Wednesday, 27 March 2019

C64 / 6502 IDE for Mac

This post seems to fit equally well here on the PM blog as it does on the separate blog for my hobby project. To avoid duplication I'll post it there and link to it from here.

https://newstuffforoldstuff.blogspot.com/2019/03/homebrew-game-for-c64-part-5-c64-6502.html


Version 9 of Integrity and Scrutiny underway

As with version 8, the next major release is likely to look very similar on the surface.

The biggest change will be more information of the 'warning' kind.

So far it's been easy to isolate or export 'bad links'. These tend to be a 4xx or 5xx server response codes, so you can already see at a glance what's wrong. You may have seen links marked with orange, which usually denotes a redirect. And you can easily filter those and export them if you want.
But there are many other warnings that Integrity and Scrutiny could report.

At this point, this won't mean a full validation of the html (that's another story) but there are certain things that the crawling engine encounters as it parses the page for links. One example is the presence of two canonical tags (it happens more often than you'd think). If they contain different urls, it's unclear what Google would do. There are a number of situations like this that the engine handles, and which the user might like to know about.

There are other types of problem, such as an old perennial; one or more "../" ('up a directory') at the start of a relative url which technically takes the url above the server's http root. (Some users take the line "if it works in my browser, then it's fine and your software is incorrectly reporting an error", and for that reason there's a preference to make the app as tolerant as browsers tend to be with these links.)

In short, there are various warnings that Integrity and Scrutiny could list. Version 9 will make use of the orange highlighting. There will be tabs within the link inspector so that it can display more information, and the warnings relating to that link (if any) will be one of these tabs.

Reporting / exporting is important to users. So there will be another main table (with export option) with the links results to display a list of each warning, by link / page.

This will be the main focus but there will be other features. Better re-checking is on the list. This is early days, so if there's anything else that you'd like to see, please do tell!

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Press release - Slight change of name and full launch for Website Watchman



Press release
Mon 25 Mar 2019


begins---------------

Watchman from PeacockMedia is now fully released and it's now called Website Watchman. The original name clashed with another project, but Website Watchman better sums up the app.

It'll be useful to anyone with a mac and a website. It does a very impressive trick. As it scans a website and checks all of the files that make up a page; html, js, css, images linked documents. It archives any changes. So the webarchive that it builds is four-dimensional. You can browse the pages, and then browse the versions of that page back through time. You view a 'living' version of the page, not just a snapshot.

As the name suggests, you can watch a single page, part of a website or a whole website, or even part of a page, using various filters including a regex, and be alerted to changes.

Thank you for your attention and any exposure that you can give Website Watchman.

https://peacockmedia.software/mac/watchman

ends---------------

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Hidden gems: Scrutiny's site search

Yes, you can use Google to search a particular site. But you can't search the entire source, or show pages which *don't* contain something. For example, you may want to search your website for pages that don't have your Google Analytics code.

Scrutiny's site search has just had some improvements and another option added (version 8.3.3) so it's a good time to show off this easily-overlooked feature.
The usual options that you've set up in your site config apply to the crawl: Blacklisting / whitelisting of pages, link and level limits and lots of other options, including authentication.

Here's where you enter your search term (or search terms - you can search for multiple terms at once, the results will have a column showing which term(s) were found on the page).

There's a 'reverse' button so that you can see pages that *don't* contain. Your search term can be a regular expression (Regex) if you want to match a pattern. You can search the source or the visible text.

Today this panel has gained a case sensitivity button. It's set to 'insensitive' by default because that was the behaviour before.

It's worth noting a couple of 'beware's here.

1. If you're searching the entire source, make sure that your search term matches the way it appears in the source. Today I was confused when I searched for a sentence on Integrity's french page; "Le v√©rificateur de liens pour vos sites internet". The accented character appears in the source correctly encoded as é (if you search the body text rather than source, any such entities will be 'unencoded' before checking.)

2. There's a global setting for what should be included / excluded from the visible text of a page. You may want to ignore the contents of navs and footers, for example. One of these options is 'only look at the contents of paragraph and heading tags'. If this is switched on, then quite a lot is excluded. Visible text may not be in <p> tags but a span or a div. Anything in an unordered list, for example, may not (perhaps should not) be within paragraph tags.

