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Tom MacWright macwright.com

The return of fancy tools

Tom MacWright on the pendulum swinging back and forth between simple and “fancy”

Technology is seeing a little return to complexity. Dreamweaver gave way to hand-coding websites, which is now leading into Webflow, which is a lot like Dreamweaver. Evernote give way to minimal Markdown notes, which are now becoming Notion, Coda, or Craft. Visual Studio was “disrupted” by Sublime Text and TextMate, which are now getting replaced by Visual Studio Code. JIRA was replaced by GitHub issues, which is getting outmoded by Linear.

Cloudflare Icon Cloudflare

Humanity wastes about 500 years per day on CAPTCHAs. It’s time to end this madness

Thibault Meunir writing on Cloudflare’s blog:

Based on our data, it takes a user on average 32 seconds to complete a CAPTCHA challenge. There are 4.6 billion global Internet users. We assume a typical Internet user sees approximately one CAPTCHA every 10 days.

This very simple back of the envelope math equates to somewhere in the order of 500 human years wasted every single day — just for us to prove our humanity.

They aren’t just doing napkin math, they’re also trying to fix things:

We want to get rid of CAPTCHAs completely. The idea is rather simple: a real human should be able to touch or look at their device to prove they are human, without revealing their identity. We want you to be able to prove that you are human without revealing which human you are! You may ask if this is even possible? And the answer is: Yes!

I held off on having a CAPTCHA on our site for as long as I could, but the spammers are relentless (did you know they’ll even click on email confirmations now?!) so I finally gave in.

I’d do darn near anything to be rid of ‘em again (any ideas?), but it seems the alternative that Cloudflare is pursuing requires hardware security keys. Interesting stuff, and definitely worth a read, but it’s all experimental for now and I don’t know if/when we’ll be able to put it in practice.

Tooling sli.dev

Slidev – presentation slides for developers

The motivation for building Slidev:

I always found myself spending too much time styling and layouting slides when using apps like PowerPoint / Keynote / Google Slides. Whenever I need to share code snippets, I would also need to use other tools to generate the highlighted code as images over and over again.

So as a frontend developer, why not solve it the way that fits better with what I am good at?

Looks slick: themeable, hackable, and you write your slides in Markdown. 👌

Feross Aboukhadijeh wormhole.app

Wormhole – Simple, fast, private file sharing ✨

Wormhole lets you share files with end-to-end encryption and a link that automatically expires. So you can keep what you share private and make sure your stuff doesn’t stay online forever.


Our #1 goal is speed – you should be able to get a share link in less than 2 seconds with the absolute minimum number of clicks.

That’s why Wormhole supports instant file streaming. There’s no need to wait for your files to finish uploading before you can copy the link and send it to your recipient. The recipient can start downloading even before the files have finished uploading.

Wormhole uses super fast peer-to-peer transfer to send files directly to the recipient when possible. This improves speed and security – especially when transferring files over a local network, like when you just want to get a file from your phone onto your computer.

In addition, Wormhole stores your encrypted files on cloud servers for 24 hours so the share link will keep working for your recipient even after you close the Wormhole site.

Awesome Lists github.com

A collection of services with great free tiers for developers on a budget

This repository offers a collection of services with great free tiers for developers on a budget. Because not everyone has 20$ per month to spend on app or database hosting for every single side-project.

Nowadays, a lot of services are offering really good free tier more than enough for testing small apps and even put them in production. They are just waiting to be used by you.

I got a kick out of their FTDD acronym: Free Tier Driven Development

Julia Evans jvns.ca

A tool to spy on your DNS queries

You can think of Julia Evans’ new dnspeep tool as similar to tcpdump but specifically for watching your machine’s DNS queries.

One thing I like about this tool is that it gives me a sense for what programs on my computer are using the Internet! For example, I found out that something on my computer is making requests to ping.manjaro.org from time to time for some reason, probably to check I’m connected to the internet.

A friend of mine actually discovered using this tool that he had some corporate monitoring software installed on his computer from an old job that he’d forgotten to uninstall, so you might even find something you want to remove.

It also probably comes in handy when debugging those pesky “could it be DNS?” issues, but this might be a limitation on that front:

One thing this program doesn’t do is tell you which process made the DNS query, there’s a tool called dnssnoop I found that does that. It uses eBPF and it looks cool but I haven’t tried it.

Tooling tinytools.directory

A collection of open source, experimental, tiny tools

700+ hand-selected tools across a range of categories such as writing, productivity, pixel art, and more. The headline link goes to the web interface, but you can also get at in rendered Markdown on the GitHub Repo.

