Tangible Bytes

Where Code Meets Reality

Firebase Hosting

Website developers (like myself) often end up with a few websites we support - whether these are promoting a business, running a blog, for a side project, or a site for a friend or hobby.

Since these are often low to no budget and can’t be prioritised for work at busy times they need to be

  • cheap
  • low maintenance
  • easy to set up
  • blazingly fast
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Sql vs Firestore First Impressions

I’ve been working with SQL databases for over 20 years but this year was my first time using a NoSQL database.

Previous conversations with developers often went along the lines of them trying to tell me NoSQL is “better” and me not quite seeing a benefit. At the time I never really had a reason to try something different - what I had worked and was low risk.

Recently I had cause to adopt Google’s Firebase hosting and Cloud Firestore database and this is what I learned.

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PWA, Workbox, CSP, and Caching

In the world of Web development the words “Best Practice” are often thrown about as if implementation was a trivial detail and giving the impression that everyone else must be doing all this already.

Then you implement these and find that it isn’t so trivial - especially when you try and combine each practice.

I wanted to experiment with making this site into a Progressive Web App (PWA) while maintaining good security through Content Security Policy (CSP) headers and long cache times for static assets.

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Hugo and Webpack

Hugo - The world’s fastest framework for building websites is pretty awesome. It’s what I use to manage this site.

But much of the web development world has moved in the direction of JavaScript, npm, and Webpack.

So how can you run a Hugo website and manage the embedded JavaScript and CSS that are most commonly managed with npm and Webpack?

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Empty Alt Tag

Part of what makes the web so brilliant is in it’s flexibility - the information is conveyed mostly in digital text and unlike paper we don’t all have to experience that in the same way.

Some people can’t see the images in a website so we can add “alt” text which replaces the image for these people.

The problem comes when the image doesn’t actually have a meaning - then what should the Alternative text be?

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Ubuntu Installer Blank Screen

I was recently updating a very old laptop for use in some network testing - all it needs to do is connect to wifi.

I couldn’t understand why I was getting a blank screen after grub loaded

I tried various install media, tried editing grub conf.

The best I could get was a screen saying

Booting a command list

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