A feed of short notes, thoughts, or ideas, preserved here on SeanMcP.com.


Sean McPherson

I added a new feature to the site called “stars.” When it is enabled, you can add a little star anywhere on the site by tapping.
I’m planning to write an article about why I wrote it, but in the meantime let me know if you have any feedback on the feature: sean@seanmcp.com

Sean McPherson

This week I gave a talk titled React Bug Catcher: Tools and strategies for debugging React apps at React Global 2022. It was a good experience, but I really underestimated (again) how much time it takes to prepare a conference talk. ⌛️

Sean McPherson

LEGO Bricktales looks so good! It’s like an open-ended LEGO Island, a favorite from my childhood. Hopefully the real game turns out like the trailer 🧱

Sean McPherson

In doing research on debugging, I’ve found Diomidis Spinellis’ Effective Debugging to be really insightful. It’s chock-full of helpful tips and real-world examples that illustrate the recommendations well.

If you are looking for a general book on debugging, then I highly recommend it.

Sean McPherson

I have enjoyed working with React for the past few years; it always felt like the right level of abstraction from working with the actual DOM. That being said, I have also become wary of how error-prone React hooks code often becomes. Solid.js feels like it uses a lot of the ergonomic parts of React while minimizing confusion and errors.

– Nick Scialli in Solid.js feels like what I always wanted React to be

Sean McPherson

Today marks the end of a chapter and the start of a new adventure. Onward and upward! 🦄

Sean McPherson

20 Things I’ve Learned in my 20 Years as a Software Engineer by Justin Etheredge of Simple Thread made it to the top of Hacker News, and there were some interesting insights from the article.

There is no “right” architecture, you’ll never pay down all of your technical debt, you’ll never design the perfect interface, your tests will always be too slow. This isn’t an excuse to never make things better, but instead a way to give you perspective. Worry less about elegance and perfection; instead strive for continuous improvement and creating a livable system that your team enjoys working in and sustainably delivers value.

[Watch out for the 0.1x programmer] who wastes time, doesn’t ask for feedback, doesn’t test their code, doesn’t consider edge cases, etc… We should be far more concerned with keeping 0.1x programmers off our teams than finding the mythical 10x programmer.

If you are using your tools, and you don’t love or hate them in a myriad of ways, you need to experience more. You need to explore other languages, libraries, and paradigms. There are few ways of leveling up your skills faster than actively seeking out how others accomplish tasks with different tools and techniques than you do.

Good written communication is one of the most important skills for any software engineer to master.

The article is worth the read (warning: a few vulgarities).

Sean McPherson

Every time I use esbuild, I’m impressed with its simplicity and speed. This new generation of JS tooling is really exciting!

Sean McPherson

Google Chrome has been crashing on me without warning the past two weeks, so I’m going to give Microsoft Edge another try. Nice to see that there are more extensions available in Edge Add-on store.

Sean McPherson

Pop quiz: What does the following evaluate to in JavaScript?

Object.keys('hmm...').length

Answer: 6. Here JS treats the string as a type of array which itself is a type of object. Who knew!

Sean McPherson

Netlify is moving their React UI component library to Tailwind CSS:

what started with organised PostCSS gradually grew to become a complex and entangled global CSS architecture with a lot of specificity and overrides. … the added tech debt it introduces makes it difficult to keep shipping fast without adding any regressions. Besides, as the number of frontend developers contributing to the codebase also grows, this kind of CSS architecture becomes even more difficult to work with.

To accomplish this, they set a deadline, divided the work across their front-end guild, and tracked their progress on GitHub. They added some internal tooling for visual-regression tests and to make building class lists easier, especially for conditional cases.

Read more about Netlify’s adoption of Tailwind CSS here

Sean McPherson

One of the things I miss most about Windows when working on macOS is the window management.

I’ve tried a few window management apps in the past, and today I’m giving Rectangle a spin. So far, the keyboard shortcuts feel logical and the app isn’t trying to do too much.

We’ll see how it goes!

Sean McPherson

Today I learned that in Vim :w stands for “write” and is not a weird alias for “save.” That’s much easier to remember.

Sean McPherson (Edited)

I added a /uses page to keep track of the extensions and programs that I use everyday. Nothing is revolutionary, but there are a few extensions and user scripts that I find helpful.

Sean McPherson

github1s is the coolest thing that I have seen in a while. By changing the url of any GitHub repository, you can open the repo in a VS Code browser. This is begging for a userscript to add a link to every GitHub repo

Sean McPherson

When I was teaching, teachers had a popular aphorism: “You really know something until you have to teach it.” Today I learned that this idea was given the term “the illusion of explanatory depth” (IOED) by psychologists in 2002.

Further reading: [0], [1], [2], [3], [4]

Sean McPherson

To find the date a file was created in Node, you can use the fs.stat or fs.statSync methods and look for birthdate. See this answer on StackOverflow.

This might work differently based on your operating system, so your mileage may vary.

Sean McPherson

Nunjucks and Liquid have different methods for passing arguments to a filter.

In Nunjucks, it’s:

{{ 'value' | filter('arg') }}

In Liquid, it’s:

{{ 'value' | filter: 'arg' }}
Sean McPherson

Each note is a simple markdown file. All the data necessary to render on the screen is set at a higher level, so it’s super simple.

Edit: Okay, I needed to add a date field.

My favorite part of this setup is that I can commit a new note through GitHub, which automatically triggers a Netlify build.

Sean McPherson

Why messages? I really like the idea of preserving content that would otherwise be shared on social media on my own site.

It’s definitely not the most popular option (in fact, I doubt anyone else will read these), but I think it’s the right decision in the long run.