Software Development Solutions Ltd
SDSL is a company set up by Paul Shearing BSc (Dunelm), a veteran of the software industry, who has been providing consultancy, trouble-shooting, programming and application development skills for more than 35 years.
SDSL designs, develops and implements software applications for companies, large and small. Typically these are web-based, data-driven applications and quite a few have involved a significant technical copmponent requiring statistical analysis, engineering knowledge and mathematical understanding. SDSL can handle the tricky stuff that others might eschew.
Lil Ol Moi
Anticipating your question: "Is this a one-man-business?" the answer is: "Yes". I don't and never have, tried to hide it. If that is a show-stopper for you then I fully understand. But if you want to take advantage of competitive quotes (I have low overheads) and a lifetime of experience then read on. You might note from my customer list that this hasn't stopped me from being employed by some of the biggest and best-known companies in Britain and mainland Europe.
What Can SDSL Do For You?
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35 Years+

I have experience of working in a wide range of environments: in small to medium-sized teams and on my own as a consultant and supplier.

My technical background allows me to understand systems that perhaps have a more mathematical requirement than most. As you can see from my project and customer list I have worked with teams of structural and marine engineers, environmental specialists, material scientists, lighting and engine designers.


However, that hasn't stopped me dealing with the more commercial aspects of job costing, project management, invoicing, point of sale, and sales management.

Analyse, Design, Program, Implement
Development Cycle

I can manage the entire process of software development:

  • Initial analysis of the requirements
  • Production of a specification document
  • System Design:
    • Technical Specification Document
    • Database design and normalisation
    • User interface design
  • Implementation and Unit Testing
  • Delivery and Installation
  • User Documentation & Help Files
  • Acceptance Testing
  • User Training & Screen-cam videos
  • System Support and Maintenance
Proven Track Record

It should come as no surprise that over the years I have worked for significant number of companies, large, medium and small in my capacity as consultant, trouble-shooter and developer.

Many of these clients are household names in Britain and Europe. Click here for a full list of projects and customers.

New Developments

I utilise, where appropriate, new software frameworks and technologies that enable me to produce modern, robust and efficient web applications.

Development Cycle
Continual Improvement Programme

I keep abreast of the latest ideas in software development techniques via a permanent subscription to the excellent training site: Pluralsight. Part of the joy of working for myself is being able to learn about exciting developments and technologies and to apply them to real-world projects.

Of course I don't apply a different new technology to every project - the learning-curve would be too steep, but I do ensure that I am aware of and can utilise where, appropriate, new ideas.

Training Courses

I feel sorry for some of my friends in IT who work for companies that use technology which is now outdated; they have no knowledge of amazing new developments in software engineering and the exciting new tools that are now freely available.

Clearly it isn't possible to adopt all new ideas but some such as HTML5, CSS3 and Bootstrap (to design websites that automatically adjust on desktop and mobile devices) are here to stay, at least for a while and until something better takes their place. Tools such as Angular JS, MVC, Visual Studio ASP.NET and Hapi enable me to produce modern, robust and efficient web applications.

Development Tools
Website Design

Website: Example websites are: the one you are looking at, QuadBikes Surrey and BRL Shipping Consultants (under construction).

Flat Design

An important aspect of modern web design is the Flat paradigm. This isn't just about a clean modern interface that eschews the heavy, 3D, bevelled appearance of buttons and so forth but about providing subtle visual cues and hints as to functionality. Now in its second incarnation, Flat2 - when used as intended - is clean, uncluttered, functional, ergonomic and aesthetically attractive.

Intranet: During the late 1990s I developed an award-winning intranet for Philips Lighting. This was in the early days of web technology. Since then I have implemented a number of public-facing corporate websites and web applications.

Logo: Whilst I don't purport to have graphics design skills comparable with a professional, I have designed several company logos and most of my projects have a pet name and associated logo or graphic.

Web Analytics

Web Analytics is a term used for the analysis of information gleaned by web servers when people visit your website.


Google Analytics is free (for up to 10 million hits per month) and it is easy to install. If your website does not have Analytics installed you are unable to assess the success of your website.

Analytics will show you, amongst other information:

  • Number of visitors
  • Time of visits
  • Bounce rate (visitors who exit after viewing just the home page)
  • How long people stay on each page (an indication of how engaging each page is)
  • Geographical region of the visitor
  • Operating system used (including those of mobile phones and tablets)
  • Browser used
  • Whether a visitor is examining your website for the first time or revisiting

Statistics are gathered daily and the data is, for the most part, graphically presented and very easy to understand. There is also a real-time option to show current activity on your site.

