of access to
We're not all about the money. We need to get paid like everyone, but the goal of
équIT is the acquisition of just enough wealth to enable our chosen lifestyles, and to do
so by working in an ethical and honest fashion. This is what drives our commitment to open standards
and realistic, affordable pricing. We don't upsell, we provide honest
advice based on our experience of how to get the best out of IT. That doesn't mean we will
never advise you to spend more money, just that we will only advise spending more money when we
honestly believe it is the best way to get the IT solution most appropriate to your needs.
We are happy to discuss any project of any size.
What we do
The skill set of the company revolves around use of proven and widely-deployed
open-source software for providing web-based applications:
- Linux. The open-source operating system hosts all the
software to provide a web site or application, including the webserver,
database server and application interpreter.
- NGinx. The open-source webserver provides secure access to
the pages in your web site or application. It has been gaining ground
on Apache, the current leader in market-share for installed webservers
on the internet, and is known for its minimal use of system resources
and its performance. We also have the Apache webserver available if
that is more suitable for your needs.
- MySQL. For web applications, we use the almost ubiquitous
open-source database server for data storage. MySQL is the most-used
database for internet applications. We also have PostgreSQL available
or, for much lighter work, SQLite.
- PHP. For web applications, the open-source general-purpose
programming language provides the glue that links the webserver with
the data, retrieving information from your database and generating the
pages for your web application on-demand.
équIT has the skills to analyse your requirements, design a
database that meets your data capture and retrieval needs, design and
implement a PHP application to provide a web-based user-interface to
your data, and to administer the server on which your application is
hosted. We can provide hosting on our own server for your application,
or can install and remotely administer an application on your own
servers (via a secure, encrypted connection).
Web standards and best practice
All the sites developed by équIT follow standards established by
w3c, the non-profit organisation that looks after
the web. All our sites are HTML compliant, using CSS3. This
means that the sites should work correctly on the widest range of modern browsers.
Because we follow the standards all our sites carry the
w3c valid HTML 5 logo (see
the page footer).
Here are some descriptions of some of our projects. Click on the images to
Anthropological Index Online (AIO)
The Royal Anthropological Institute
(RAI) runs a website that aids anthropologists' research. It has a team of academics
who index articles from various journals in the field, making the results available
to researchers online. The AIO site is effectively a search engine that points
researchers in the direction of articles that may be of interest to them.
The online index suffered serious problems in 2012 and was unavailable for
several months, at a time when the only person with knowledge of the system was also
unavailable. In 2014 the RAI contacted Darren to help resurrect the system. It
quickly became apparent that the system's problems were extensive, and that actually
a ground-up rewrite using modern tools and technologies was the best solution.
The database of 500,000 articles and 3.25 million related keywords had to be
fully reconstructed from the original Refer-format text files dating back several
decades. The AIO was rewritten using modern PHP with a MySQL database. The
application is modular with an extensible plugin architecture based on
équIT's in-house rapid development framework. The application provides end-user search
facilities, including the ability to download or email search results in a variety
of academic formats (e.g. for import into EndNote) as well as human-readable formats (e.g. HTML, PDF). It
also provides the RAI's team of academics with a secure back-office interface
enabling them to upload the details of new articles to the database as indexing
As well as development, the RAI needed ongoing maintenance of their new solution
to avoid repeating the issues of the past. So a significant part of the solution for
the new AIO is backup and maintenance, along with full system documentation, which
ensures that the system is not dependent upon the continued availability of
équIT. A simple disaster recovery plan was put in place to ensure that the
RAI always has the latest system code and data, and the documentation it needs, to
get AIO back up-and-running within hours, should the need arise. That said, the
system has now been running successfully since the start of 2015 with no problems,
and new features continue to be added.
Search the AIO.
Shine With Play
Shine is a new play therapy service set up by Maddie Powell in late 2017, aiming
to help children and families work through issues at their own pace. Maddie wanted
a simple, modern website with a light, spacious theme, to which she could direct
potential clients, containing basic details of the service she offers along with a
means of contacting her.
Storybag is a home-run storytelling service for toddlers and young children's parties. It was set up
by Rachel Colles in 2006 after success telling stories at her sons' playgroup fetes and working as a clown doctor entertaining children in hospitals. The business is still
a home-run, part-time endeavour and the solution is a relatively simple site to provide details of the service
and a means of contact. The brief was to keep it fun, light-hearted, easy to
use and simple.
Storybag Home Page