What is WebComponents Buying Us?

November 17, 2023

People saying that “Web Components are having a moment” should look at the difference between Web Components and just using the browser’s API. They are almost identical, so much so that I’m struggling to understand the point of Web Components at all.

Let’s take Jim Neilsen’s user avatar example and compare his implementation to one that doesn’t use Web Components. This will help us understand why there is so much client-side framework churn.

Fan-out Sidekiq Jobs to Manage Large Workloads

November 09, 2023

Performing a resilient operation on bulk data can be challenging, especially if the operation relies on a third party. You can safely do this by fanning out the work to idempotent background jobs that operate on only one piece of data at a time. Those jobs can retry independently as needed, making the entire operation more easy to manage. This post will show an example of how that works and why you might want to use this pattern.

Ruby on Rails Background Jobs with Sidekiq is Complete

October 19, 2023

If you want to know how to sustainably manage background jobs in your Rails app, you should be using Sidekiq, and you should by my book, Ruby on Rails Background Jobs with Sidekiq. $9.99, ebook only, a scant 70 pages.

Since 2011, I’ve been responsible for apps that had a lot of background jobs, and I’ve been on-call for those apps. Believe me when I tell you, you don’t want to learn how to write idempotent jobs, create self-healing retriable processes, or manage queues that way. It takes too long and its too stressful. Just read the book I wish I had back then.

The Katz Conjecture: You Must Understand What an Abstraction Abstracts

October 17, 2023

To effectively use any abstraction, you must—eventually—have a solid understanding of what it’s abstracting. I’m calling this the Katz Conjecture because Yehuda Katz made this statement in a conference talk (that I cannot find and hope actually existed). The conjecture has two implications: any abstraction that doesn’t sufficiently simplify what it’s abstracting makes everything worse, and any abstraction you don’t understand is a risk to your project.

Starlight Dawn

August 28, 2023

I’ve been working on an in-browser interactive fiction/game for the last few years that I have finally decided is complete: Starlight Dawn. It’s a tile-based RPG in the vein of the old Ultima games. It was made with Ruby and JavaScript. You can play it right now, and your location is saved in your browser’s local storage. There’s no sign up or other requirement. Just start playing! You can also follow on Mastodon.

Screenshot of the experience showing an animal on a short next to a sign.
There is a boat in the ocean and mountains past the shore. A person is waiving next to a town
A picture of what the experience looks like. Click to embiggen.

Getting 'Save to Home Screen' to Kinda Work on iOS

August 24, 2023

iOS has a feature on any website called “Save to Home Screen”, which creates an icon that then goes to that site. If you craft your website a certain way, this will launch the site in an app-like mode that is often referred to as a “Progressive Web App” or PWA. iOS does not support many features of PWAs that are available on Android or ChromeOS, but it supports some. This post will document exactly what you need to do, because it’s not documented very well.