A high level view of the development process
Hi, I'm Chris Harrod, and I work within the Online Technology Group of BBC Online.
I have been involved in making some improvements to the look, feel and navigation of Developer the website that provides information about how to develop for the BBC. Developer gives you the first steps towards access to the BBC's back end systems, the platform on which much of our online technology is built, and the tools we use to build our web applications and delivery systems.
While a lot of people know the BBC web offerings as a place to consume content - sites such as BBC iPlayer, Sport and News - we also encourage some coders to interact directly with our systems. Therefore we have had a number of initiatives such as Backstage, and the Connected Studio, where developers can use our Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to mash up our content into new and pleasing formats.
As Ralph Riviera said in his presentation at the BBC Online Briefing last year we are also contributing to the whole ecosystem of technical and media companies in this field. We open source much of our code, expose our data via APIs, and encourage independant software development houses to work with us on projects.
On the commercial side of things the BBC has an established model of engagement for commissioning from external suppliers, and the BBC has an established model of engagement for employing freelancers. We have designed our back end services to facilitate this model; after signing a company non-disclosure agreement, developers are granted access to our documentation, code repositories, templating, testing and deployment systems via digital certificates. Thus it is now possible work for the BBC while sitting in a sunlounger in the Bahamas, armed with only a laptop, a wireless connection and a head full of ideas.
The refreshed and redesigned www.bbc.co.uk/developer site covers off some of our supporting technologies, aspects of the platform technology (dynamic content delivery system based on a modified LAMPs stack - Linux (RHEL), Apache, MySQL and PHP, with no direct connection between the PHP and database layers, to be specific) and our delivery standards.
So if you have developed for the BBC in the past, or are thinking about the possibilities of writing applications to dynamically deliver content to the web have a look at /developer.
I'd welcome your comments on the refreshed site.
Chris Harrod is Technical Writer, Online Technology Group, BBC Future Media