Other than learning Objective C, and enthusically delving into Swift (tuples! enums!) I’m an experienced Filemaker developer (got started with Filemaker II in 1990, part of my Master’s Thesis was a FM database, and I’ve done commercial development as well as private projects). I’ve worked in a number of scripting environments – mainly Hypercard, Course of Action/Authorware, and lately WP/PHP/CSS, though I have scaled down that part of things to concentrate entirely on macOS development.

I like code. I don’t always like learning to code, and I sometimes find Cocoa frustrating because you can see a lot of wonderful options but very often the tools to access them remain hidden from the casual programmer.

Last but not least, I’ve been involved in teaching a complex skill to people who are not ‘naturals’ and who don’t have endless time and energy to invest; I would like to see much more effort in the programming community to make programming accessible to those who don’t necessarily fit the profile of the ‘typical programmer’ but who want to learn. This site seeks to provide, if not a giant’s shoulder, then at least a helping hand.

…this site

I had a site about learning to code in Objective C, with a number of ‘how to’ articles, but fell out of the habit and lost the installation (after a review, I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort to try and revive it).
Then I started again, and started development on my first proper project, and two weeks later Apple brought out Swift, so I did an about turn, read everything I could, and started playing with the new tools we were given.

The Wiki page will – once I get around to implementing it – contain a list of all Wiki posts.

…this installation

I can write WordPress themes from scratch, and have done so. However, since I have only so much programming time, and since mine has been eaten mostly by Swift and my fledgling Apps, I’ve not done as much with this as I’d want to.

Plugins that make life better:
(because I’m always curious how other people solve problems and what cool stuff they’ve discovered)

Post Featured Font Icon provides a handy interface for setting ‘featured icons’ (you can add them to the title or replace the featured image or both) I find them useful to give instant feedback on what to expect from a post: is this a documentation post? about algorithms? teaching?

IM8 exclude pages allows you to check a box and exclude a page from being included in the menus. This allows much more flexibility and I’ve used it in every WordPress installation so far.

Collapse-O-Matic, because I write long posts, sometimes with many many pictures, and having sections with cuts makes life a lot easier.

… icons used in post titles

To follow. I’ve got a rough list of how I’m handling categories and content right now, but as this site grows, I’m going to change my mind, so I won’t create a list until I’m more confident I have the right scheme.

… dates

I decided to update the dates on all posts to the date of reposting, rather than the original date. This avoids RSS problems, and since I am updating the code for the current Xcode/Swift/macOS version, it would feel weird to post a ‘two year old post with current content’. It’s a mess either way, so please don’t expect the posting frequency of December’16-February’17 to continue.

… this theme

This is a customised version of iTheme2 (download free here) – it riffs of Apple’s design and is nicely customisable.
In the last version of this page I complained about the ridiculous setup for the header image, and I’ve just tested it again, and… yes.
Upload a header image, and you’ll find that you can see only a portion of it, and that the menu bar overlaps the bottom of the image. You *could* fix this with inserting custom css into the header; but right now, this is more hassle than I need. (I have freelance work on my desk, more Swift code to write and document, and while I have ideas for how I would like to style this blog for optimum usability, they’ll need more time than I can give it right now. Well, either I write blog content or I write a WP theme.)

I was most disappointed to find that almost all of the themes on wordpress.org are now slimmed down versions of commercial themes, optimised for SEO and commercial viability, which makes them less useful for blogging, so I decided to reinstall iTheme2 after all, since I like the aesthetics very much and it has both the slider and a handy widget for showing only wiki entries.

… featured images

This time round, I am very much committed to using featured images and to illustrating my blog better with screenshots. When that becomes too much of a stretch, I shall just provide a random photo I’ve taken (one of my other hobbies) in order to not break the look of this site.

… indispensable software

MacJournal for writing my posts offline. Wilde does not work for me, and I like the interface better than Blogo, but I completely recommend using an offline client for blogging. Many posts are written over days, sometimes weeks if I get distracted or run into a problem.

Screenie for taking screenshots. Sometimes, as in the how to colour an NSButton post, I need a LOT of screenshots. Screenie is an app that sits in the menu bar, and which makes screenshot management easy (save in separate folder rather than on the desktop, drag from menubar, delete with right-click). Indispensable.

HazeOver dims background applications, which means you get less distracted while working; it also makes screenshots much easier. If most of my images have a dark border, this is why.

I use LiveQuartz for image editing – I don’t love it with all my heart, but it does its main job – managing layers, adding text, resizing images – better than the competition.