Add SSL to your personal website

Give yourself a gift this holiday season, and add SSL to your personal site. The web is going secure, and it's time to be part of the solution. This article details how I turned on SSL + custom domains, plus automated deploys, for my personal site for the cost of a domain (which I already had) and $5/year. Read on!

Turns out, it's easier (and more affordable!) than you think to add SSL to your website. But first, why bother? There are lots of reasons why you should care about adding SSL:

Search engines are preferring SSLNew web APIs (like service worker) mandate SSLUsers trust SSLBonus: SSL can help enable HTTP/2 on some servers Your setup will vary, so look for the easiest/shortest path to SSL for your particular site. Everyone has factors they want to optimize for. Here's what I was trying to optimize, as I looked for a solution.
I needed a solution that was:AffordableThe solution should be very, very affordable. Affordable, in this context, means "as close to free a…

Dynamically load package contents with Dart's new Resource class

tldr: In Dart 1.12, you can now dynamically load the contents of files/assets from package dependencies. The new Resource class is currently implemented in the VM, with dart2js support coming in a future release.


Dart applications are rarely just a collection of .dart files from a single developer. Real-world Dart apps often include numerous package dependencies, which contain additional Dart libraries as well as assets such as images, configuration files, template files, and more. It's always been possible to import third-party libraries with Dart's package: URI scheme, however prior to Dart 1.12 it was not possible to access non-Dart files via package: URIs.

For example, consider a tool such as stagehand, which generates new Dart projects such as web apps, server apps, pub packages, and more. The source of the new projects are stored as files and templates inside the stagehand package. Somehow, the stagehand tool needs to reference and load files from its packages.…

New Dart SDK helps eliminates symlinks

In which we retell the story of Dart and symlinks, investigate the new .packages file, and create a simpler world for Dart developers everywhere.

tldr: The Dart team is working towards a world where symlinks are no longer required because of the new .packages file.

Why a new solution for locating packages? In the long long ago, during the before times (aka 2011), Dart could only run monolithic scripts and apps. In those early days, Dart didn't have support for packages/shared libraries. Then came package: URIs, which opened the door for sharing code. However, the platform only had one way to resolve that package: URI: look inside a packages/ directory next to the file importing the library. (Later, a --package-root option was added for more flexibility.) Thus began Dart's reliance on symlinks as a way of creating the packages/ directories next to all locations containing Dart scripts or libraries. Those symlinks and the package: scheme helped ushered in a boom of third-party l…

Null-aware operators in Dart

Three new language features just landed in the latest dev channel build of the Dart! Collectively known as null-aware operators, these new features will help you reduce the code required to work with potentially null objects.

I'm excited for these new abilities, because typing less is always a good thing. Read on to learn more, and be sure to try these new features on Dart Pad.

?? Use ?? when you want to evaluate and return an expression IFF another expression resolves to null.

exp ?? otherExp
is similar to

((x) => x == null ? otherExp : x)(exp)
??= Use ??= when you want to assign a value to an object IFF that object is null. Otherwise, return the object.

obj ??= value
is similar to

((x) => x == null ? obj = value : x)(obj)
?. Use ?. when you want to call a method/getter on an object IFF that object is not null (otherwise, return null).

is similar to

((x) => x == null ? null : x.method())(obj)
You can chain ?. calls, for example:

Formatting Dart code before every git commit

Dart's dartfmt tool is a really neat utility to automatically format your code. Use the dartfmt tool in your workflow to ensure your code complies with the Dart style guide.

Of course, you don't want to manually run dartfmt. Instead, you want to automate it. Use git's pre-commit hook to ensure your code is formatted, before it is committed.

Add the following code to your .git/hooks/pre-commit script for your local repo, and make sure the script is executable.

DARTFMT_OUTPUT=`dartfmt -w . | grep Formatted`
if [ -n "$DARTFMT_OUTPUT" ]; then  echo $DARTFMT_OUTPUT  echo "Re-attempt commit."  exit 1else  echo "All Dart files formatted correctly. Yay!"  exit 0
If your code needs formatting, it will be formatted and written to disk. The commit will fail, so you have a chance to inspect the changes.
You can enforce formatting with your Continuous Integration system. Try these instructions to use dartfmt with Travis CI, and fail a build if a…

I ported a JavaScript app to Dart. Here's what I learned.

In which I port a snazzy little JavaScript audio web app to Dart, discover a bug, and high-five type annotations. Here's what I learned.

[As it says in the header of this blog, I'm a seasoned Dart developer. However, I certainly don't write Dart every day (I wish!). Don't interpret this post as "Hi, I'm new to Dart". Instead, interpret this post as "I'm applying what I've been documenting."]

This post analyzes two versions of the same app, both the original (JavaScript) version and the Dart version. The original version is a proxy for any small JavaScript app, there's nothing particularly special about the original version, which is why it made for a good example.

This post discusses the differences between the two implementations: file organization, dependencies and modules, shims, classes, type annotations, event handling, calling multiple methods, asynchronous programming, animation, and interop with JavaScript libraries. Finally, I …