Mark Smith's Linkblog

Saturday 8th August, 2020 #

  • It’s been a while since I watched some movie trailers, these a pretty good
  • Breaking Down Serverless Anti-Patterns - Honestly I lost interest mid way through this article, so perhaps that’s an indication of the quality, however it’s an important topic
  • Browser developer tools timeline
  • Illustrated JS - JavaScript asynchronous behaviour - I liked this article, it’s about baking chocolate cakes, and also javascript
  • TypeScript, Minus TypeScript - Turns out your can use Typescript with vanilla javascript by creating the type definitions in JSDoc comments, that’s pretty cool
  • Introducing DevNews - A New Podcast From DEV!
  • To Head Off Regulators, Google Makes Certain Words Taboo - Sort of unsurprising in a lot of ways, of course they are going to be careful when it comes to future legal problems, but also some of the training material communication rules of thumb are actually quite good for users

Friday 7th August, 2020 #

  • How NodeJS revolutionised software development - High level overview of the qualities that make it one of the fastest growing runtimes out there
  • Twitter to label state controlled media accounts
  • Automattic (makers of Wordpress) launches a team communication and collaboration product called P2
  • Some people are saying that with the introduction of it’s Reels feature, Instagram is becoming too complicated to use
  • airtable.js - Airtable javascript client - Airtable is very popular with small to medium sized companies, with this library you can easily build custom cli tools and backend Integrations
  • c8 - output coverage reports using Node.js' built in coverage
  • Let's Debug a Node.js Application - Describes some very useful advanced debugging techniques, tools and libraries

Thursday 6th August, 2020 #

  • Interesting discussion around which large companies (PayPal, Netflix etc) use NodeJS for their backend services
  • Top-Level Await is now enabled by default - Appears to only be applicable to ES modules
  • HarperDB - Building a Database Written in Node.js from the Ground Up - I wouldn’t have thought NodeJS was a good choice for implementing a database but there are surprisingly many benefits
  • A searchable index of public APIs

Wednesday 5th August, 2020 #

  • New Repo: Implements a Books API for a Library, intended to be run on AWS Lambda/DynamoDB using serverless - From a recent demo project I completed, get in touch with me if you are looking to build serverless APIs
  • A deep dive into queues in Node.js - Great article that covers the runtime’s core queues, it’s also worth noting that NodeJS has some great libraries for implementing application level queues, I recently implemented a very robust and fault tolerant backend queuing system for handling inbound Stripe webhooks
  • A bit of self promotion - if you are looking for a developer, or know someone else that is, consider reaching out to me with freelance / contract projects - Now is a great time to start a project :)
  • AWS Serverless LAMP stack - There are a lot of PHP websites out there, so this new serverless offering in this space is noteworthy
  • Future MacBook Pro trackpads may be larger, adjustable, and backlit - Based on the diagrams in the patent it looks like a giant trackpad that spans the entire width of the device, and if I’m understanding the description correctly, the active region of the trackpad could change size based on the app being used, and perhaps even have different regions somehow drawn / backlit onto the trackpad - Sounds like it could be quite cool
  • Apple Maps’ Look Around feature gets first international expansion - It’s Apple’s version of Google Street View
  • In spite of an increase in Internet speed, webpage speeds have not improved over time
  • Disney is launching a new Star-branded streaming service internationally

Tuesday 4th August, 2020 #

  • SpaceX looks for government approval to serve broadband to 5 million customers mostly in underserved areas of the US
  • Introduction to web APIs - I hadn’t seen this MDN article before, it’s a pretty good overview of web APIs
  • Microsoft Teams adds support for 20K participants in meetings
  • Microsoft’s operations will be zero waste by 2030

Monday 3rd August, 2020 #

  • Is TypeScript the future of web development?
  • Creative Coders are the Celebrities of the Future - Sees a future where celebrity coders running algoraves is the next big thing - I don’t know about this exact vision but there is something to the idea that watching a programmer mid-flow is interesting, seeing the ideas stream out into the editor and the software slowly take shape
  • Web apps aren't tech. They're "tech" - Rather average article but it has a very good Douglas Adams quote in it
  • On some of the unexpected benefits of using a PowerPC (really old) mac

