Mark Smith’s Newsletter - Saturday 22nd May, 2021

EdgeWorkers, experience creation, deno, React vs Vue, Jamstack, Eleventy, DPR, serverless, TSMC, Twitter verifications, Amazon & MGM, iMacs, telecoms, Future of Tipping, cool bots, spoken languages

Hello and welcome to my newsletter!

Another season 2 instalment…

I’ve had a few projects on this week so not as many links, but there’s still some good stuff in there.

It’s been a tough few months, so it’s really awesome to be on a job again. The world has responded by stepping up it’s difficulty notch again though. It always happens, it’s literally like clockwork. Why does that always happen? I fear eventually it will simply be too darn difficult to survive.

Having just written the newsletter subtitle, I’m surprised at how much good stuff there is in this issue.

There’s also a repo from me if you’re curious about the sort of stuff I’ve been doing :)

That’s all from me this week…

I hope you enjoy the links!

As usual all the articles from the linkblog in chronological order are included below, which is also a good way to explore, there are some pieces there amongst the main summary items that didn’t make it into the main themes, but these are interesting in their own right, and often end up developing into something more substantial further down the line.

Special mentions

Stuff from me

🚀 New Repo: Edge worker page hydrate - This is a minimal example of using Cloudflare edge workers to hydrate a static page with data fetched from an API, the website and API serverless function are hosted by Netlify #

Stuff from around the web


Roblox rebrands as 'experience' creation platform amid Epic Games v. Apple trial #

Deno 1.10 Release Notes - Lots of neat features including Web Storage API (localStorage and sessionStorage but on the server!), improvements to the built in test runner so it can run test suites in parallel #

Why I Finally Chose React over Vue.js - I’ve been seeing so many articles that favour Vue recently, so it’s nice to see one rooting for React, in a nutshell it’s JSX and it’s ability to work well with both functional programming and Typescript that ultimately have led the author to his React preference #

The end of “your database” - Netlify CEO Matt Biilmann writes a piece about the modern web and how Jamstack website architectures are changing how we think about and build for the web #

Using 11ty JavaScript Data files to mix Markdown and CMS content into one collection - Cool tutorial that should give you some ideas about how you can combine multiple data sources when building your Jamstack site #

Distributed Persistent Rendering (DPR) - Chris Coyier writes a nice explainer piece, he points out an interesting scenario I hadn’t considered where this feature might make a lot of sense. Essentially you have a very big site and you make a change to something like a header that appears on every page, well with DPR you only re-render a page if it actually gets requested #

Use Netlify Functions to Send Email Notifications - Generally useful tutorial, but also uses a 3rd party service called Ethereal which is an email catching service, which is a neat idea fir a service that I never knew existed - “it catches the mail requests and lets you read them, but it doesn't actually send them” #

TSMC looks to double down on U.S. chip factories as talks in Europe falter - I wonder how significant it is that there is all this worldwide expansion of chip making factories just as we get to 3nm architectures, I say that because there aren’t very many nm’s left, what happens when we get to zero? #

Modern Javascriptt -Everything you missed over the last 10 years - Great roundup of all the new features #

Twitter reportedly launching its long-awaited new Verification program next week - The article is from last week, so should be in the next few days, based in the description it seems like bloggers, linkbloggers and podcasters might not meet the criteria :( #

Amazon is in talks to buy MGM for $9 billion - Would certainly be an interesting acquisition, MGM is the studio with the roaring lion at the start of movies, their biggest title is Bond, and there are many others like Rocky and Stargate, I think it’s an interesting purchase because though the studio’s star has faded somewhat recently, it still has a sort of old school coolness to it, with Amazon backing who knows what could be in store for the 20s #

Apple’s new iMac brings M1 goodness to the desktop - Really enjoyed this review, especially the end bit where the author describes why most regular people buy Apple products, they work well and eliminate fuss, for most people that are doing a ton of other non computer stuff, that has tremendous value #

Weapons of mass (value) destruction - Some analysis from Om Malik of the current situation in the US telecoms industry, which is going through a lot of change, you might have seen mention of AT&T, Direct TV, Time Warner and others this past week, well his article is all about that, it’s quite negative towards telecoms but it’s some good perspective as he’s been watching the industry for many years #

Twitter is letting anyone apply for verification for the first time since 2017 - Looks like they will be adding categories later down the line, like scientists and academics, hopefully web developers and engineers, aka the people that build the web, will make it in there eventually :) #

An AMA from a developer making a good living selling NodeJS boilerplates #

Native speakers are hard to understand in a lingua franca situation - As a speaker of several languages, and someone who spends most of my time immersed in other languages and cultures, I found this article really interesting, I don’t agree with all the points made but there are definitely several that feel close to my experiences, HN thread link as the discussion is super interesting too, one thing I personally love about the English language is how versatile it is, so many regional accents across the globe yet we can mostly all talk to each other, there’s such amazing variety in meaning and sound, with parts of each locality somehow infused into the conversation, one thing that’s actually kind of nice when speaking is challenging because of language differences is to just not say anything and enjoy each other’s company #


Ride Home Podcast (Bonus) Tipping as the currency for the creator economy - I initially thought this wouldn’t be all that interesting, but it turns out that the modern incarnations of tipping are having profound impacts on society, something which I hadn’t really considered at all - The discussion covers topics such as Twitter’s latest TipJar product, how creators and fans are creating much more direct relationships, Buy me a Coffee, Venmo, PayPal, OnlyFans, the historical context around tipping, the grossness in tipping, tipping in gaming, a shifting global consciousness around tipping, the impact on the advertising industry, the impact on the creator economy, platforms, the difficulty of growth for creators and of course crypto/blockchain #

Software Engineering Daily Podcast - Botpress - Natural language processing with Sylvaner Perron - I’ve been mildly interested in the possibilities presented by bots, but most that I have interacted with to date have been mediocre - This interview covers a lot of topics but I started to get interested when he was describing some of the new use cases that are arising, specifically employee on-boarding, something I’ve done before, developing training programs, but I can totally see how some well designed bots could make setting up developer environments a much more pleasant, productive and perhaps even fun experience, I’m now also wondering how bots could integrate with developer tools, anyway it’s an interesting podcast that also discusses visual workflow editors, a conversation debugger, workflows, NLP algorithms, conversational AI, a shift to tools that learn to understand users, offering your services through a digital assistant, building your own Siri, voice interfaces, architecture and scaling with Redis and Postgres and transitioning to a container based architecture #


Thanks for reading!


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

If you liked this newsletter you might like my blog, daily linkblog or experimental podcast :)

I’m a freelance web developer, consultant and automation engineer, consider hiring me!

Have a great weekend and a fantastic next week!