About Olly

Olly Headey is co-founder and CTO of FreeAgent. You can find him on Twitter at @lylo.

Running a high-availability SaaS infrastructure without breaking the bank

The cloud is commoditising web application hosting but at FreeAgent we continue to build and manage our own infrastructure, using hand-picked servers, switches and elbow grease. Why we do this is a question I commonly get asked. In this article I’ll share our hosting history, how it has evolved over the last ten years, and how we now operate ... (read more)

Rest in peace, @mathie

There wasn’t supposed to be anything particularly unusual about today. It started out as a typically drizzly Edinburgh summer morning, grey clouds hanging low above the castle, with just a hopeful glimpse of blue in the distance offering the prospect of a little respite later in the day. It wasn’t until I arrived at my desk and checked our Slack channels that I first heard the shocking news of the passing over the weekend of Graeme Mathieson. Graeme’s passing is a truly sad and tragic loss that will be felt far from his Plymouth home, reaching across the world of the web development community. (read more)

Hack Days Feb 2015

We’ve been running Hack Days at FreeAgent for a few years now. Twice a year everyone in the company takes a two-day break from their normal work, small project teams are formed and magic happens. Yesterday afternoon, after two days of hard work, the team got together and watched 21 (!) demos. That’s far too many to write about in detail, so h... (read more)

Going Underground

Back in the hazy days of last summer we kicked off a project to improve the infrastructure behind FreeAgent, to prepare ourselves for an order of magnitude (or two) of very high growth in the coming years, as well as greatly bolstering our DR capablility. Deciding on a hosting strat... (read more)

Hack Week 2.0 round-up

Wow, what a absolute blast. Hack Week 2.0 has now been and gone, we’ve had a weekend to relax and this week we can take the time to look back and reflect on what we achieved. We had just over four days to get our projects polished (Friday afternoon was set aside for demoing our work to the company) so it was a challenge, but one everyone on t... (read more)

Bunking off

Bunker data

The FreeAgent Ops team head off on a two-day road trip this morning as we start the initial phase of our plan to build a new home for FreeAgent, the app.

Since the company was initially founded we have hosted FreeAgent with Rack... (read more)

Hack Week round up

Hack Week has been and gone and I’ve finally got around to collating feedback from the team. To give you better insight into what everyone worked on, and the outcome of their efforts, each team has written about the projects they took on and what they achieved. (read more)

Engineering Summer Interns

Every summer we invite at least one intern to join our Edinburgh-based Engineering team for three months between June and September and today we’re officially opening the doors to the Class of 2012! If you’re a CompSci student at a UK university and you want to do something amazing this summer, please (read more)

Hack Week update

We’re two days into our first Hack Week and we’re already seeing good progress.

Testing is a common theme being worked on by two teams. The FreeAgent code base is fairly large and is complemented by an even larger automated test suite, containing unit, functional and integration test... (read more)

Hack Week [initial commit]

Starting today we’re going to be trying something a little different in our development team. For the entire week our project schedules are being put on ice while all our engineers and designers (12 of them) are being left to their own devices to hack on whatever they want, so long as it’s FreeAgent-related.

(read more)

Friday Link Party - what we’re reading

There’s a whole lot of talk in our Campfire dev chat room all week, and quite a few links get thrown in there. It’s hard to keep up sometimes, so I’ve decided to start collating them for posterity and to share with our developer community each week.

So here are the main things we’ve been reading about this week:

On the road

Hello and welcome to the all-new FreeAgent engineering team blog!

A lot of work goes on behind the curtain at FreeAgent and we’ve kept rather quiet about this ever since we launched the first iteration of our app (18th September 2007, if you were wondering). This isn’t because we’re unwilling to reveal our secret special sauce (still classified, sorry), more because there has always been such an ever-growing mountain of work we really wanted to do, anything else has taken a backseat. (read more)