Friday 31st July, 2020 #

  • AI-Generated Text Is the Scariest Deepfake of All - The comparison made to the introduction to Photoshop is interesting, though I’m having a tough time imagining a future where AI generated articles is sort of ok and accepted
  • Jeff Bezos gets approval for project Kuiper, a satellite broadband constellation to rival Elon Musk’s Starlink

Thursday 30th July, 2020 #

  • It felt like a good time to drop in on Richard Stallman’s political notes, this one is is about a Treaty Against Space Weapons, important stuff - Side note I really like his notes but I wish there was an RSS feed that grouped all the posts into daily posts, the current firehose is too much, might be an interesting feature for an RSS reader to implement
  • A new funding model for open source software - Getting open source projects to a place where they are sustainable is important, though I wonder how such a direct approach like the one proposed here would distort the project environment as people flick to popular projects, I fear it would run the risk of making already strained environments more toxic
  • My monolith doesn't fit in your serverless - On the difficult choice developers have between serverless and monoliths
  • The Big Tech Hearing Proved Congress Isn't Messing Around

Monday 27th July, 2020 #

  • A review of the various funding models used in open source projects
  • Sony’s wearable air conditioner - It looks kind of neat but I can't help but wonder if this sort of thing is all that good for the planet, surely it can't be very good for the environment if everyone wears a personalised air conditioner
  • Are we in an AI overhang? - I don't know that much about AI aside from some neural network classes I took at college, and I'm not super into AI as I much prefer web development, on the other hand the numbers mentioned in this article are kind of mind boggling
  • A Mental Model to think in Typescript - Typescript articles often don’t put across the benefits succinctly, but this article manages just that with some real world examples combined with an easy to read style
  • Dynamoose - Modeling tool for Amazon's DynamoDB inspired by Mongoose

Sunday 26th July, 2020 #

  • Introducing Domain-Oriented Microservice Architecture - I found this writeup by the Uber engineering team to be a very good read, it describes their microservices architecture and covers their experiences developing it, also includes a suggested roadmap for teams looking to transition to microservices
  • There is a bug in the most recent VSCode (1.47.2) that breaks the debugger - Workaround by unsetting debug.javascript.usePreview
  • Serverless Rendering with Cloudflare Workers
  • 15 years of MDN Web Docs - Such a phenomenal web development resource, it’s great to read about their recent successes, very impressed that they have open sourced their entire infrastructure configuration in a github repo
  • V8 release v8.5
  • Latest Javascript features to reach Stage 4 - Logical Assignment and Promise.any look interesting

Sunday 19th July, 2020 #

  • Fast Vue SSR experiment with QuickJS and Rust - Interesting experiment to create a nodejs-like request/response server in rust
  • JavaScript’s with statement and why it’s deprecated - “It’s because one cannot predict whether arg will refer to a real variable or to a property inside the with argument”
  • Lesser-Known JavaScript Tricks - there isn’t anything earth shattering in this article but I kind of like the ‘with’ example even if it’s not recommended, there is something quite neat about being able to change the environment just for one statement, though there is probably good reason (not mentioned here) it is not recommended
  • Yaml for Web Developers - I’ve used yml files a lot but I did not know about the anchors functionality, used to inject data into a configuration object, which makes configuring deploy environments easier

Friday 17th July, 2020 #

  • GitHub Archive Program - the journey of the world’s open source code to the Arctic
  • There was a rather catastrophic hack of Twitter the past few days where many high profile accounts were taken over including President Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Bill Gates, now people are worried that an attacker could try to socially engineer a nuclear war

Monday 6th July, 2020 #

  • Rust for JavaScript Developers - Functions and Control Flow - If you are a JS developer thinking of learning Rust then this tutorial might be of interest, lots of similarities between the two languages

