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Style Shell Commands with CSS

Do you provide shell, terminal, or other command line examples on your site? Learn how to style them with CSS using a custom, lightweight plugin for Prism.

Updated on 12/30/2015: The Command Line plugin is now part of the Prism project, but it may be converted from a plugin to a language add-on. I've left this blog entry here for reference.

HTML Validator Can't Connect Over HTTPS

When the W3C Markup Validation Service couldn't connect to my site using HTTPS, this simple configuration change resolved the issue.

A few days ago, someone pointed out that the HTML validation link in my footer was leading to an error message. Invalid markup? Surely not! I clicked the link to load the W3C Markup Validation Service and it screamed "Sorry! This document cannot be checked." The error message stated "500 Can't connect to chriswells.io:443" and "If you made recent changes to your domain name (DNS) configuration, you may also want to check that your domain records are correct, or ask your hosting company to do so."

Core Web Application for PHP Released

The Core Web Application Libraries provide a logger, database layer, and MVC framework for PHP. The code is available on GitHub along with 2 example projects.

When I built this site, I chose to start from scratch for several reasons. I could've thrown something together using any one of the open source content management systems, but I've been down that road before. Once you customize a popular CMS, it becomes an outright burden to keep up with security fixes and other updates. It's convenient to have so many features and plugins at your disposal, but having thousands of lines of unused/inapplicable code with frequent vulnerability fixes can leave you with an uneasy feeling about what's creeping into each release. Once you have multiple sites in that state, maintaining them starts to feel cumbersome or, worse, like a second job. Additionally, I wanted the freedom to use the code in any project I work on whether I retain ownership of the finished product or not.

Command Line Plugin Added to Prism

After making several changes proposed by another contributor, my Command Line plugin is now part of the Prism project.

Back in February, I wrote about how to style shell commands using CSS. I wanted to submit that code to the Prism project, but I got distracted by other things. By the time I finally got around to submitting it, there were changes to the main project that affected the plugin code. I updated the plugin to incorporate their changes and submitted my first GitHub pull request at the end of November.

How to Create Keyboard Shortcuts for PHP

I finally grew tired of typing the awkward PHP object operator. Learn how to create keyboard shortcuts for KDE and use my shortcuts for PHP as a starting point.

My preferred server-side language is PHP. It's powerful and flexible, but it's certainly not perfect. One of my pet peeves is the object operator (->). I've programmed in C++, so I can appreciate its heritage. It's simply not needed in this case, so it feels like overkill to have to repeatedly type such an awkward key combination. Why should I move my hand to the top row for one key and hold shift for another when a single dot would be perfect for the task? Is it solely a byproduct of the poor decision to use the dot for string concatenation? I finally got fed up enough to look for a solution.

Introducing the Sitka Logger

Sitka is an extremely lightweight but powerful Node.js logger that's great for cloud/serverless applications.

Although it's a very small project, I'm excited to release my first open source Node.js package today. Sitka is an extremely lightweight but powerful logger that's great for modern cloud/serverless applications. It can be installed using the Sitka NPM package and the source code for Sitka is on GitHub. Yes, there were already tons of loggers to choose from. When I browsed through them, most seemed to fall into 2 categories: many felt too rigid while others were "kitchen sink" projects trying to do far too much. A logger is an essential part of every application, but it should be simple to use and stay out of your way. As a minimalist, I want something flexible without a lot of overhead. Sitka stands on its own with less than 250 lines of code and without importing any dependencies—much less half a dozen.

AWS Summit 2018 in Atlanta

I spent a day joining 3 presentations and 2 workshops at AWS Summit 2018 in Atlanta. Read my summary and suggestions to get more out of an AWS Summit near you.

I've been working on a new product at Nokia for the past few months, and we're leveraging Amazon Web Services for rapid development. This is my first AWS project, so it's a lot to take in. That process has gone well, but there are still many services I haven't even touched on. When I heard Amazon was hosting a free AWS Summit in Atlanta, I decided to attend and see what I could learn. I had to run some errands early in the day, so I only spent about 6 1/2 hours at the event. Still, I was glad to have the opportunity to check it out. Since there are more summits scheduled this year (and presumably ongoing), I'm writing to both share my experience and to help anyone considering a future Summit. If you're attending an AWS Summit near you or on the fence about it, read on to see what to expect and get some tips around planning.