Issue 136

Lori M Olson Lori M Olson Follow Jul 26, 2023 · 7 mins read
Share this
DRD136: The mud puddles and needlework issue.

<div style="padding-bottom: 0px width: 100%; padding-top: 35px;"></div>

“Sugar Bowl Mud Puddle” by Lori Olson</a>.

OPED — Lori’s Unvarnished Opinion

Every Path Has a Few Puddles

Yesterday I was out riding my e-bike with a friend. We rode through a coulee (ravine) called the Sugar Bowl. In the winter, the Sugar Bowl is filled with children and toddlers, dressed in snow suits, tobogganing their little hearts out. Yes, folks, I live in Canada—we have snow and lots of it. ❄️ But now, in the summer, the Sugar Bowl is park of green grass with a path that takes you down under the very busy Scenic Drive, up to another path along the road or further down the coulees toward the river.

In the summer we have a challenge when riding through the Sugar Bowl. There’s a sprinkler system that keeps the lush grass of the park green. This summer in particular we have a problem. Water is pooling at the bottom of the Sugar Bowl and there’s a huge puddle across the path that we ride our bikes through. Most years, this isn’t much of a problem. It’s a small puddle and it dries up quickly and it’s not there every day. But this year the puddle just keeps growing larger and larger.

When you try to get around it by riding onto the grass, you discover the grass is waterlogged and the water is about an inch deep there too. And so we just keep riding in wider and wider arcs around this puddle. You can see that everyone is doing this, from the tire paths visible in the grass. Finally yesterday I thought, “why haven’t I reported this problem?” The City of Lethbridge has a simple app that allows one to report problems in parks and streets. And so I did.

Think about this the next time you’re creating an app. In particular how people who have problems with your app will simply work around them. They may even find it more and more difficult to avoid the problem, and yet they will still be tied to their workaround—because they know it works. They won’t necessarily tell you about it, though—and you really need to know!

There are two solutions: you should make it easy for people to report issues, of course. But you should also test out your app with an prototype before you build it, just so you can see what people will try to do when they run into problems in your app. I prefer the second solution. That way you can fix the problems before you start building your app in the first place.

Last Chance!

Speaking of app prototypes (!) this week is your last chance to get to see the replay of my App Prototyping webinar. An improved version will be appearing in the WNDX School for big bucks 😉 in the very near future. So if you’d like to see how to build an app prototype for free—including easy and effective reporting!—hit reply and let me know so I can send you the link.

APP — All Things App

A recent article from Roddy Munro caught our attention: Six Tools Every Indie App Developer Should Have In Their Toolkit is a set of tools which should take quite a bit of the repetitive, low-value drudge-work off your plate. Like that marketing stuff that indie developers quite often find distasteful. That should leave you with plenty of time for more important things like refactoring your entire codebase for the tenth time prior to releasing the alpha.

TALK — Talk of the Tech

This issue of DRD has just one item from the two main RubyMotion/DRGTK chat spaces:

  • Discord — One thing which seems to have been notably absent from the DRGTK offering is require_relative. Good news, Amir just announced that it’s been added in DRGTK 5.3.

The current lack of traffic on the Slack channel notwithstanding, it’s a great idea to give one or both of these a try—they’re absolutely free.

Tech newsletter 🗞️ content crunch? Intellog can help. And they have a special offer for DRD subscribers: they will curate and write the first issue of your newsletter for free. Find out more.  Sponsored

TWIL — This Week I Learned …

Those of you (us?) who have been around for a while will recall there was a day when line numbers were de rigueur in code development. While those days are really gone—thankfully—being able to wedge in a line number at the beginning of each line of a text file is still a handy thing to be able to do from time-to-time. Here’s how, as provided in this nixCraft toot. 💨

GAME — All Things Gaming

Are you a fan of ‘cozy’ games? To be perfectly frank, we didn’t even know they were a thing until we saw the always affable David Pogue do a spot on them on CBS Sunday Morning. Can’t take anything more complex than Unpacking (yes, as in luggage), Lawn Mowing and PowerWash Simulator? If so, then cozy games are for you.

Well, it turns out our fearless leader Lori has been caught up in this ‘craze’. Her new favourite game is Stitch where the objective is to “fill in the levels’ areas with no gaps to complete hoops”. We feel more relaxed just thinking about it.

Riffing on this same theme, we also came across this toot from Mark Gardner 💨 about a cross-stitch tribute to the text-based, 1970s game Zork. Pass us some mesh and thread, Margie, we have a hankerin’ for some needlework!

Do you have a DragonRuby-related product or service you would like to get in front of well over 1,200 raving DragonRuby-istas? 🐉 If so, please get in touch ... we would love to help you get the word out in a sponsored spot like this!  Sponsored

SPOT — Spotlight On …

We’re quite impressed with the selection of graphic non-fiction books out there. We wouldn’t have thought the ‘comic book’-like form factor would be suited to the material. It really is, though. But can a version of it work for even more technical subjects? Julia Evans seems to prove that it does with her recently published How Integers and Floats Work. It’s both smart and fun.

Also, an extracurricular item from the DRGTK Discord alerted us to Kevin Fischer’s latest project: an experimental Game Boy emulator written using the DRGTK! Doesn’t this guy ever sleep?!

HAHA — And They All Laughed

We loved the pithy caption to this toot from Aldroid 💨:

“I have found the patron saint of remote code execution”.

Now, for the next stops on our tour can somebody point us in the direction of Our Lady of Perpetual Coredump and the Basilica del Disco Rigido Fiammeggiante?

The World’s Best DragonRuby Newsletter can be delivered to you directly—at least it will be if you subscribe! Follow the WNDX School on Facebook, and don’t forget to follow WNDXLori on Twitter and Instagram.

If you enjoyed this issue of the DragonRuby Dispatch, please forward to a friend and ask them to subscribe, too … we really appreciate it!

* * *

“Childhood is that state which ends the moment a puddle is first viewed as an obstacle instead of an opportunity.” — Michael K. Williams (1966-2021)