Issue 7030 September 2020
by Lori M Olson
OPED ― Our Unvarnished Opinion
OK, I have to start this newsletter with a bit of a downer. This will probably be my last newsletter for at least a month, as I will be recovering from surgery on my eye, with a directive to avoid all reading and screens.
But it wouldn’t be an OPED without a rant about apps would it? Buckle up.
Since the middle of August I have been visually disabled. I have a macular hole in my left eye which makes the fine detail focus on my left eye non-functional. What does that mean in real life…anything I look at is distorted, and the smaller the thing I am looking at, the worse it gets. Text on a screen is particularly bad.
After a week off while we figured out what was up with my eye, I continued to work by blasting all of my settings up to extra-large text everywhere so that when I look at a piece of text part of it don’t just disappear into the distortion effect. For the most part, apps work well enough to get by but some apps, especially on my phone, are challenging. These apps, of course, are the ones that don’t actually use native controls. And these apps don’t pay attention to the system setting that tells the app to increase the font size. And they don’t actually use things like Face ID for access to passwords and credit cards. And, in fact, simply make life difficult for people who have visual disabilities. Now I won’t call these particular apps out (who am I kidding - yes, I will: FATBURGER) but these companies need to work harder on creating accessible apps that use the native features that are provided for you in the native operating system that make them automatically accessible for visual and hearing impaired persons.
I hope you all have a nice October and I will see about getting the next newsletter out as quickly as possible when the doc says I can get back to my computer. ― WNDXLori (on Twitter)
FITS ― Featured in the School
I didn’t have time to get the new sales page set up, BUT…the content for the new and improved RubyMotion Jumpstart V2 is up. In addition to the videos that made up V1, we have added:
- App Color Themes bonus video & code (valued at $35)
- App Design Worksheets (valued at $10)
- App Deploy Checklist (valued at $25)
- Source Code Screen Templates (valued at $200)
- Mini-ebook download (valued at $50)
All this for an introductory price $37, going up to $57 as soon as I get back to my screen so…GRAB IT NOW if you’ve been holding off!! ― WNDXLori (also on Instagram)
GOTW ― Gem of the Week
If you’re a subscriber to a lot of programming newsletters there seems to be a near obsession with state management systems these days. Or maybe that’s just the ones to which we subscribe (other than your favourite which is DRD, of course). If you have noticed something similar it is because state management is pretty dang handy for all sorts of important things like saving game state. To that end Dan Healy has dropped a sweet little GitHub Gist which will automatically serialize any DragonRuby GTK class based on ivars.
COMM ― Community
Funny story: we were at our favourite independent coffee joint a while back and we were thrashing away on the iPad Pro gobbling through gigabytes of ‘free wifi’ bandwidth (protected with a VPN of course). It was only a while later when the cell bill arrived, sadly, did we realize that about two minutes into our two hour session that the ‘free wifi’ had dropped and we had been running the whole session on cellular. Oh well, the kids probably aren’t college material anyway. What we would have liked, of course, is a big red pop-up saying “You’re also about to blow through your grandkids inheritance. Click ‘Yes’ to continue.” Alas, that wasn’t to be the case. Moral of the story: make your app do a good job (actually a great job) of detecting what kind of internet access your app is currently using and keep your users up to speed in real time. Ross Butler shows us how in Detecting Internet Access on iOS 12+. Our kids and grandkids thank you, Ross!
AHTW ― App Highlight This Week
DRGTK ― DragonRuby Game Toolkit
If you somehow missed it up until now, The DragonRuby Game Toolkit discord is really the place to be when it comes to DRGTK chat. If you’re not there already, you’re missing out. For example, Amir recently announced that diagnostic and performance tools have been added in the latest release.
DRSH ― Dragon Riders Slack Highlights
The aforementioned discord notwithstanding, another great resource for DragonRuby developers is the Dragon Riders Slack team. There’s really no end to the nuggets you’ll be able to sift out there. For example Mamoun Saudi recently triggered a robust thread regarding the Android Getting Started guide. It’s well worth checking out the discussion. Speaking of which, we also have a PDF which also help you walk through the process of setting up a RubyMotion/Android development environment. Reply to this email and we’ll see you get one.
ANDROID ― Nothin’ But…
We received a great response to previous articles by Google’s Android Developer Advocate Nick Butcher, so we’re happy to include a link to a new one in which we think you’ll be interested. This time Nick tackles a subject which really isn’t terribly intuitive: how Android styling themes are applied. Read Android Styling: Themes Overlay on Medium.
TWIL ― This Week I Learned
While it’s true we’ve likely all used Homebrew at some point or another, it’s also fair to say that your use may have been similar to ours: tell us monkeys what to type and we’ll type it. No offence to monkeys intended. But if you’re at the point where you would really like to know what
cellar actually mean (as Michael Jackson did in a recent tweet, then here’s the cure to what ‘ales’ ya. May we present the
Homebrew terminology cheat sheet. It’s what we learned this week.
HAHA ― And They All Laughed
Thanks to Kat Maddox for this. The comments are worth the price of admission alone.
That’s a Wrap!
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“To me programming is more than an important practical art. It is also a gigantic undertaking in the foundations of knowledge.” – Grace Hopper
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