Friday 3rd July, 2020 #

  • Github launch docs.github.com - last time I was reading the github docs (about actions) they felt a bit fragmented to me, so I’m glad to see there is a push in this area, it’s really important to have clear documentation
  • BBC Sport website at 20 - How the site has changed over the past two decades - Hoping to find some time to read this later, I do like a good retrospective and the BBC has been doing web for a long time

Thursday 2nd July, 2020 #

  • Apple declined to implement 16 Web APIs in Safari due to privacy concerns
  • Building a decentralized web is hard. Who's in? - worth a read if you are into all things decentralised, quite a few relevant projects mentioned
  • Burrito Delivery Makes No Sense - I didn’t make it through this whole article because after a good start it jumps around all over the place, but the commentary on the food delivery business is interesting
  • HN Thread - DuckDuckGo browser seemingly sends domains a user visits to DDG servers

Wednesday 1st July, 2020 #

  • Bootstrap Icons Alpha 5 - bootstrap icons, svg sprite, icon web fonts
  • Chrome has a new CSS Overview feature
  • Mastering JQ - Part 1 in a series that looks at the jq command line tool, which is an essential tool if you are handling lots of json data, contains impressively short and simple examples that you can copy and paste directly into your shell
  • The end of the Redis adventure - @antirez Is stepping back as the (excellent) project maintainer to concentrate on other things - Best wishes

Tuesday 30th June, 2020 #

  • Remembering slice vs splice in JavaScript - Covers the functionality of these well used functions but also a handy mnemonic to remember which is which
  • Interesting article that discusses some of the benefits and challenges of the scrum agile development methodology

Saturday 27th June, 2020 #

  • Refactoring optional chaining into a large codebase - lessons learned - I’ve been waiting for this javascript feature to start becoming mainstream for a while now, so it’s super interesting to read about real world experience, turns out there are several subtle gotchas to watch out for when you are refactoring existing code to use the feature

Thursday 25th June, 2020 #

  • Data Intensive Applications with Martin Kleppman - There’s a lot of interesting ground covered in this podcast, I’m hoping to listen to it again, it brought together a lot of concepts that I wouldn’t necessarily have put together and in quite a novel fashion

Wednesday 24th June, 2020 #

  • Riot which is a client for the real-time decentralised messaging platform called Matrix, is being renamed - I was always put off a bit by the current name so I think this might be a good move - I like that they are announcing the up-coming change, some interesting tech developing in France at the minute
  • Github rolled out a new design, I noticed it yesterday, quite a big deal since so many developers use the tool every day - The discussion on HN isn’t on the whole all that positive, though not overly negative either - Hopefully they will find and fix the bits that people are having issues with
  • How fast are Apple’s new ARM Mac chips? It’s hard to tell

Sunday 21st June, 2020 #

  • mongoose-api-generator - Automatically generate a REST API from Mongoose models - It’s an early stage project that looks interesting, to add an endpoint just create a new mongoose model and add a permissions object export, also has auth built-in
  • Put your bash code in functions - It makes it easier to parallelise execution of parts of the code
  • Google’s latest Chrome extension lets users link to specific text

Saturday 20th June, 2020 #

  • From the experiments in web technologies department - Chrome Experiments - "A showcase of work by coders who are pushing the boundaries of web technology"
  • Twitter releases new audio feature for short voice recordings - This new feature reminds me of the early days of podcasting, I’m interested to see what the implementation looks like, and what kind of experiments people will try out

Friday 19th June, 2020 #

  • What JavaScript Developers Should Know About Curl - Nice article that highlights exactly the commands you need to know as a web developer to test your endpoints, I'm always searching for these commands, so it's nice to have them in once place

