turing complete with a stack of 0xdeadbeef

Writing

I mostly write about Swift, Objective-C, iOS, open source, and other software development topics. Sometimes I write about the ethics of tech, labor, and politics. I also write personal essays and notes on what I'm currently reading.

Sharing cross-platform code in SwiftUI apps

19 August 2022

The main appeal of building apps in SwiftUI is being able to share UI code across platforms, in particular iOS and macOS. It is not perfect and you often have to do some #if os() checks, but when it works it is truly great. Before SwiftUI was around, you could already share a lot of (non-UI) code between iOS and macOS. Many of the system frameworks are available on both platforms, for example Foundation and Core Data. Occasionally there are API differences, but they rarely impose a significant burden.

Continue…

Automatically assign milestones with GitHub Actions

04 August 2022

One of the most important parts of software development is tracking changes. Documenting what is going into a release is necessary not only to simply know what changed and inform your users by writing good release notes, but also to track down issues when something goes wrong. If there’s a new bug or a new crash in your latest release, you need to be able to quickly find the change that introduced the problem.

Continue…

Disconnected

25 July 2022

I have been mostly offline for about two months. Or, at least I have not been writing here like usual, nor posting on Twitter. I have been very disconnected, particularly from work but also the internet in general, starting right before WWDC this year. I still have not watched a single WWDC video, not even the keynote. I have hundreds of unread posts in my RSS reader. And, I am a month behind on reading iOS Dev Weekly.

Continue…

May 16 dreams

16 May 2022

I wrote an essay in 2018 reflecting on the 15-year anniversary of my sister’s death. I still think it’s one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve written. Today is her birthday. Amy would have turned 35.

Continue…

Using DocC on GitHub Pages

Pros and Cons 22 April 2022
Updated: 25 April 2022

When I first wrote about DocC, I lamented the fact that it was incompatible with static hosting on GitHub Pages. Much has changed since my last post, so let’s take a fresh look. While there have been many welcome improvements to the tool, there are a few remaining issues that prevent me from adopting it for my open source projects.

Continue…

Quick 5.0 released

17 April 2022

If you develop for Apple platforms and use a third-party testing framework, you are very likely using Quick and Nimble. Otherwise, you have probably at least heard of them. I don’t use any third-party testing frameworks in my personal projects, but I have worked on teams that do. And I currently work on a team that uses Quick and Nimble, which is why it was important for me to get a recent critical bug fixed in Quick.

Continue…

Using fastlane to increment version numbers in xcconfig files

28 March 2022

If you are using fastlane to automate your release process, you might be using the increment_version_number and increment_build_number actions to bump your version and build numbers, respectively. However, if your Xcode project is configured to use xcconfig files, then you are out of luck. Shockingly, fastlane does not seem to support projects that use xcconfig files and there is a surprising dearth of information online about how to make fastlane work with Xcode build configuration files.

Continue…

Automate merging release branches into your main branch with GitHub Actions

26 March 2022

A typical release process for Git workflows involves creating a release branch, performing various tests on that branch, and applying any necessary fixes or changes to that branch. Once stable and ready to release, you create a build from the release branch, create a git tag, and finally merge the release branch changes back into your main branch.

Continue…

My website disappeared from Bing and DuckDuckGo

25 March 2022
Updated: 28 July 2022

I discovered earlier this week that my website is no longer being indexed by Bing and DuckDuckGo. In fact, it appears that it has been deliberately removed from their search indexes. On Bing, rather than display a “no results” message, it displays a “Some results have been removed” message, which is very concerning. Notably, however, Google search is working fine.

Continue…

Quickly displaying the Swift version that ships with Xcode

04 March 2022
Updated: 09 March 2022

I previously wrote about writing a custom shell command to quickly switch between Xcodes. But recently, I needed to determine the version of Swift that is bundled with Xcode — specifically the version of Swift that is shipping with the current Xcode 13.3 beta. I was pretty sure that it is Swift 5.6, but I wanted to know for certain.

Continue…

The MacBook sigh of death

15 February 2022
Updated: 16 February 2022

I have been experiencing bizarre kernel panics with my Mac lately. I have a 2020 Intel MacBook Pro, the last Intel model before the M1 debuted. It has generally been working fine. Despite poor software quality and numerous bugs lurking around in macOS, I rarely see kernel panics anymore. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had a kernel panic before this issue. There have been no major changes on my machine and I’m on the latest version of Monterey.

Continue…

When should you use Decimal instead of Double?

01 February 2022

In Swift there are 13 numeric types. Like most other programming languages, Swift provides signed integers of various sizes, corresponding unsigned integers, and a few floating-point types. But if you’ve been developing apps for Apple platforms for any amount of time, you’ll recognize another numeric type — Decimal (aka NSDecimalNumber). When we build the model layer of an app, it’s important to choose the right type for the task we want to accomplish. For example, if we are counting ticket sales for an event, then Int (or possibly UInt) would be the most appropriate type. But if we are calculating sales tax, then we’ll need to use a floating-point type. You likely know that Double is more precise than Float, but what about Decimal? When should you reach for Decimal instead?

Continue…

NFTs and web3

16 January 2022

I mostly avoid interacting with and discussing the world of NFTs and cryptocurrencies — it’s not for me. However, a couple of blog posts caught my attention recently and I highly recommend reading them.

Continue…

Users, Privacy, and Consent

14 January 2022

In today’s issue of iOS Dev Weekly, Dave wrote “What it does prove, though, is that people don’t care much about privacy.” I agree with Dave’s sentiment here, but I don’t think this is entirely true. There is more to the story. I think people do care very much about privacy. What software over the past decade has actually proven is that people do not understand privacy — or perhaps more broadly, they do not understand software nor the various technologies they use daily.

Continue…

iMessage spam and reporting abuse

How many taps does it take to block a bad actor? 13 January 2022

iMessage is in the news again recently with a revival of years-old stories about “green bubbles” versus “blue bubbles” — and the social dynamics among teens who prefer blue bubbles while ostracizing their peers with green bubbles. There’s a lot to like and dislike about iMessage, but one thing that amazes me is that there is still no way to easily report abuse and the process for blocking spam is needlessly difficult.

Continue…