Stop press: Updates to March 2023

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Published on 30 March 2023 by Andrew Owen (5 minutes)

Back in my days as a newspaper reporter, the last paper I worked on was one of the last in the country to run a stop press. This was a physical mechanism by which the printing presses could be stopped, a small change made, and restarted, to capture the latest breaking news. Newspaper stories are ephemeral, but online articles last forever. However, they still date. For example, I’ve done several articles about Forestry (a headless CMS) which is now discontinued. Those articles are now just a historical curiosity. In other cases, I try to keep the content current; such as making sure that code examples still work after platform changes. I’m also still working on improving the site. But articles don’t have a changelog. So here are all the updates I’ve made up until the end of last month.

Application Programming Interfaces

I’ve updated the introduction to REST APIs to include an example curl script. I think most developers know REST pretty well, although some might not be so clear on the difference between REST and RESTful. But I often find myself explaining the basics to non-developers, so I’ll continue to add to this one over time to better serve their needs.

Curated lists

According to the analytics, my curated list of podcasts is my most popular article yet. I’ve added some new podcasts. I’m probably going to allow myself at least one completely off-topic article like this a year. I think the next one might be my curated list of French cinema from 1983 to 2000.

Developer relations

When I started this blog, I was a developer advocate for a customer experience software company. At the end of last year, I changed roles. I’m now a solutions engineer. I’m still community manager for an open source software project. This blog is still aimed at the DevRel community, developers and DevOps engineers. But I’ve always included a fair amount on communications, because it’s a big part of DevRel. Based on the analytics, the off-topic articles are the most popular. But this is also a repository for things that I need to know that I can’t remember. So I’m planning to maintain the current mix of content.

Document Object Model

Lately, I seem to be making more and more use of JavaScript to rewrite automatically generated HTML pages. I’ve made one addition since I wrote the original article, and I expect I’ll be adding more as the year goes on.

GitHub Actions

At some point, GitHub seems to have made a change relating to access permissions on GitHub Actions. Some of my old actions were no-longer working, returning an error that they were unable to write to the repository. So I’ve gone through all the actions in the articles and added explicit write permissions to them, just in case.

iPad Pro

Since I wrote the original article on using an iPad Pro for development, I’ve updated the collection of apps that I use. The most recent additions are Affinity Publisher (page layout), Codea (Lua IDE) and Final Draft Mobile (screen writing). It seems that only Microsoft has worked out that an iPad Pro can replace a laptop: on screens bigger than 10.1 inches (25.65 centimeters) it charges you full price for Word. Other vendors are selling equivalents of desktop software on iOS for sometimes as little as a tenth of the desktop price.

Mechanical keyboards

I’ve updated the site to make it easy to embed audio and video in articles. As a result, I’ve been able to add recordings of the various types of key switch to the keyboard article. I’ve also included some information on the keyboard I use every day, which I think is the best compromise on noise, price, quality and tactile feedback.

Site updates

Since launching this site in January 2022, I’ve been making gradual improvements. I’ve summarized most of them in the article on creating a free website. The big change this year is that I finally got around to making the site bilingual. But I’m also constantly tweaking the CSS in response to user feedback. If I can figure out how, I’d like to modify the code snippets so that there’s the option to copy them to the clipboard.

Style guides

My code and writing style guides also serve as a personal reference for me, and so I’m constantly updating them. I’ve recently added some new VScode plug-in recommendations. I’ve also updated the list of common errors to look for when editing other people’s work to include removing latinates (facilitate, utilize and so on) to make the text easier to read.

Virtualization and emulation on ARM Macs

Since I wrote the original article on using UTM (a wrapper for QEMU) to emulate 32-bit and 64-bit Intel CPUs, macOS Ventura added the ability for third-party apps to use Rosetta 2. Parallels released Desktop 18. And VMware released Fusion 13 and Fusion 13 Player. I’m still using the previous release of macOS so I don’t have to pay the annual Parallels upgrade fee. I’m going to look at migrating to Fusion13 Player. If that works, I’ll write it up for the blog. I’m still using UTM to run ARM Linux and an older Intel Linux to build Spartan 6 cores. I’m building Artix 7 cores under Windows 11.

Update: book URLs

Amazon is shutting down The Book Depository at the end of April. I’ve updated all the URLs to point to Wordery instead, with regex search in VScode. I replaced\/([a-zA-Z0-9-]{0,})\/ with which created valid URLs in all but two cases.