A key part of our cash collection service involves document conversion from HTML templates to DOC, XLS or PDF.

After years of usage, our current solution causes us conversion issues from time to time and we also started seeing limitations such as difficulty of integrating it into new APIs.

At Sidetrade, we welcome all opportunities to improve our processes and find better solutions to problems.

So, we decided to reconsider our options and enhance our home-made library. …

The problem — Do you trust your data?

By Victor Bouvier, Data Scientist at Sidetrade

Before deploying a machine learning (ML) model into a product, we need to evaluate its performance. A well-adopted practice is to split the data into a train set (data used for training the model) and a test set (data used for evaluating the model). This prevents delivering a model which has memorized all the training data, making it unable to infer correctly from new data, ( i.e. not seen during training). …

By Christelle Dhrif, Chief Communications Officer at Sidetrade.

Birmingham Tech Week became the largest regional technology festival in the UK after its hugely successful inaugural event last year. It attracted more than 5,000 attendees to seminars and workshops held across the city. Birmingham now has around 6,000 tech companies that employ more than 38,000 people. All of which are passionate about encouraging collaboration and the celebration of regional success stories.

This year, Birmingham Tech Week returned to champion new technologies. But COVID restrictions forced the event to go virtual and somewhat fittingly promote modern business strategies for our changing world…

By James Vickery, Jamie Hennerley and Yassine Fastani

SideHack2020 T-Shirt, Stickers and Pizza

A hackathon aims to produce exciting and valuable projects while providing an opportunity for teams from different countries to build new work relationships.

After eleven hackathons, which typically consisted of our entire R&D flying out to Paris, our twelfth was a challenge. Previous hackathons set the bar high, in terms of both productivity and fun. This year, we had a lot to live up to, and the COVID crisis to contend with as well!

Originally, the twelfth Sidetrade hackathon was to take place in the brand-new Birmingham Tech Hub in early April…

R&D Superheroes

By Luke Hennerley, Lead Application Engineer at Sidetrade

Covid-19 forced many businesses to re-evaluate and understand how they can emerge in a position of strength in a post-pandemic world. As lockdowns forced cinemas to close across the globe, we all faced a summer without superheroes. But a software developer should think and do things differently.

American actor Aldis Hodge once said that superheroes should represent hope, opportunity, and strength for everybody. That’s why Sidetrade has built a superhero culture that helps our business, employees, and clients survive and thrive and in the digital world. …

Our open-sourced frontend stack and the story behind it

By Clément Déon, Frontend Architect, and Luke Hennerley, Lead Application Engineer at Sidetrade

Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

The essentials

Need a solid React stack for your next enterprise-sized application? We’ve setup everything you need to get started into a Github repo available here:

It’s built with:

by Dr Clément Chastagnol, Head of Data Science, Sidetrade

On 3 November 1936, Franklin D. Roosevelt was triumphantly elected President of the United States, with over 60% of the votes, much to the embarrassment of Literary Digest, a leading magazine, which had predicted a landslide victory for his Republican opponent, Governor Alfred Landon of Kansas. The poll used by the magazine was skewed, to say the least.

By today’s standards, in fact, the bias of the astronomical 2.4 million-person sample would even raise a few smiles.

The respondents were all readers of the magazine, registered vehicle owners, and telephone users…

50 applications, burritos, and five new Code Academy Graduates

By Luke Hennerley, Lead Application Manager at Sidetrade and Mark Sheldon, CTO at Sidetrade.

Coding bootcamps in the UK are a good thing, but they’re not perfect. I’ve always believed — as someone who’s been an apprentice with Microsoft, and spent my career in R&D — that the coding bootcamp model needs some disruption.

Could courses be done faster than the usual three to four months? Do they need to cost as much as degree fees? Can training and jobs be better linked? …

By Clément Chastagnol, Head of Data Science, Loïc Petit, Senior Data Engineer, and Jie Lu, Data Scientist at Sidetrade.

Are you a user of Facebook’s multi-lingual aligned word embeddings MUSE? If so, we have good news for you: you can now load them in your code 100x faster, with files that weight 5x less!

What about them MUSE models?

Illustration of the alignment process of embedding models (from the MUSE scientific article).

MUSE embeddings are somewhat magical, because they allow you to very quickly build multi-lingual models without having to use a translation model, since the vectors for individual words are aligned. …

By Luke Hennerley, Lead Application Manager at Sidetrade.

At the age of 14, I took a keen interest in programming, and by the age of 16 I was learning Java to work on my own version of a popular online game.

Self-learning and apprenticeships instead of a degree

Then it was time to launch myself into the big wide world. We were always told during our school years that we had to go to university to do well. However, I didn’t want to spend three years learning what I’d been teaching myself for the previous two.

I discovered that Microsoft…

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