Categories
Computers

GitHub (née Microsoft) buys NPM

Weird timeline we’re in, eh? While we all sit and hope for the best with COVID-19 taking an unprepared humanity to task, Microsoft (through GitHub) is making an interesting move.

I have to say, it’s an interesting proposition. Microsoft wants to improve and control the popular NPM (Node Package Manager) repository. This is where JavaScript developers go to download modules for Node.js so that they can build their applications. Microsoft will now own this repository.

Honestly, I’m a little torn. On one hand, I dislike the increasing creep of JavaScript “applications” that are run on Node/Electron because they’re not usually well optimized and eat resources like crazy. On the other hand, Node’s repository has been notorious for squatters, malicious files being uploaded into popular modules and even the transfer or takeover of popular modules by hostile entities without any notification. Some sort of corporate curation and regulation (not to mention proper infrastructure and funding) will help.

Ultimately it seems like just another piece of the Open Source pie being consumed by corporations. While NPM is a handy tool for development in Node, I’m sure this change of ownership will prompt an exodus, as the GitHub acquisition did before it.

When it does, we’ll all be the better for it. More diverse sources allow for less single points of failure or control. I wouldn’t be surprised if the popular distributed git-forge idea spawns into a distributed NPM-analog.

Update: It was pointed out to me that there is, in fact, an alternate package repo tool/project tool: Yarn. I’m not a Node developer, but I am extremely happy that it exists and can be a stand-in for NPM.

Categories
Awesome Funny Misc

Press (Y) to honk

Yes, I’ve been playing that game.

More than that, I’ve enabled a little feature on my site. Seems to only work with Blink/Webkit browsers, but it’s too good to not keep. But first, a story.

Way back in the day, I administered a little website for a law school. This was, at times, painfully boring. As one does when one is bored and feeling a little overworked at times, you tend to add “features”. Easter eggs is their technical term. One day, I had a particularly bossy client who had rapid fire changes that needed to be made to this static site he had forced us to use for his pet project. I was getting annoyed because the code was in shambles and I was required to support it, which meant fixing it all. In addition to fixing up the code, I added an easter egg to the site behind the Konami code that would invoke Cornify to… redecorate… the site.

I obviously had to show it off to my co-workers. It was a great success and people loved it. They wanted me to show it off to everyone who came by for meetings. I eventually cleaned up the original trigger code and applied it to the site template for all the pages on the site. That way you could get your pink unicorniness on regardless of the boring subject you were reading about.

Yes, that was all a massive aside to tell you that if you press Y on my site, and click on a link or other element, you’ll hear that good ol’ goose honk.

Categories
Computers

Web Development

I’ve been out of the game for a long time. I used to eat, sleep, breathe and talk web development. Drupal, mainly, but I was dealing with JavaScript in the form of a nascent Node.js and the initial notions that maybe we didn’t need all that jQuery for simple page interactions. The landscape was at least understandable and everything was contained in it’s own playing field.

Since then, JavaScript has exploded into basically everything, templates, UI components, threading and more. Node grew up and became a bloated mess that we require for everything, including desktop apps via Electron. And holy crap the framework and library world might as well be written in an entirely different language.

I’m not going to lie. I wish I could keep up. Just learning something new, like CSS grids is enough to soak up an afternoon. React, Vue and Angular don’t even seem like tools for websites, as much as they seem like replacements for them. Why bother with spicing up HTML when you could just let the language build the whole damn thing for you? I mean, other than requiring your users to bear the burden for generating and rendering the page. Oh, and we can run JavaScript on the server now, so yay for that?

Ugh. It feels like the world has passed me by. I guess I don’t mind, much of the stuff is not so much conceptually new as it is built in new ways using new language features or new methods of doing things. That’s not a bad thing. The state of the art has left me behind and I’m just reminiscing like the old man I am.

Categories
Awesome Computers

WMD Markdown Editor

So, a fantastic new Markdown editor came out.  It’s based entirely in JavaScript and allows for some pretty impressive editing features.

There was one problem with it though.  No way to really integrate it with WordPress. I mean, normally there is some sort of documentation and usually a hook or two via plugin to inject the needed code into your page(s) as they’re built.

On a whim, though, I tried just including the JS files (I uploaded the entire “WMD” directory to be safe) and let it fly.  Not only did it give the just comment forms a nice toolbar, but it didn’t do what I was afraid it was going to do, that is give every text field a toolbar.

Now, after including one line in my comments.php file, I am able to have sweet sweet Markdown in my comments, which are later translated to HTML via the Markdown plugin for wordpress so that comments look good.

Woot!