Things I Have Written

The Async Image Loop

When I built the Friends with Beer podcast website, I built it using Eleventy, a JavaScript based static site generator. It’s Node.js based, which is great because it gives great flexibility in adding functionality and in development and build script options. Eleventy has a lot of great features that combine to allow flexible customization quickly and easily, so much so that the documentation understates just how powerful it is. I’ve had more than a few discovery moments along the way where I realized how much more there is to this framework than I suspected.

One of the neat things about playing with modern static site generators is that so much of the web development community who use SSGs for performance reasons also think about things like image optimization and overall site performance and overhead. It’s through my experiments with Eleventy that I learned about modern image optimization techniques and the img srcset and picture tags. …

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Drafts, Shortcuts, and Working Copy, The Movie

Today I made a very rough video showing my Drafts blog post publishing shortcut for a new friend on Twitter who will soon be in need of a mobile only blogging workflow. I’m not sure he wants the world to know who he is and where he’ll be for an extended duration, so I won’t reveal that here. However, I’ll happily link to his blog if he’s ok with it. All I can say is his future endeavor looks amazing!

Anyway, in the spirit of mostly closing out this chapter of my series on blogging using Drafts, Shortcuts, and Working Copy (and at one point Scriptable), I thought I’d link to my video here. It’s not great and I am a little under the weather, so expect some monotone and mumbling. I’ll make a better version in the future, but I can only say thanks for the nudge to get me to make one at all! …

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Is This Site Languishing?

I love you, dear reader, but you could be forgiven for thinking I don’t even know that you exist. You could even be forgiven for thinking I don’t even know my own website exists. Because, yes, to answer my own question, this site is languishing.

Here’s why.

I know that I’m going to entirely rewrite this site in something not Hugo. Mostly likely I’ll use Astro, which is a stupendously amazing looking static site generator that allows for inclusion of client-side javascript components (read: interactivity) on a very controlled basis. This means interactivity when needed (search and much, much more) while keeping overhead low for readers.

It’s not just about my ever-shifting focus on what makes me happy though. When I created this site in Hugo, I was wildly non-conversant in how it and static site generators in general allow for incredible flexibility. …

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4 Nubs

After all these years, I still have my moments online when I handle something really wrong and counterproductively. I belonged to a Discord for people participating in CSS courses from a really great online CSS instructor and saw a comment that really irritated me. In a Linux channel, someone made an assertion that some application or other was for Nubs (pretty sure that’s how he spelled it). I can’t even remember what he was saying was for 1337s, I think it was vim.

I like vim, I use vim, it’s my text editor of choice in Linux and in the terminal on the Mac. But in a Discord server created for the point of helping people who are undoubtedly new to things, why would you categorize any tool someone new might be using as for nubs and expect that to be welcoming and friendly? …

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Taking it to Eleventy

Hi. You may remember me from such hits as Drafts, Shortcuts, and Scriptable and Drafts, Shortcuts, Scriptable, and Working Copy – A Workflow Story. Or you may not, because I haven’t written anything here in months.

I’m not dead yet. Just busy.

I moved the Friends With Beer podcast to my own Linode server, and it needed a new website. I could have just chopped up the Hugo theme that Vic and I were working on, but I can’t lie – I hate programming in Hugo. It’s got a Yoda-like syntax that I don’t understand the need for, or the appeal of. At first I thought Go itself was just that stupid, but I don’t think it is. I think the Go templating engine that Hugo uses is responsible for the weird syntax, and I don’t really understand why it has to be that way. …

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Some Updates – Drafts, Shortcuts, Scriptable, and Working Copy – A Workflow Story, Part 4

In this series:

I know I owe you a deep dive into my actual blog post and podcast episode publishing shortcuts now, but first I want to address an update to the image handling portion of my Drafts workflow that I talked about in Part 2 of this series.

At the time, Shortcuts in the iPadOS 15 beta had an issue in which the newly added ability to access iCloud directories outside the Shortcuts folder simply didn’t work. As a result, for shortcuts that needed access to the Drafts iCloud folder, I used an inline Scriptable JavaScript action which worked great thanks to Scriptable’s folder and file bookmark feature. …

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Drafts, Shortcuts, Scriptable, and Working Copy – A Workflow Story, Part 3

In this series:

When I titled this series Drafts, Shortcuts, and Scriptable – A Workflow Story, I made a major faux pas by omitting an incredibly key piece of my blog post publishing puzzle, and that’s the incredible app Working Copy from Anders Borum. Maybe it’s because I’m stupid and simply forgot to credit the guy who created one of my most indispensable pieces of software, or maybe it’s because while Working Copy is indeed part of my workflow story, you could also title anything I write about it a love story as well, because I truly love that app. Anders is a man who really gets the iPad, and he’s one of the few still making apps for getting real programming-related work done on the iPad.

Not …

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Drafts, Shortcuts, and Scriptable – A Workflow Story, Part 2

In this series:

Now that you know my requirements for handling images in my Drafts-centric workflow, it’s time to let you in on a little secret: despite the fact that Drafts has incredible JavaScript and automation support, I use a shortcut called Draft Post Photo to choose my images and generate the specific markdown links that I want. The reason is pretty simple: I want to choose images from my iCloud Photo Library, and Drafts can’t do that. If I want to rely solely on a Drafts script, I would need to manually move images around, and I don’t want to do that.

So a shortcut it is.

I call the shortcut from a Drafts action though. This way, I can be in my draft with my cursor located where I want the image inserted, run the Insert Images action, which runs a shortcut that lets me choose the images and creates the markdown links for them, and returns the links on the clipboard. …

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Drafts, Shortcuts, and Scriptable – A Workflow Story, Part 1

Imagine me, happily tapping out a remarkably average blog post in Drafts on my iPad Pro. This takes zero imagination for me, since that’s what I’m actually doing right this second. Verbose as I already am, I could really tally up the word count by throwing in a photo or two (they’re worth a 1000 words each, I hear). Inserting images into blog posts is pretty routine fare, and has been for decades. It’s not the internet’s fault that I’ve decided to never use Wordpress again or that I’m blogging in a plain text markdown editor on an iPad Pro rather than into a web interface with a photo upload button.

When I used Ulysses to write blog posts in, I could insert images directly from the Photos library using the attachment tool, and the photos would be embedded into the document. …

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iPadOS 15 Initial Impressions

I watched yesterday’s WWDC 2021 Keynote while spinning the 44 lb flywheel on my spin bike, so I was not 100% focused on Federighi and company. I also made the mistake of having my Apple Event Twitter list and the Six Colors slack open on my iPad on the bike’s tablet holder, which further diluted my attention and just made me grumpy at people whining about their favorite hobby horses. I get grumpy at online interactions when I’m working out (or just working), which is why I usually try to avoid them. But hey, WWDC!

Anyway, my low expectations for Apple to deliver on my hopes for iPadOS combined with my body’s preoccupation with exercise meant that I didn’t do a lot of serious reflecting on what Apple showed for iPadOS 15 while watching it. I just reacted, with great joy. …

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