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Jess Archer added a model:show command to Laravel earlier this month. The command displays an overview of a model's attributes and relations. The output looks great! It's designed to be read, but it's not an ideal format to consume in other ways.
Jess also added a --json flag. Set the flag, and the command returns a JSON object that represents the same data. The output isn't as readable for humans, but opens up a different world of possibilities. Like exposing an API for a web application.
By providing output in a portable format, users can build their own interface for the data or use it as an input for another program. This makes a program vastly more interesting. It enables users to do things not provided or considered by the author. Portable output makes a system composable and promotes lateral thinking.
Reading on a Kindle
Last year I got a Kindle, and it's been a blast! I barely read blogs on a regular screen anymore. I even read newsletters on my Kindle by sending them to Pocket from Feedbin.
It took me a long time to decide on an e-reader because I was afraid it was going to gather too much dust. I wanted a device to read longform articles. As much as I love my iPad, it's a distracting environment. I prefer devices with a specific purpose, they have a way of putting me in the right state of mind using them. E-ink screens are also my favorite kind of technology: highly sophisticated with an analog feel. (And next to phones and laptops, the battery life appears extraterrestrial.)
After dabbling with a dopamine detox, I decided to pick up more books. My attention span needed some exercise, and I wanted to consume more long-lasting content. To my own surprise, an e-reader has had me reading more than ever. I've been reading about a book a month. That might not sound like a lot for an avid reader, but it's a lot for someone coming from a book or two a year.
What I've read so far:
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu ★★★★☆
Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda ★★☆☆☆
The Joy of X, Steven Strogatz ★★★☆☆
Building a Second Brain, Tiago Forte ★★★★☆
The Goal, Eliyahu M. Goldratt ★★★★★
Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse
The Goal was a very compelling read and probably warrants a newsletter topic of its own. No rating for Finite and Infinite Games because I couldn't get myself to finish it. I was looking forward to it because the core idea is so powerful, but the book itself was vapid.
On the blog
🖥 Uses page — I finally set up a uses page with a picture and overview of my desk and software setup.
🗡 Laravel Blade & View Models — I prefer strongly typed data objects when passing data to Blade views. They make a view's dependencies clear, and are easier to refactor. This is how I use view model pattern in Laravel.
🗣 Writing open source software — This post has been up for a while, but I updated it with a link to my lightning talk at Full Stack Europe 2019.
And some shorter bits:
On the web
🗺 Why are software development estimates regularly off by a factor of 2-3 times? — A funny anecdote on why we're so bad at estimating (that hits too close to home).
⚜️ The Death of Detail — A Twitter thread on how unconscious minimalism is taking over the world, stripping the identity from our surroundings.
🧠 The PARA Method: A Universal System for Organizing Digital Information — I've doubled down on organizing my digital life with Tiago Forte's PARA method. I especially value its simplicity and portability, the system works across all apps I use.
On the horizon
At Spatie we're working on a SaaS offering for Mailcoach, and this is one of the first emails sent with Mailcoach Cloud! We're launching in September, sign up if you want to be notified when we're open for business.
Summer time means everything moves slower around here. I'm spending less screen time on side projects and enjoying the sun and my garden instead. In September I'll see what the rest of the year will bring.
Until the next issue,