Auto Layout Demystified

I was at a local user group recently where the topic of the meeting was one of the hot new cross-platform mobile development options out there (doesn’t really matter which one). There was the usual UIkit bashing, which was expected since the topic was to propose an alternative programming model.

I’m not here to defend UIkit, because I agree that it can use some improvement. However, the speaker did say one thing about Auto Layout that I have heard before and that rubbed me the wrong way.
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Tips for Improving Web Typography

Typography is one of the most important aspects of designing a website. Good typography can improve reading comprehension and usability, while poor typography can make even the best site difficult to use.

Fortunately, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit when it comes to this area. By following just a few key rules, you can greatly improve even the worst web typography.
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Designing a Scalable Deployment Pipeline

Anyone who’s led a product engineering team knows that a growing team requires investments in process, communication approaches, and documentation. These investments help new people get up to speed, become productive quickly, stay informed about what the rest of the team is doing, and codify tribal knowledge so it doesn’t leave with people.

One thing that receives less investment when a team scales is its deployment pipeline–the tools and infrastructure for deploying, testing, and running in production. Why are these investments lacking even when the team can identify the pain points? My theory is that it nearly always feels too expensive in terms of both money and lost progress on building features.
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Open Source Basics: NPM Edition

As software developers, we’ve long used third-party code in our day-to-day work, but these days, it’s much easier to find and integrate it with package managers and searchable repositories.

Inevitably, there comes a time when our unique use of a library exposes a new bug, or we find that we could almost use that sweet tool if only it did this one tiny thing differently. When that happens, we find ourselves popping open the hood and making changes to a third-party dependency. Read more on Open Source Basics: NPM Edition…

Easy Secure Web Serving with OpenBSD’s acme-client and Let’s Encrypt

As recently as just a few years ago, I hosted my personal website, VPN, and personal email on a computer running OpenBSD in my basement. I respected OpenBSD for providing a well-engineered, no-nonsense, and secure operating system. But when I finally packed up that basement computer, I moved my website to an inexpensive cloud server running Linux instead. Read more on Easy Secure Web Serving with OpenBSD’s acme-client and Let’s Encrypt…

Bring Joy to Your Desktop Backgrounds with Workflow Automation

Tired of the same desktop background? Bored with stock art and don’t care enough to search for anything better? With the help of Workflow, you can bring a little fun and delight to your backgrounds.

Examples of NASA astronomy pictures of the day. Image credit: Various authors (individual images) and me (collage).

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Getting Started with AppleScript

As a consultant, I do my best to be as efficient as possible. I want to provide the greatest value I can, and one of the ways of doing this is by cutting down the repetition in my workflow. If I find myself doing a task frequently, I try to shorten the time it takes to do it, or to automate it completely. Recently, I have been exploring AppleScript, which is a very powerful tool available to anyone running OS X.
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