Thursday 18th June, 2020 #

  • The rise of embarrassingly parallel serverless compute - I like this article, a good mix of facts and "think of the possibilities", the most useful idea for me was the ability to parallelise integration tests, the one thing I was thinking could be interesting, and this is telling of when I arrived to the www party, would be a serverless RSS reader, and I can think of several music related tools that could also be quite cool
  • Introduction to CloudFormation - Cover a lot of the basics of how AWS cloud formation templates are structured
  • Could Blockchain Be a Solution to the Issue of Misinformation Online? - I'm not all that convinced by this study, but it's interesting to see some MVPs being developed that use blockchain in new ways, because it feels like a technology we still don't fully know how to use in the things we are building
  • Introducing AWS Snowcone – A Small, Lightweight, Rugged, Secure Edge Computing, Edge Storage, and Data Transfer Device - Edge computing is starting to become a pretty hot space at the minute, this new product from Amazon reminds me of my days in film VFX and digital cinema, shipping USB drives all over the place, it’s the next generation of that haphazard system, now you can install EC2 instances on the drives to pre-process data, the other edge computing area that’s interesting is the Cloudflare workers edge computing technology
  • Apple's Beefiest MacBook Pro Has a New, Speedier GPU Option
  • What is the deadly India-China border dispute about? - The border is called the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which sounds like a blockbuster movie IMHO

Sunday 14th June, 2020 #

  • Javascript promises are great and so is async/await, makes code much more readable, but there are several gotchas when writing tests for such code, and this article covers these
  • A Javascript Module for KeyDB and Redis - Gives you the ability to extend these datastores with functionality using Javascript rather than Lua - Pretty cool - Would be great to have something like this in Nginx

Saturday 13th June, 2020 #

  • Kayeb - Simple serverless processing workflows, on any cloud - I like the "backend processes as a service" pitch
  • Snapchat is launching Snap Minis - Small apps built by third-party software developers that can be opened within Snapchat - Sounds sort of interesting
  • New Horizons sends images to Earth from a vast distance
  • Disney Almost Bought Twitter in 2016 - Kind of interesting to think about how different things might be today had that happened

Saturday 6th June, 2020 #

  • Meet the new Microsoft, same as the old Microsoft? - Bit of a Microsoft hit piece and it appears to me to be a bit thin on substance, but there is a somewhat interesting angle that is mentioned - the recently announced Slack initiative in Amazon
  • GitHub Etiquette - Worth reading if you interact with any open source projects
  • Repl.it - The online code sandbox now supports Deno

Wednesday 3rd June, 2020 #

  • Firefox 77 Released - Continued roll out of the new rendering architecture called WebRender, better web certificate management page, improvements to the javascript debugger
  • US challenges 'unfair' tech taxes in the UK and EU
  • BBC launches Beeb voice assistant in partnership with Microsoft

Monday 1st June, 2020 #

  • Trusted CGI - It’s old school CGI but made into modern lambda style functions, all self hosted and without all the complexity of docker, I can see this being very handy for a lot of small scale projects

Saturday 30th May, 2020 #

  • Type safety with native JavaScript - With all the recent attention to typing in javascript it’s interesting to see an approach that tries to use native javascript, it’s in no way as complete a solution as Typescript but interesting none the less
  • The rise of React
  • Smashing Magazine review of their recent adventures and exploration in hosting re-imagined online events and conferences
  • tc39er.us a podcast where we talk to the TC39 delegates about JavaScript and everything else!

Thursday 28th May, 2020 #

  • Tina a.k.a. swissmiss shares some of her favourite blogs on the 15 year anniversary of her blog - I really like reading her Linkpacks and design focussed content, I also like the bring back blogging trend that I’ve been seeing in some places around the web recently
  • SpaceX is launching some astronauts into space later today (20:33 UTC)
  • Facebook’s latest TikTok-inspired app is a music-making platform called Collab

Monday 25th May, 2020 #

  • Chris Coyier weighs-in on the recent discussion about the state of the “Modern Web”
  • 5 Differences Between Arrow and Regular Functions - Well written article that covers all the bases in a very neat fashion
  • The Third Age of JavaScript - Interesting opinion piece summarising the past and future of javascript
  • Microsoft Azure gets into the Jamstack - Introducing App Service Static Web Apps