Author Archives: smittytone

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Looking for YAML macOS QuickLook file previews? With PreviewYaml 1.0.0, you got ’em!

Last week I announced the release of a new version of PreviewMarkdown that will preview YAML front matter in Markdown files. Work on that release prompted me to code a new app that enables QuickLook previews and Finder icon thumbnails of YAML files.

QuickLook previews and icon thumbnails of YAML files can now be yours

I have a quite few YAML files that configure a number of projects, mostly websites built using the Hugo static-site generator, and it’s really handy to be able to select one in Finder and quickly view its contents just by hitting space. Thumbnails are nice to see too, but for me it’s the QuickLook preview functionality that I most value because it saves me a heck of lot of time opening files in an editor just to read a line or two — or even just see if this is the file I’m looking for.

With PreviewYaml, I can now tell in a moment.

A typical YAML file preview

PreviewYaml works just like PreviewMarkdown: it’s a host app that makes preview preferences accessible and a pair of app extensions that are called by Finder when you ask for a preview, or open a window containing one or more .yaml files. If you try it yourself, you need to run the app to register the extensions with macOS, and to apply any particular settings you want, such as preview font and size, the colour of keys so they stand out from their values, how much indentation you prefer, and whether bad YAML is displayed in the preview its raw form or ignored.

Apply preview settings in the main app

You can also use the main app to submit feedback and bug reports, and you can check out the app’s known issues. These are under investigation, but I think will only affect a very, very small number of users. But please let me know if I’m wrong in that assumption!

PreviewYaml is available from the Mac App Store for a very modest consideration, and the core source can be viewed on GitHub.

Further Reading

Now available: PreviewMarkdown 1.3.0 with YAML support

Version 1.3.0 of PreviewMarkdown has just been released. Its key new feature: you now have the option to view YAML front matter in Markdown file previews. This is really handy if, like me, you use a static site generator and use YAML to record content metadata at the top of your Markdown page files.

With PreviewMarkdown 1.3.0, you can now preview files’ YAML content too
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Take advantage of Xcode’s hidden diagnostics to debug multi-threaded application code

PreviewMarkdown’s Thumbnailer component, an App Extension which generates Finder icon thumbnail previews of Markdown documents, recently started showing some odd behaviour. Tracking down the cause provided some interesting insights into writing macOS software for a multi-threaded environment.

Thumbnailer-rendered thumbnails
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Introducing C++ programming on the Raspberry Pi Pico

When I started programming the Raspberry Pi Pico, I used the C language because I’ve worked with it before. The Pico’s SDK also supports C++, but I’ve never used C++. When I started Mac programming in the early 1990s, C was the clear choice. By the time I needed to do object-oriented programming, Apple had bought NeXT and the way to do OOP on macOS was Objective-C not C++. The Pico has given me chance to join the party.

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How to use zmv — Z Shell’s super-smart file renamer

I’d like to introduce you — if you’re not already acquainted — to the Z Shell’s incredibly handy function zmv. If you ever need to change at the command line the names of a batch of files consistently, it’s the tool you’ll want to turn to first. It’s not well known, and having been given the nod by a colleague, I thought I’d explore and pass on some notes about taking advantage of it.

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Enjoy some old school 3D arcade action — courtesy of the Raspberry Pi Pico

In the mid-1980s, I loved Phantom Slayer. Written for the Tandy Color Computer and made available for the Dragon 32, Phantom Slayer was a 3D maze shooter. Think a very basic version of Doom with colours but no textures. It wasn’t sophisticated, but it was quick and, more to the point, incredibly atmospheric.

The Pi Pico version of Phantom Slayer
Do you have what it takes to face down the Phantoms?
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Hail to the Acorn Atom, the Pi Pico predecessor from 1980

If the Raspberry Pi is the BBC Micro de nos jours then the Pi Pico is perhaps the spiritual successor to that earlier Acorn micro: the Atom. So in homage to that ground-breaking pre-Beeb cased computer, here’s the latest offering from Smittytone’s Retro T-Shirt Store.

Atomic apparel
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