Tom J. Watson


Hi, I'm Tom - a freelance software engineer and the founder of Artpip. When I'm not working, you'll find me playing badminton, watching too many types of motorsport or sitting on a terrace somewhere in Madrid.

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I'm a full-stack developer with 7 years experience working on high-availability, high-traffic web applications and APIs. I have particular expertise in:

  • Python, Node
  • SQL / NoSQL, caching, search, queueing
  • Unit testing, continuous deployment
  • ReactJS, AngularJS
  • Modern frontend tooling (ES6, Webpack, SASS)
Deuce Tennis

2018 | Remote Contractor

Deuce helps tennis players find courts and coaching sessions around the U.K., making it easier and more affordable to find a game.

I developed their landing page and contact system, getting them ready in time for the launch of the service.

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Matters Media

2017 - Present | Remote Contractor

Matters Media is a publishing company that creates and runs multiple news websites serving tens of millions of users per month.

I developed Matters Media’s custom CMS platform that powers all of their websites, helping to move them off of Wordpress. Scalability and availability were the focus, with much time spent building high-performance NodeJS APIs and rock-solid caching on Redis. I also developed mutlitple integrations with third party publishing platforms such as Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News, as well as developing an intelligent Ads Management system for Facebook Ads.

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2014 - 2017 | Remote Contractor

Conversocial is a platform for providing social customer care at scale. Used by companies such as Google, Tesco, BBC and RyanAir.

I worked as a remote contractor for Conversocial for 3 years, during which time the comapny grew from a small startup of ~20 employees into a successful and established company. I helped develop their Python platform that processes tens of millions of social posts per day, using technologies such as MongoDB and ElasticSearch. Frontend work included rebuilding their customer-facing web app as a modern React application and creating a proof-of-concept React Native application for a project in collaboration with Google.

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2012 - 2014 | Software Developer

Playtech is one of the world’s largest online gaming companies.

I worked on Playtech’s lottery product, developing systems that handled millions of transactions per week, using mainly Python and Oracle/PLSQL.

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Here are some things that I've built over the years.

Free peer-to-peer video conferencing.

A free and open source video conferencing application, powered by WebRTC. Simply create a room, share it with your friends and chat away. The app itself is very small, with the heavylifting done using webrtc-swarm and a signalhub as a signalling server.

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An app for macOS and Windows for setting fine art as your desktop background. Artpip has several thousand active monthly users and hundreds of dollars of revenue per month.

An electron-based desktop app for macOS and Windows that will set a new piece of fine art as your desktop background every day. The app also provides the ability to purchase a reproduction print of any artwork you like via the website. The app and website are powered by an API that sits on top a custom curated database of Artists/Artworks and >250GB of art. All the planning, designing and development of the app and website are done by me, as well as the creating of the art database and the curation of featured artworks.

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A collection of UI experiments.

Mostly built using Canvas.

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Old Reddit Redirect

An extension that ensures Reddit always loads the old design

After Reddit releasing what must be one of the most unpopular site resdesigns of all time, I built an extension that simply reroutes all links or page loads to the design.

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Reddit Comment Collapser

A more elegant solution for collapsing reddit comment trees

Collapse a comment and all of it’s replies by clicking on the column of the comment you wish to collapse. No longer get stuck in the middle of a huge comment chain - simply select the outermost column to collapse the whole top-level-comment.

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Break Timer

Chrome Extension for managing periodic breaks.

Break Timer allows you to set up customizable breaks and will remind you to take them. Taking breaks whilst working or studying is crucial in preventing RSI, eye-strain and tiredness.

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A map-based web app for discovering the world’s mountains.

A web application for browsing the mountains of the world using Google Maps. Zoom and pan around the map to find significant peaks in an area or use the search box to find a mountain. Click a marker to reveal information about each mountain, and click through to the full page view to find further information and discussion. Also my first major experience of getting burned for hot-linking to 3rd party resources - Freebase API has since shutdown taking all images with it, meaning the images of the mountains are no longer available. Lesson learned.

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