Mark Smith’s Newsletter -Saturday 5th December, 2020

UK legal, Electron, Back/forward cache, Next SSG, serverless ML, M1 for devs, devs in India, Substack, odd redesign, protein folding, M1 for Linux, Docker deprecated, cool GitHub Actions, podcasts...

Hello and welcome to my newsletter!

Another season 1 instalment…

Hectic week.

I wrote a piece about working for an enterprise software startup, which is sort of a follow up of last week’s piece about working in the vfx industry, another about reasons for using NodeJS that I might be able to use for prospecting new clients, made my blog about page look much better, updated the patreon page, added a new sponsorships feature, job applications, job interviews...I’m discovering that finding freelance work at the minute is super tough.

I’m quite excited about the new sponsorship feature though, it means companies or anyone really, can sponsor a day on the linkblog. The sponsor logos get added at the bottom of the days links, it actually looks kind of nice, a very non-intrusive ad, so the linkblog still has the minimalist look and feel.

Now I just need to find some sponsors :)

Site traffic has started growing a bit now that I’ve been posting on the blog more often and cross posting to Reddit and Indie Hackers.


I hope you enjoy the links!

Special mentions

  • If you or anyone in your network is looking for web development services, consider hiring me :)

  • Consider becoming a sponsor to get your company featured on the linkblog and in the newsletter

  • Consider becoming a patreon, any support would be very much appreciated

Stuff from me

🚀 Housekeeping note: I’ve updated the about page on the blog so that it hopefully paints a clearer picture of me, I’ve updated the navigation links, and created a separate services page from the original blog post that described my services

🚀 New Post: What it’s like working for an enterprise software startup - Following on from my post last week about working in the vfx industry, I wrote a similar piece about working for an enterprise software startup

🚀 eleventy-agile-blog just got merged into 11ty/11ty-website! :)

🚀 Mark Smith’s Patreon is creating curated javascript, tech and web development links from the web - I’ve updated my patreon page, it now lists all the things you get, it’s a pay what you want model, I also list other ways you can contribute, any contribution would be hugely appreciated

🚀 How to become an official sponsor of the linkblog - This post goes into the details of what you get when you become an official sponsor of one of the longest running personal linkblogs on the internet

🚀 New Post: Reasons to use NodeJS for developing your backend systems - I wanted to up my NodeJS sales game, worth a read if you are developing or thinking of developing backend systems

Stuff from around the web


UK to impose new rules to limit tech giants' power - They will be creating a new unit called the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) within the existing Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

Why I chose Electron.js for my side business - Reasons why Electron is a good choice for small business owners to write on-device software

Back/forward cache - Optimize your pages for instant loads when using the browser's back and forward buttons

What is Static Site Generation? How Next.js Uses SSG for Dynamic Web Apps

How I Built and Deployed a Fun Serverless Machine Learning App - Uses serverless cli to create an AWS backend with API Gateway and Lambda triggering Python scripts that fetch and run the pre-trained models from S3, and deploys the React frontend to Netlify

Apple Silicon M1 - A Developer's Perspective - Must read for any developers that use Apple hardware, overall the speed increases and fanless systems are great but there are some software issues that will most likely be resolved in the next few months

Indian developers are racing to replace TikTok - I’d love to assemble a team of developers that were experts in recreating SaaS products

AWS API Architecture - Overview of some of the main resources that go into setting up a containerized application on AWS, with a great diagram that illustrates how regions, availability zones, VPCs, subnets, security groups, application load balancers, Route 53, internet gateways, and Fargate instances can be configured to run a backend API

Chris Coyier is intrigued by Substack, but not convinced that people will make a living from writing on it

Remi Sharp writes about Heydon Pickering’s “Please disable JavaScript to view this site” redesign - I had seen Heydon’s site earlier in the week but didn’t spend much time thinking about it, now I can see there are a lot of ideas worth pausing to consider, should browser javascript default to being on? Should web browsers make it easier to turn javascript on/off? Would we even need consent forms if browsers had better tools for seeing what a website is doing under the hood?

Google’s DeepMind solves the protein folding problem - “AlphaFold 2 can now identify a protein’s three-dimensional structures from its amino-acid sequence to the width of an atom”

Developer Hector Martin announces Patreon funding for bringing native Linux to M1 Macs - Interesting to read his patreon page showing the various tiers, looks like it will be a cool project to follow, how great it would be to have a project with such community support

Salesforce buys Slack for $37.5 billion - The close date for this deal is still quite a way off but assuming it goes through, it’s a massive deal, not sure if it’s related but I have noticed a rise in job postings asking for Salesforce developers in the past week

Amazon introduces Proton Container Management Service which aims to make developing microservices easier by enabling developers to create a “stack” which defines everything you need to provision, deploy and monitor a service

MacBook Pro 2020 M1 Review - Videoblogger Steve Garfield reviews the latest Apple laptop

Don't Panic - Kubernetes and Docker - Docker inside Kubernetes is being replaced by a container runtime that is more suited for that environment, you will still be able to run containers created by docker in Kubernetes, so not much should change for developers

Using Github Issues as a Hugo frontend with Github Actions and Netlify - Great example of a custom content workflow, streamlines creation and makes collaboration possible, it’s the second workflow that I’ve seen in the last 2 weeks that uses Github Issues as a makeshift CMS

Mining your CLI history for good git aliases - Setting up some aliases for your git commands is such a great time and focus saver, I also prefer to create the aliases at the shell level rather than use git aliases

What You Need To Know About npm Workspaces - Solves the issue of having enormous node_modules folders by hoisting modules from packages you create into a single top level node_modules folder, still missing some features compared to yarn and pnpm


Software Engineering Podcast - Computer Architecture with Dave Patterson - I’m usually more interested in cloud architectures but I found this episode about chip architectures enlightening because the area is currently experiencing a cambrian explosion of sorts, the discussion passes through lots of interesting places including a bit of history, the new RISC 5 open architecture, the reasons for the recent domain specific chip architecture trend, how machine learning workloads compare to those of other types of computing, and a prediction that the current period of chaos will lead to a golden age over the next 10 years

Corecursive Podcast - The Birth of Unix with Brian Kernighan - Stories from the early days of UNIX at Bell Labs, shared common room, giant chocolate bars, living in the same computer, working with Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson


Mark Smith‘s Newsletter is a weekly roundup of some of the best javascript, tech and web development links published to my linkblog.

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I’m a freelance web developer, consultant and automation engineer, if you have some projects you’d like to work on, consider hiring me! Contact me via email.

Have a great weekend and a fantastic next week!