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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
A couple of macOS releases or so ago, Apple introduced app extensions: self-contained modules that are bundled within apps to deliver functionality to the wider operating system. But how do apps and their extensions share information between themselves, in particular users’ preferences?
Let the great Homebrew migration begin. Yes, Homebrew now has native support for Apple’s ARM64-based M1 chip. The latest version, 3.0.0, released 5 February, will run nicely on your Apple Silicon Mac. There’s a catch, of course. Well, several catches: first, not all of the tools you can install using Homebrew are M1 native yet and, second, Homebrew doesn’t offer explicit migration instructions, that I could find at least.
Last week I tried the Raspberry Pi Pico with MicroPython. The Raspberry Pi Foundation would be sufficiently commended for providing only this level of programming support. MicroPython leverages the Python skills of the many Raspberry Pi users out there and is accessible to plenty of others too. But the Foundation has also provided a C/C++ SDK, and this opens the Pico up to serious embedded-system developers too.
imageprep, my command line tool for batch-processing picture files, had a big update a week or so back — and now it has another one. With the second update imminent, I didn’t announce the first, 6.1.0, which I released to coincide with my post on writing command line utilities in Swift. That done, it’s time to shout about imageprep 6.2.0.
I’ve spent a lot of time of late working on several macOS command line tools written in Swift. So I’ve gathered together the key points I’ve learned while creating and updating pdfmaker and imageprep: some best practices and ways to deliver many of the features common to programs the run at the command line.