macOS alternatives: What about SteamOS?

Where to go next
By Jon Stokes

After Apple’s October 27 Mac event, many people were left to wonder, “Should I think about a macOS alternative? What else is out there?”

A Survival Guide for Non-Writers Who Have to Write for the Web

Taking the pain out of writing
By Jon Stokes

Writing for the web isn’t easy especially if it isn’t your full-time job. It doesn’t have to be painful though. Here are a few tips to help you survive.

Interview: Talking Middleman V4 and Front-end Dev with Thomas Reynolds

A chat with the creator of Middleman
By Jon Stokes

Middleman was built by Thomas Reynolds over eight years ago as a way to build static sites with easy-to-use framework. I talk with Mr. Reynolds about a few new features for Version 4 of the tool.

Rails + React + NPM: Another Option

By Jon Stokes

Most of the instructions I found for combining react-rails with browserify-rails and npm modules were at least a year out-of-date. But I finally got it all working, and it turns out that it’s pretty straightforward. In this bog post, I’ll show you how to use the convenient react-rails helpers to build views while using browserify-rails to bring in npm modules where and when you need them.

The NoCMS Manifesto

Chapter 1: Stakeholders
By Jon Stokes

I’ve been thinking a fair amount recently about life in a post-Wordpress world. Specifically, I’ve been pondering what a fully modern CMS might look like if it were designed in 2016 from mature, stable technologies with the goal of giving publishers the flexibility that they need to solve their number one problem. Of course, the number one problem in publishing isn’t slow page loads, nor is it the fact that Wordpress has a crufty UX while all the cool kids are doing edit-in-place. Performance and UX do matter, but by far the biggest problem in publishing right now is that it’s no longer clear how anyone will make money by typing things onto the Internet for other people to look at.

Painless Activity Streams in Rails

An easier way to track events
By Jon Stokes

There’s a better way to implement business logic, and track events in Rails.

WISP Trials: Waiting For the Balloons

By Jon Stokes

I used to think Google’s plan to give the world Internet via balloon was kind of looney. Then I moved to Texas and started a small hobby wireless ISP (WISP). Here are some things I learned about why American broadband is a fiasco, a fiasco that’s about to get way worse.

Adding Uploadcare to Rails the Easy Way

Give your users the ability to create, read, and delete images
By Jon Stokes

Back when I started working with rails, a typical rails app was a relational database that you provided a user-facing CRUD interface for. Now a typical rails app is a place where a bunch of REST APIs meet.

Internet Land Grab 2.0

The Fulcrum Lottery
By Jon Stokes

You’ve probably read that WhatsApp hit 900 million users with only 50 engineers. That’s not quite the whole story. Thinking of the effective size of the company’s engineering team is a useful reminder of what really matters.

Inside The Machine v2.0: Coming Soon With More ARM

By Jon Stokes

I’m working on a second edition of my book, and I’ll be doing all the work in a public github repo. The new edition will also replace PowerPC with ARM.

Why I Joined Collective Idea

By Jon Stokes

In which one of the Ars guys gets back into coding, and joins a great software team.

How To Get Alerts When a Sidekiq Instance Goes Down

By Jon Stokes

For those of us who use the popular distributed job queueing system Sidekiq, it’s a common problem: a Sidekiq instance containing a pool of workers dies, and the only way you find out about the problem is by checking the Sidekiq dashboard and seeing that you’ve got a ton of jobs backed up and fewer busy workers than expected. Luckily, there’s an easy way to get email alerts when one of your instances goes down, using Dead Man’s Snitch and a little bit of code inspired by the sidekiq\_snitch gem.