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Using Docker for Occasional Linux Access

I do most of my development work natively on MacOS, but I have an occasional need for a Linux build environment. In the past, I’d SSH to a Linux machine, or perhaps fire up a VM and set up a new build environment in there. These days I use Docker. The approach is pretty simple, so it makes for a good introduction to Docker. I’ll show you how to add an easily accessible Dockerized Linux environment to your existing...

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Why I Prefer Makefiles Over package.json Scripts

On any moderately-sized Node.js project you’ve likely already outgrown the package.json “scripts” section. But because the growth was gradual, with no single acute pain point, you might not have noticed. There’s a better way. What Are NPM Scripts? In most Node.js projects you’ll find a scripts section in the package.json file, containing convenient shortcuts like “build” and “test”: "scripts":{ ...

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Embed Version Information in Your Dockerized React App

It’s a good idea to have exact version information accessible from within any app you’re building, and it’s easy to put it there with modern tools. Join me for a quick dive through the layers that exist between git and production in a conventional Dockerized React app. Why Show Version Information? There are a bunch of questions that a user-visible version number can help you answer: Did that deploy you’re waiting on percolate...

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Android Emulator on CircleCI’s MacOS Executor

The Android Emulator, unfortunately, doesn’t work in CircleCI’s conventional (Docker-based) Android build environment. With a little tinkering, though, we can make it work in another environment! What Doesn’t Work Since CircleCI 2.0, the recommended CircleCI method for most projects is the Docker Executor. Overall, it’s great: Docker images are fast, portable, and cacheable. Chances are you can start with a prebuilt one. One of...

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Document Your Project’s package.json File

The package.json file is the heart of any Node.js project, but it often goes entirely undocumented. In this post, I’ll review a few areas that are worth documenting, and how I like to do it. What to Document Packages and versions The package.json file’s largest responsibility is to specify all the packages on which the project depends. Most of them won’t be very interesting, but it’s occasionally worth explaining why a...

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Fixing the External Monitor Color Problem with My 2018 MacBook Pro

I recently upgraded to a 2018 MacBook Pro. I’m enjoying the additional cores and memory () and coming to terms with the touchbar (). A low point of my first week came when I plugged into my external display, and the image looked really bad. In this post, I’ll describe what I learned and how I managed to fix it. The Symptom I’ve been using a 27″ Dell at work for a couple years, connected to my Mac via DisplayPort. It’s a...