équIT is a software design and development organisation established in 2005.
It specialises in providing bespoke solutions for charities, NGOs, small/home traders
and individuals at prices that suit those whose budgets are better spent elsewhere.
équIT uses open standards and open source software. These provide robust and
future-proof solutions, and liberate you from single-provider lock-in.
solutions that follow published standards and established best practice so that you are
free to make your own choices about your desktop software. (See the
standards section for more details.)
Who is équit?
équIT is the software development brand of Darren Edale, a freelance developer
of applications and databases for desktop, web and mobile.
I graduated from Cardiff University with an MA in Critical Theory, but have always
been somewhat obsessed with getting computers to do useful things. After working as an
analyst and programmer with IBM for several years, I decided to go freelance and
specialise in creating web solutions. I have a long-standing interest in the use of open
standards and open-source software as an effective means of access to quality IT for
small or financially-constrained organisations and individuals.
I'm interested in working in an ethical and honest fashion. This is what drives my
commitment to open standards and realistic, affordable pricing. I don't upsell, I
provide honest advice based on evidence and experience of how to get the best out of IT.
I'm happy to discuss projects of any size.
What we do
The skill set of équit 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
- 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 MariaDB and PostgreSQL available or, for much lighter
- PHP. For web applications, the latest version of 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 can 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.
Here are some descriptions of some of my projects. You can 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 me 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 and object-oriented, 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.