corenominal

Full stack web developer, interested in all the things, but especially the web, code, design, Linux, OS X, PHP, WordPress, JavaScript & robots.

Moving from Fever to Miniflux

I’ve been using Fever as my self-hosted RSS reader ever since Google Reader was closed. It’s provided a solid experience, but when it was announced that Fever was to cease being supported, I decided that the next time I upgraded my server, I’d move to Miniflux.

Yesterday evening, I upgraded my server (well, I moved it from using Ubuntu 16.04 to Debian Stretch) and installed Miniflux. The installation was straightforward and it only took a few minutes to import my subscriptions from the OPML that I’d exported from Fever.

Initial impressions are really good, Miniflux’s user interface is super-simple and very easy to use. It’s also very quick! I don’t have any metrics to compare, but it definitely seems quicker at updating/refreshing my subscriptions than Fever. This is also evident when connecting via its Fever API using Reeder.

Anyhow, it’s early days, but I think Miniflux is going to be a very good replacement for Fever. If you’ve been looking for a self-hosted RSS reader, it might be worth taking a look.

Getting Started with Headless Chrome image/svg+xml

Headless Chrome is shipping in Chrome 59. It’s a way to run the Chrome browser in a headless environment. Essentially, running Chrome without chrome! It brings all modern web platform features provided by Chromium and the Blink rendering engine to the command line.

Details how to print the DOM to stdout, take screenshots, and create PDF files with Headless Chrome. I’ve used PhantomJS (another headless browser) in the past and I remember it being a fun experience, so I’m looking forward to trying this.

Giving Debian Stretch a try

Tonight, I have mostly been taking Debian Stretch for a spin. Stretch is currently in full freeze and is due to be the next Debian Stable release, so I was interested to see what it has to offer in terms of providing a LEMP stack.

The biggest change (LEMP related) over previous Debian releases is probably the switch to MariaDB from MySQL. I wasn’t aware this switch had taken place, until I tried to install the ‘mysql-server’ package, which doesn’t exist under Stretch. Doh. So anyway, I did a quick search and discovered details of the change. After that, it only took a few minutes to figure out what I needed to do to get MariaDB installed and set-up. To be honest, with the limited testing that I’ve done, I’ve not noticed any difference, but I guess this is to be expected as MariaDB is described as a drop-in replacement for MySQL.

Other than that, Stretch looks like it’s going to be a solid LEMP platform, providing NGINX 1.10.3 and PHP 7.0. It should make for a good replacement for my current Ubuntu LTS servers, which I’m looking to move away from.

Designing for the Appearance of Speed image/svg+xml

The jury has spoken: performance, conversion, and brand engagement are inextricably connected. Amazon has shown that each 100ms of latency costs them 1% in sales. Walmart chalks up an extra 2% conversions with every second of performance improvement. Any online shopper will tell you that faster is better than slower — but is speed as simple as the shortest distance from point A to B?

A look at the importance of perceived speed and how it can help to increase user engagement.

Stickybits image/svg+xml

Stickybits is a lightweight (<2KB) alternative to position: sticky polyfills that works perfectly for things like sticky headers.

In the past, I’ve had trouble using sticky headers — I’ve never managed to get them to work consistently well in Safari on iOS. I’ve only done some limited testing, but Stickybits seems to work pretty well.