Mark Smith’s Newsletter -Saturday 28th November, 2020

Web design in Japan, PWAs in gaming, urban planning, workflow builders, history of version control, cool APIs and tools, curl infra, edge handlers, shell history, Python community, cool podcasts

Hello and welcome to my newsletter!

Thanks to all of you that subscribed to the first edition, it’s great to have you onboard!

Quite a few posts from me this week, I announced the end of one of my projects, which was sad for me to be honest, but I also wrote a piece about being a techy in the vfx industry which cheered me up a bit, and I’m enjoying the novelty of writing a newsletter.

I haven’t been able to put together any Github Actions to streamline the newsletter creation yet. Substack doesn’t appear to work with markdown and there isn’t an API so it’s copy and paste at the minute.

I read an interesting opinion piece about how newsletters should have seasons. I quite like the reasoning, and so I’m calling this the first season.

I hope you enjoy the links!

Special mentions

Stuff from me

🚀 New Post: Why are people chopping off their legs with consent forms?

🚀 New Post: What it’s like working in tech in the visual effects industry - I took a small trip down memory lane and wrote a piece that gets into some of the tech but also the general vibe of being a techy in vfx

🚀 New Post: is dead, long live linkblogging - Death is so overrated

🚀 New Post: Looking back at - A look back at the implementation

Stuff from around the web


What’s the difference between Event Handlers & addEventListener in JS?

Why Japanese Web Design Is So… Different

Nvidia is bringing Fortnite back to iOS with new cloud gaming web app - This is most likely good news for the web platform since they will be pushing forward progressive web app capabilities, also worth noting that Microsoft and Google have announced similar strategies

Autodesk acquired urban city planning AI firm Spacemaker ($240m) - It’s interesting to me because Autodesk was the big player when I worked in the visual effects industry building systems for artists, engineers and producers to collaborate on big budget movies, here they are building systems for architects, engineers and construction professionals to collaborate on big city building projects

Automated workflows are eating the world - Slack, Calendly, Docusign, GitHub, Airtable, Workfront, Superhuman have all recently built workflow builder tools recently

Committing to collaboration - How the early open-source movement and version control paved the way for today’s remote software development processes - Great piece that tracks the history of version control focusing on the remote collaboration features of CVS, Subversion and Git

Media Session API - This new web platform API looks interesting, I’m wondering if it could be used to power a podcast player remote control, I had one on my old sharp mini disk player back in the 90s, it was so great

Upptime - the open-source uptime monitor and status page, powered entirely by GitHub Actions and Issues - Checks your site is up, creates a Github issue if it isn’t, which you can use to create an incident report, also graphs daily average response time

Microsoft Edge improved copy and paste will cause headaches - Pasting a URL into the browser address bar will paste the page’s title as a link to the real URL instead of just pasting the URL

Linus Torvalds on the new Mac M1 chips - “I’d absolutely love to have one if it just ran Linux”

The curl web infrastructure - Great writeup, they handle a lot of data!

Netlify Edge Handlers - I’ve been recently using Cloudflare workers to do some tasks on the edge, edge computing is pretty cool, the Netlify implementation is nice because it’s packaged in a very Netlifyish way, making it very easy to integrate into your existing projects

The origins of the unix shell - Louis Pouzin: “I reached the stage where I felt that commands should be usable as building blocks for writing more commands, just like subroutine libraries. Hence, I wrote RUNCOM” - That’s were the rc in bashrc comes from

Advice for newsletter-ers - The author makes the case that newsletters should be structured into seasons, which sounds a bit strange at first but he does make quite a compelling argument, I guess my newsletter technically would be right in the middle of season 1 right now

How Community Prevailed at Python’s Virtual Core Development Sprint - Some uplifting community news, nice to hear their new governance model is working well, I sort of miss writing Python, it’s a nice language, looks like they have some good foundations built


Corecursive Podcast - Interview with Jim Blandy one of the original designers of the open source version control software Subversion - A bit of a trip down memory lane with some fun stories of how development used to be

Software Engineering Podcast - Cruise: Self-Driving Engineering with Mo Elshenawy - I’m not massively interested in self driving cars, but I found this podcast fascinating - The navigation and computer vision domain is very unique and new, and they have considered many aspects at a very deep level including how to construct teams and processes, how to compose the overall organisation structure to maximise collaboration across units, as well as the product architecture, next level CI/CD, and the advantages of multi-cloud serverless deployments


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

If you enjoyed this issue consider sharing it with your friends and network connections.

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!