termtosvg – record terminal sessions as SVG animations

termtosvg (GitHub repo) is a handy little tool that makes recording animated sessions in the terminal as simple as humanly possible. Instead of generating heavy graphics or video animations, this tool creates SVG files, which are a lot smaller and easier. There is also a selection of themes to choose from.

Th resulting SVG files can be used as quick demos and guides in READMEs on GitHub, or as tutorials for your application’s website.

Lazydocker – a simple terminal UI for both docker and docker-compose

Lazydocker is a simple terminal UI for easier management of Docker. This is particularly useful for new Docker users, but can as well save plenty of keystrokes to the seasoned administrators.

Bash trick: Repeat last command until success

More and more often I come across a scenario where I need to repeat the shell command until it succeeds. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Reboot a server. Try to remotely login to it via ssh. This fails until the server actually boots up. Keep trying until connected.
  • Start an application that writes to the log file. Run “tail -f some.log” to watch the log messages. This fails if the log file does not exist yet. Keep trying until the application creates the log file and writes something into it.

Sure, I can always press the up arrow key and Enter, to repeat the last command from the history. But it is a tiny bit annoying.

Today I came across this little trick, that solves the problem. Add the following function to your .bashrc:

rpt() {
  CMD=$(fc -ln | tail -n 2 | head -n 1)
  echo "repeating until success: $CMD"
  until $CMD
  do
    sleep 1
  done
}

Now you can run “rpt” to repeat the latest command until it succeeds.

Handy!

P3.express – practical project management framework

When it comes to project management, there are many certifications, guidelines, and suggestions all over the web. But it’s often difficult to pick the right one. Some are overly complicated. Others are too simplistic and don’t cover even the whole project lifespan.

P3.express, however, looks good. It covers the project management process from the early days, when it’s not even clear if the project will proceed at all, to the tasks that need to happen after the project has been fully completed. The whole flow consists of 37 activities in 7 sections, with each one of the activities being well documented and explained.

This one is definitely worth a try. Especially if you ever felt like this:

Notes to Myself on Software Engineering

I came across these “Notes to Myself on Software Engineering“, with which I agree wholeheartedly. Some of these I’ve learned “the hard way”. For most of these, I wish I knew them earlier. They would make my life a lot easier. Here a few to get you started, but make sure to read the whole list, as many of these apply to other areas of IT and life in general.

It’s okay to say no — just because someone asks for a feature doesn’t mean you should do it. Every feature has a cost that goes beyond the initial implementation: maintenance cost, documentation cost, and cognitive cost for your users. Always ask: Should we really do this? Often, the answer is simply no.

Invest in continuous integration and aim for full unit test coverage. Make sure you are in an environment where you can code with confidence; if that isn’t the case, start by focusing on building the right infrastructure.

Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible. Don’t increase the cognitive load of common use cases for the sake of niche use cases, even minimally.

Because code is communication, naming matters — whether naming a project or a variable. Names reflect how you think about a problem. Avoid overly generic names (x, variable, parameter), avoid OverlyLongAndSpecificNamingPatterns, avoid terms that can create unnecessary friction (master, slave), and make sure you are consistent in your naming choices. Naming consistency means both internal naming consistency (don’t call “dim” what is called “axis” in other places) and consistency with established conventions for the problem domain. Before settling on a name, make sure to look up existing names used by domain experts (or other APIs).

Career progress is not how many people you manage, it is how much of an impact you make: the differential between a world with and without your work.

Software development is teamwork; it is about relationships as much as it is about technical ability. Be a good teammate. As you go on your way, stay in touch with people.

When we find ourselves in a conflict, it’s a good idea to pause to acknowledge our shared values and our shared goals, and remind ourselves that we are, almost certainly, on the same side.