Coder is ready for the rugby

The developer of a site covering the Rugby League World Cup is ready to relax and cheer on the Springboks

The developer of a site covering the Rugby League World Cup is ready to relax and cheer on the Springboks

When Richard Martin came over to the UK two and a half years ago, it was only meant to be a short stay, writes Roisin Woolnough. But, he so liked the place that he is still here and has no immediate plans to return to his native South Africa. "The IT industry is booming here," he says. "Although there's a lot of work in South Africa, it's very hard to break into industry. However, there is more work coming up, so there may be a skills shortage soon."

Martin has spent the last nine months working for sports Web site Sportal.co.uk. The site is the official shirt sponsor for the Irish, Welsh and Scottish teams competing in the Rugby League World Cup, which kicks off on Saturday, and Martin's latest project has been developing www.playtheball.com, an affiliate Web site that is covering the competition. The site was launched in early September and will run until a week or so after the cup has had its finale at Old Trafford on 25 November.

Martin says it only took him a week and a half to build the site and a week to debug and test it. He used the same programs and systems used on Sportal.co.uk and so much of the time it was just a case of migrating templates over. However, it took a further six weeks to post all the content onto the site.

All the programming is written in HTML, ASP and SQL with a bit of Javascript. "Being a child of VB, ASP is very user friendly," says Martin. "It is also user-friendly for people looking at the site. Javascript puts a lot of boxes on your screen and it can get messy. However, I did use Java for form validating because if you're expecting thousands of hits like we are, then Java makes the process faster. With ASP, it's all server-side, but with Java it is client-side, so all the form validation work is done on the users' computers." The site runs on Microsoft NT 4.0 and Internet Information System (III) 4, using a SQL 6.5 database.

Most of Martin's work on www.playtheball. com is now done, so, like rugby lovers across the country, he can sit back and enjoy the league. Unless the site suffers any performance problems, his only worry will be who wins. "If it's England against anyone but South Africa, then I support England. But when they play each other, I still back South Africa," he says.

Curriculum vitae

Name: Richard Martin

Job title: head developer

Age: 22

Qualifications: national diploma in electronics in South Africa

IT skills: ASP, HTML, SQL, Javascripting, VB6, IIS

Favourite pub: Joe Kools, Durban, South Africa - "I really miss it"

Favourite film: Grosse Point Blank

Favourite book: the TV guide

Martin on Martin: a laid back guy

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