spongl .io


spongl.io is presently my side project. I'm Jason and I live and work in northern England, UK. You can find me asking questions about how to fix software problems by my handle shotleybuilder.

This project is inspired by my day job when I'm a regular user of the the resources to be found at legislation.gov.uk. Programmatic access to these resources is available through a search api provided by the National Archive's under version 3 of the Open Government Licence ( Open Government Licence v3)

Therefore spongl.io is a project to do two things: (1) to work more closely with the api and those resources and (2) to provide an opportunity to work with some of the newest web and mobile technologies.

A Note About Tech

Most of the code for spongl.io is written in Elixir and the project uses the Phoenix platform. Beneath this there are a number of important technologies not least of which is Erlsom. This package is used the parse the xml returned from legislation.gov.uk and create Elixir data structures.

An underpinning design philosophy is to keep the software lightweight and quick to install and load. There are no heavy front-end javascript packages used here, not even jQuery, and I shall be refactoring the code over time to continue to reduce the use of js. However, other design choices have been made which will mean most older browsers are not supported. This includes all versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer which doesn't currently provide support for the <summary> and <details> HTML5 elements (see here).

The Name

Back in 2015 I was messaging the outline of this project with Cristina who was an early collaborator. Not a native English speaker she managed to mangle the word "sponge" which became "spongle". We liked the name and dropped the "e". Interestingly Google translate reckons spongle is the word for sponge in Lithuanian. I've checked and spongl, spongle, and sponglio do not appear to be insulting or derogatory in any language. Please accept my apologies if this is not the case.

The Logo

The software is trying to follow Google's material design philosophy and the colours are from their swatch. I was messing with the primary, secondary and accent colours I'd chosen and ended up creating something that feels quite nautical. The logo also reminds me of the Union Jack flag. This was quite accidental and is a result of having chosen a red, white and blue theme. However, I'm happy that this is the outcome since this is an app dealing with the UK's legislation.