adamjames dot github dot io "Still a better TLD than .blog"

Setting up OS X Yosemite for web development with Apache & Dnsmasq

I had a couple of issues getting this properly configured, so I thought I'd note down what worked for me. Credit for the content in this post mostly goes to Chris Mallinson and Thomas Sutton.

EDIT: I have changed the TLD used below from .dev to .localhost after receiving (rightfully) a recommendation from a friend to avoid real TLD's; I suggest anyone else does the same. Thanks Ben! For more background, take a look at Don't use .dev for development by Danny Wahl.

You'll need to download and install XCode and launch it at least once. Accept the licence agreement.

# Install homebrew
ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
# Update your homebrew installation
brew up
# Install dnsmasq
brew install dnsmasq
# Copy the default configuration file.
cp $(brew list dnsmasq | grep /dnsmasq.conf.example$) /usr/local/etc/dnsmasq.conf
# Copy the daemon configuration file into place.
sudo cp $(brew list dnsmasq | grep /homebrew.mxcl.dnsmasq.plist$) /Library/LaunchDaemons/
# Start Dnsmasq automatically.
sudo launchctl load /Library/LaunchDaemons/homebrew.mxcl.dnsmasq.plist

Now, edit /usr/local/etc/dnsmasq.conf to tell dnqmasq to answer any request for a .localhost domain with localhost:

# Add domains which you want to force to an IP address here.
# The example below send any host in to a local
# web-server.

Restart dnsmasq to ensure it picks up the changes, then request a .localhost domain with dig to check you get the answer you want:

sudo launchctl stop homebrew.mxcl.dnsmasq
sudo launchctl start homebrew.mxcl.dnsmasq
dig test.localhost @

; <<>> DiG 9.8.3-P1 <<>> test.localhost @
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 23555
;; flags: qr aa rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;test.localhost.            IN  A

test.localhost.     0   IN  A

;; Query time: 0 msec
;; WHEN: Wed Apr 15 23:59:41 2015
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 42

Now we need to configure OS X to use the local dnsmasq server. Create a file for each TLD you want to use under /etc/resolver as follows:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/resolver
sudo touch /etc/resolver/localhost
sudo nano /etc/resolver/localhost

Enter nameserver then save/close the file. This tells OS X to use as the nameserver for all domains under that TLD, instead of searching the public servers for it. Now test that it works:

# Make sure DNS still works.
ping -c 1
# Check that .localhost names work
ping -c 1
ping -c 1 iam.the.walrus.localhost

Now we need to configure Apache to serve up domains we want to use for development. The instructions below are for OS X 10.7 onwards. Start apache and check that it works with sudo apachectl start. If you don't get any errors, browse to localhost. You should see an "It works!" screen.

Open /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf and continue.

  1. Activate mod_vhost_alias around line 160: #LoadModule vhost_alias_module libexec/apache2/
  2. On or around line 169, uncomment #LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/ if you want to use PHP.
  3. Comment out (using #) or reconfigure the following section around line 220 to allow apache access to the filesystem folder you want to store sites in:
<Directory />
    AllowOverride none
    Require all denied

And finally...

  1. Around line 500, enable vhosts: #Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf.
  2. Open \private\etc\apache2\extra\httpd-vhosts.conf and enter the following, replacing /Users/adam/Sites with your desired root folder:
<Directory "/Users/adam/Sites">
  Options Indexes MultiViews FollowSymLinks
  AllowOverride All
  Order allow,deny
  Allow from all

# You might be able to remove wwwroot for .../Sites/<sitename>.

<Virtualhost *:80>
  VirtualDocumentRoot "/Users/adam/Sites/%1/wwwroot"
  ServerName sites.localhost
  ServerAlias *.localhost
  UseCanonicalName Off

Now you should be able to visit yoursite.localhost in a browser, with the files stored in e.g. /Users/adam/Sites/yoursite/wwwroot.

LinkedIn Recruiters and JPEG Scaling

Recruiters apparently know online personal branding better than anyone. I wonder if LinkedIn displays any sort of message beyond "We recommend images no smaller than ..." when you pick the header background? Maybe this sort of thing should be more clearly flagged up.

Fixing WeeChat's JOIN/PART notifications

WeeChat is a brilliant console-based IRC client. It's like a more modern irssi, configured with a nice interface and some great features "out of the box". It's also pretty configurable:

One pet niggle of mine has always been WeeChat's handling of JOIN/PART messages. If you're in a large/busy channel, it can be distracting to constantly see JOIN/PART messages from users who are not actively talking - but switching them off entirely removes some useful conversational context.

I was planning on writing a plugin to fix this, but thankfully I found a satisfactory solution to the problem already existed, which will selectively filter JOIN/PART notifications. To enable it, use following commands:

/set irc.look.smart_filter on

/filter add irc_smart * irc_smart_filter *

Adjust the filter delay with /set irc.look.smart_filter_delay n, where n is an integer. For example, /set irc.look.smart_filter_delay 5. JOIN/PART notifications will be shown for users that spoke within the past n minutes.

I fixed it, then broke it. Then fixed it again.

There were some issues with the markup which broke site CSS and links in various cases. These should now be corrected. Reading the Jekyll documentation before updating things helps too.