QR Code contains TinyURL of this article.The Trawler: № 11

Stylised rendering of a grounded fishing boat

Welcome one and all to another issue of The Trawler, the Internet’s premier collection of “stuff”.

I haven’t produced a Trawler issue in a while. So this one is something of a link dump. There’s enough goodness here to keep you going for a long time. 😃

User Interface

Scott Jensen affords us a tantalising glimpse of an operating system user interface that employs atmospheric perspective to convey depth rather than the drop shadows that are ubiquitous in UI design today. This concept resonated with me since, for a while now, I’ve been using the HazeOver application on macOS and I have come to appreciate the utility in having a foreground window stand out from its companions through the use of lighting effects.

Web Design

Breaking Out with CSS Grid Layout: Tyler Sticka shows us how to allow certain elements to fill the full viewport width from within a fixed-width container. Handy for beating the constraints of a fixed-width container for hero images, video and the like.

Morten Rand-Hendriksen walks us through Building Production-Ready CSS Grid Layouts Today.

Design Better Data Tables: in which Andrew Coyle illustrates patterns for data table design and visualisation.

Designing the Perfect Date and Time Picker: Vitaly Friedman explores, in depth, the design and implementation details of the perfect date/time picker. It’s interesting to note that, as in most things, one size does not fit all, it all depends on your use case.

A slider is a simple user interface control where you adjust some value by dragging a handle in a groove. In Implementing a slider well, Ilya Birman illustrates what does and does not work, culminating with a reference implementation.

From the Baymard Institute, interesting research and a compelling argument that The ‘Credit Card Number’ Field Must Allow and Auto-Format Spaces (80% Don’t).

Enjoy a hilarious journey through the ten things David Gilbertson learned while making the fastest site in the world.

You must check out this gorgeous, animated rendering of an iPhone 6. Created purely in CSS, not a scrap of JavaScript.

Web Development

Ire Aderinokun gives us the low-down on Asynchronous Functions and how to use them sequentially or in parallel with the versatile await command. Is this the end of callback hell?

JavaScript programmers will all be familiar with this. But what is this? Why is this sometimes a scoped object, then at other times the global object? Arnav Aggarwal explains this in The Simple Rules to ‘this’ in JavaScript. I’m glad we’ve got that cleared up.

While we’re on the subject, Ryan McDermott has put together a guide to producing readable, reusable, and re-factorable software in JavaScript.

Pure Geek

PopSQL looks interesting. I can’t count the number of times each day that I share or receive SQL queries from colleagues via HipChat. The collaborative options in PopSQL will be useful to me and my co-workers. I’m definitely going to give this one a try.

“Every time a PHP developer runs git diff on the command line a kitten dies.” So writes Igor Santos in Quick tip on Git diffs for PHP files. Santos goes on to explain how to make Git’s hunk headers a little more PHP-friendly.

Harry Roberts shares with us the “Little Things I Like to Do with Git.” Steady on old boy.

Whilst we’re fooling around with Git, check out diff-so-fancy which “strives to make your diff’s human readable instead of machine readable. This helps improve code quality and spot defects faster.”

In Shell Scripts Matter, we look at improving our shell scripts with static code analysis, “strict” mode, exit traps, unit testing, logging, debugging, self-documentation and version control.

Wolfgang Lutz has a great article on how to customise the small control strip on the Touch Bar MacBooks. With this documentation I have modified my own Touch Bar to feature media player functions on the small control strip. This is useful since I almost always have iTunes playing while I’m using the computer.

Security, Privacy and OpSec

In How Hackers Steal Your Data (and How to Make it Harder for Them), David Brownman gives us a five-point checklist to help us make our digital lives a little more secure.

A reminder that you should always look before you paste from a website to terminal — oh that naughty CSS.

When it comes to network security, most of the tools to test your network are pretty complex. Nessus isn’t new, but it definitely bucks this trend. It’s incredibly easy to use, works quickly, and can give you a quick rundown of your network’s security at the click of a button.

If you haven’t already, you should upgrade your SSH keys to Ed25519, a reference implementation for EdDSA using twisted Edward curves. While you’re at it, you may as well simplify your life with a SSH configuration file.

[0day] Bypassing Apple’s System Integrity Protection: abusing the local upgrade process to bypass SIP. Genius, as always, from Patrick Wardle.


Alisdair McDiarmid has become one of my heroes since I discovered his Kill Sticky browser bookmarklet. I use this countless times every day and have quickly come to question how I kept my sanity without it (assuming, of course, that I am still sane).