Although I’ve mostly also included ‘standards’, this list has a focus on artful tools & toys that are as fun to use as they are functional.

The goal of this list is to enable making entirely outside of closed production ecosystems or walled software gardens.

Ops tech.channable.com

Nix is the ultimate DevOps toolkit

At Channable we use Nix to build and deploy our services and to manage our development environments. This was not always the case: in the past we used a combination of ecosystem-specific tools and custom scripts to glue them together. Consolidating everything with Nix has helped us standardize development and deployment workflows, eliminate “works on my machine”-problems, and avoid unnecessary rebuilds. In this post we want to share what problems we encountered before adopting Nix, how Nix solves those, and how we gradually introduced Nix into our workflows.

If Nix is intriguing to you, you’re going to love an upcoming episode of The Changelog. 😉

Command line interface github.com

fselect – find files with SQL-like queries

This doesn’t aim to entirely replace find and ls, but if you already know SQL (like many of us do), why not be able to leverage that knowledge for your more advanced file-finding needs? Here’s a couple of examples so you get the idea:

Find temporary or config files (full path and size):

fselect size, path from /home/user where name = '*.cfg' or name = '*.tmp'

Use aggregate functions:

fselect "MIN(size), MAX(size), AVG(size), SUM(size), COUNT(*) from /home/user/Downloads"

Find by date and time intervals:

fselect path from /home/user where modified gte 2017-05-01

Opensource.com Icon Opensource.com

Why I use `exa` instead of `ls` on Linux

We’ve linked to exa in the past, but this post may convince you to give it a try by detailing its many virtues.

I believe exa is one of the easiest, most adaptable tools. It helps me track a lot of Git and Maven files. Its color-coding makes it easier for me to search through multiple subdirectories, and it helps me to understand the current xattrs.

Tooling github.com

The reverse engineer's toolkit

A pre-installed and pre-configured set of tools for folks interested in reverse engineering and/or malware analysis on Windows systems.

Obviously, you can download such tools from their own website and install them by yourself in a new VM. But if you download retoolkit, it can probably save you some time. Additionally, the tools come pre-configured so you’ll find things like x64dbg with a few plugins, command-line tools working from any directory, etc. You may like it if you’re setting up a new analysis VM.

Note they say “a new analysis VM”. Do NOT install this on anything but a virtual machine.

Go github.com

Authelia is a multi-factor SSO portal for web apps

Authelia is an open-source authentication and authorization server providing 2-factor authentication and single sign-on (SSO) for your applications via a web portal. It acts as a companion of reverse proxies like nginx, Traefik or HAProxy to let them know whether queries should pass through. Unauthenticated users are redirected to Authelia Sign-in portal instead.

Authelia is a multi-factor SSO portal for web apps

Gabe Kangas owncast.online

Take ownership of your live streams with Owncast

Gabe Kangas:

The new release of Owncast –the self-hosted, open source live streaming server– opened up its first set of 3rd party APIs. So not only can you run your own live streams and own your content, but you can build bots, integrate it in to 3rd party services and be super creative in encouraging chat engagement in new ways.

Looks pretty slick.

Zach Leatherman zachleat.com

Queue Code—“live” code without errors

Zach Leatherman wanted the effect of live coding for his tech talks, but none of the unbridled anxiety (his words). Sooo he did what any self-respecting software developer does: he built a thing.

You can use this for presentations (like me). You could use this for screencasts or recording video training materials. Hell, you could even use it for job interviews (probably don’t do this). But it wouldn’t hurt to have a fizzbuzz gist in your back pocket just in case 😅

See Queue Code in action in this tweet of Zach’s daughter “doing some HTML programming” then try it for yourself right here.

Python github.com

A semantic diffing tool for tree-like structures (JSON, XML, HTML, etc)

Graphtage is a commandline utility and underlying library for semantically comparing and merging tree-like structures, such as JSON, XML, HTML, YAML, plist, and CSS files. Its name is a portmanteau of “graph” and “graftage”—the latter being the horticultural practice of joining two trees together such that they grow as one.

A semantic diffing tool for tree-like structures (JSON, XML, HTML, etc)

Tooling flameshot.org

Flameshot – powerful (yet simple) screenshot software

Holy moly this thing looks useful. It’s cross-platform with the following disclaimer:

Flameshot can be installed on Linux and Microsoft Windows currently.

There is no macOS port of Flameshot currently that can be easily installed. But you can build Flameshot yourself and use it. Please participate in the development of Flameshot and help us make a macOS version.

Flameshot – powerful (yet simple) screenshot software
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