The search dialog above now has a friendly warning which informs you if you're searching body text and if you've got some of these exclusions switched on.

The download for Scrutiny is here and includes a free 30-day trial.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Raspberry Pi Zero W - baby steps

I don't know why I've waited so long to do this. I love messing around with home automation, and here's a fully-functional computer with wireless and 20-odd GPIO (input-ouput) pins.

I've also been meaning to begin using Linux (technically I already do, I use MacOS's Terminal a lot, and have set up and run a couple of Ubuntu servers with python and mysql). The Pi has a desktop, USBs for keyboard and mouse, HDMI output. This one has 1Ghz processor 256Mb of ram and for a HD, whatever free space is on the card that you put in. All of this on a board which is half the size of a credit card and costs less than a tenner (or less than a fiver for the non-wireless version).

When we finally invent time travel, or at least find a way to communicate across time (as per Gibson's The Peripheral which I heartily recommend)  my teenage self will be astounded by this information. I remember the day when I first heard the word 'megabyte'. It wasn't far off the day that I felt very powerful after plugging an 8k expansion into my computer.

Anyhow, back to the plot. What I've learned so far is that that the 'less than a tenner' Raspberry Pi Zero W is 'bare bones'. I've bought a few bits and pieces that have cost much more than the computer(!) including a header for the GPI pins, a breadboard & components kit, pre-loaded micro SD (effectively the HD and OS), mini HDMI to proper-size HDMI adaptor.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Website archiving - Watchman's commercial release

[NB since version 2.1.0, we have had to make a slight change to the name, its full title is now Website Watchman.]

It has been a (deliberately) long road but Watchman for Mac now has its first commercial release.
This product does such a cool job that I've long believed that it could be as important to us as Integrity and Scrutiny. So I've been afraid to rush things. Version zero was officially beta, and a useful time for discovering shortcomings and improving the functionality. Version one was free. Downloads were healthy and feedback slim, which I take as a good sign. Finally it's now released with a trial period and reasonable introductory price tag. Users of version one are welcome to continue to use it, but it obviously won't get updates.

So what does it do? In a few words. "Monitor and archive a website".

There are apps that monitor a url and alert you to changes. There are apps that scan an entire website and archive it.

Watchman can scan a single page, part of a website or a whole website. It can do this on schedule - hourly, daily, weekly, monthly. It can alert you to changes. It builds a web archive which you can view (using Watchman itself or the free 'WebArchive Viewer' which is included in the dmg). You can browse the urls that it has scanned, and for each, view how that page looked on a particular day.

We're not talking about screenshots but a 'living' copy of the page. Watchman looks for and archives changes in every file, html, css, js and other linked files such as pdfs.  You can obviously export that page as a screenshot or a collection of the files making up that page, as they stood on that date.

A 'must have' for every website owner?

Try Watchman for free / buy at the introductory price.

Friday, 8 March 2019

SID tune for C64 homebrew game - part 1

My enthusiasm for this project has surprised even me, and to avoid this blog filling up with my ramblings about making this 8-bit game, and to keep all of those posts in one suitable place, I've moved this post and the others to their own blog.

This post has moved to:

https://newstuffforoldstuff.blogspot.com/2019/03/homebrew-game-for-c64-part-1-sid-tune.html






Monday, 4 March 2019

Website archiving utility, version 2

Watchman for Mac is a utility that can scan a single page or a whole site on schedule, it'll archive the page(s) and alert the user to any changes in the code or visible text.

As it builds its archive it's possible to browse the historical versions of the pages, as they stood on particular dates. It displays a 'living' version of the historical pages, with javascript and stylesheets also archived.

We've just made a version 2 beta available. It features a 'non-UI' or headless mode, which means that it can remain in the background and not interrupt the user when a scheduled scan starts. Its windows can still be accessed from a status bar menu.

https://peacockmedia.software/mac/watchman/

Version 1 is still available. It's free and will remain free. The new beta is also available and free at present, but version 2 will eventually require a licence.