Useful Music

Sheet music downloads for developing musicians, expertly written to suit the instrument and the player’s level.

Homepage of the Useful Music site

Professional & Collaborative working

A fast workflow in a collaborative environment is stressed at Workshop 14. These two desirable features are often found to compliment each other. A faster workflow involves automation where possible and this reduced friction when making changes allows participation from people not versed in the deployment process. A close collaboration means better communication and getting to the right solution faster.

This project saw Workshop 14 and richardesigns come together to work with Useful Music. We were a dispersed team across the UK from Devon to Yorkshire. To make sure we kept the communication channels working we had to use the best tools.


I have loved git and github ever since we were introduced. It solves so many problems that you didn’t even know you had and leads to a better place with seamless (and asynchronous) collaboration. This project was the first in which I encouraged contributions from everyone including those not versed in git. There were two things which convinced me this was a good thing to try. First the integrations that are available - we had automatic testing and deployment to both a staging site and the production site working off commits to our git repository. Second Github has an excellent web interface, it is possible to create and edit files as well as open and review pull requests without ever installing git locally. In addition the “search this” repository feature will search the repository source files, so locating a typo is easy.


We used our channel as a centralised place for chatter on the project. As this was my first use of slack I integrated everything I could (a slightly over excited moment of automate all the things). After a few days of a very noisy channel we turned off a few integrations and kept just the ones we needed. A failing build is definitely something you want to hear about. A new commit on a feature branch is probably not necessary. It is a great tool, I do not use it for all my communications leaving the most important things to be sent by email. This works well because it means I can close my slack channel and still be prompted on developments requiring my attention.


An effective bug tracking solution was essential as the pool of contributors increased. Bugsnag allows me to separate bug reports on staging from those on production, and when combined with user tracking any unexpected behaviour in development, this became a productive conversation. I was able to see who had experienced the bug, ask questions of what they had been doing and what the expected behaviour was. The source details on the error allowed me to write tests enforcing the correct behaviour from then onwards.