Analytics is an essential business tool that gives you detailed demographic, behavioural and technical analysis of the effectivness of your corporate web presence - if you don't have this you are missing valuable marketing information. SDSL can retro-fit Analytics to your website, if it is not already installed.

Data-driven Websites

If I had to name a single skill it would be the production of data-driven websites; five of the last seven major systems that I have produced have fallen into this category.

Data-driven websites


  • Zero Installation Web applications require careful design to behave like desktop programs but have the advantage of not requiring installation on local PCs - all you need is a modern browser and a login ID.
  • Access The application can be accessed anywhere in the world where there is internect connectivity.
  • Ubiquity The same application will run on any type of computer and operating system that has a modern browser such as Windows, Mac and Unix. They will also run on most tablets and mobile phones.
  • Low Maintenance There is generally less application and system maintenance. Such maintenance as may be required is centralised on a single server rather than being devolved onto many remote PCs
  • Upgrades Upgrading the application centrally automatically provides the upgrade for all users.
  • Centralised Data Data being displayed and updated is from a database that can be hosted on the same server as the website (or one local to it). Ammendments to the data are immediately available to all users.

The types of data held in the database will vary from one project to the next. In recent projects that I have implemented the data has ranged from ship's details such as dimensions, capacities, owners, builders, engines, equipment and events (for BRL Shipping Consultants) to carbon footprint and costs for construction, running and final demolition of buildings (LifeCYCLE - Mott MacDonald).

Web Hosting

SDSL owns a Dell PowerEdge webserver sited at a server farm in the Kent Science Park near Sittingbourne. This supports a number of client websites and has plenty of capacity for more. It also hosts several virtual servers that are used for systems testing and product development.

Kent Science Park

The server has very fast web connectivity (T1 pipes), 32GB RAM, 12 processor cores and PCI solid-state drives (much faster than standard SSDs). Dell

Microsoft SQL Server

My experience with Microsoft SQL Server is extensive and even predates Microsoft's entry into this field. I used to work with Sybase 6.0 and 6.5 before Microsoft brought the product and started marketing it as MS SQL.

Most of my work over the past 30 years has been with databases and Microsoft SQL Server has been my tool of choice.

Free For small to medium-sized data applications the free Express version of Microsoft SQL is more than adequate.

Database Health-Check

If you have one or more databases hosted on Microsoft SQL Server then I would be happy to evaluate them for possible issues that could well be centred on:

  • Referential integrity
  • Table and field design
  • Indexing and query efficiency
  • View and Stored Procedure structure and methods

Query Optimisation

Database Tuning

It is possible to show how the database engine accesses data by viewing the Query Execution Plan. This shows areas where the database engine is having to work hardest to retrieve the requested data and highlights where performance enhancement is most likely to be achieved.

Engine Tuning

For example, having too few, too many or incorrect indexes will cause serious performance degredation. Correct indexing can improve performance by as much as 100-fold. Various techniques can be applied to maximise the performance of indexes by matching the index structure to the nature of the queries being executed.

Database Tuning
Other Specialist Areas
XML Reporting

XML is arguably the simplest and best way of expressing structured data in a way that can be understood by the widest range of computer data systems. As such it is the modern lingua-franca for data transfer.

I have experience of:

  • Using Microsoft SQL to generate XML data directly from complex nested queries by using the FOR XML syntax and XML extensions.
  • Creating XML schemas
  • Reading and parsing (importing) XML
  • Using XQuery and XPath to extract XML data and subsets
  • Generating reports directly from XML
PDF Reporting

PDF document creation can be done directly by using the iText system developed by Bruno Lowagie

I have experience of using iText to:

  • Generate PDF documents directly from database queries
  • Generating PDF documents from structured XML data
  • Formatting the output of PDF documents to look attractive using tables, shading, font selections, character embellishments and so on.
PDF Reporting
Committed to Efficient Energy
  • All computers (including laptops) have solid-state drives. (Faster, zero noise and vibration and much more energy-efficient than hard disk drives.)
  • All monitors are LED flat-screens with high eco-rating and automatic sleep mode.
  • Development computers are totally silent with no internal fans: cooling is via large heatsinks and natural convection. Not only blissfully quiet but energy-efficient.
  • Computers, printers and peripherals are switched off when not in use for extended periods.
  • Office premises use LED lighting throughout.
  • Heating in winter is via (carbon-neutral) wood-burning stoves.
  • During daylight hours the office energy requirements are met from a 4kw solar array.
  • All rechargable devices are charged from the solar panels.
  • By having a separate office building, but at home, I have no commute to work.

Advanced Software Solutions

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