Recently we’ve been exploring the ability to extend the base State<T> class, to add additional capabilities to our views, or writing our own custom Mixins to do the same.
Most Developers are familiar with using the various framework Mixins, like TickerProviderStateMixin but what is not commonly known, is how easy it is to create your own flavors of these. Additionally, many developers extend State<T> constantly, and write very repetitive boilerplate code, without realizing how easy it is to create their own BaseState<T> instead.
In this example, we’ll make a “base state” that provides 3 AnimatorControllers to any widget that needs to animate something. We could then apply this to any Widget in our application, and it automatically get 3 animators to play with. No setup, or teardown required.
The site we made for the 2019 CAMP Festival for creatives recently won an Applied Arts award for Community Promotional Design! To celebrate, we looked back at some of the assets that went into the site experience.
I’m very excited about the v1.0 release of the “XD to Flutter” plugin for Adobe XD. While the prerelease versions were interesting, and occasionally handy for grabbing a style or shape, the addition of responsive layout support in 1.0 makes it a genuinely useful tool for creating beautifully designed widgets and even simple views.
Now that the first production release is available, I thought I’d write up a short blog post that introduces the plugin, and helps you get started using it.
If you’d prefer not to read, you can check out this Adobe Creative Cloud video on LinkedIn that features Will Larche from Google describing what Flutter is, and me (@~17:00) talking about the XD to Flutter plugin.
I saw some Blender Grease Pencil animations by Dedouze and got inspired by what the tool seemed to offer. The Grease Pencil tool is like a typical drawing tool made for Blender. It allows you to draw in 3D space as well as make and play animations in real-time. Pretty neat right? The closest thing I can compare it to is one of those 3D pens that lets you “draw” in a 3D space.
Recently I saw this video explaining all 80+ Blender material nodes on my YouTube homepage. Naturally, I watched the video and one of the nodes, in particular, caught my attention: the Shader to RGB Node.
Yes, I’m very lazy and proud of it. Most programmers out there will understand that. We’re among the laziest people you’ll ever meet. We’ll work hard and create a vast array of tools and scripts to aid us in tasks that we consider boring or repetitive, all so we don’t need to do extra work. Many of the repos at gskinner have a utils folder that’s full of scripts that serve one specific purpose. That’s a good thing. In daily programming, there are always repetitive tasks that crop up. Some are easy, some are just boring and time-consuming. Here are a few tips to help you also be lazy and save those precious seconds during your day.
When Should you Create Tools?
Is there a group of tasks that’s repetitive? Ex: everyday are you running the same X commands? Make a script to wrap them.
Is there a boring, but labor-intensive task that comes up every few weeks or months? Make a script for that. A good way to know when you should create a script for these tasks is, are you always having to remember those nit-picky details about how to do it? Or are there weird edge cases you know will be forgotten? A quick script will help isolate those dependencies for next time.
Is it a task that’s large and time-consuming? Examples could be data extraction or converting a folder full of files. Make a script for that. Sometimes if you know that one task will take you a few days (or more) to complete. Then, by all means, spend a few hours or even a day or 2 making that script that will save you time in the long run.
A “tool” doesn’t need to be a script. It could be a small, throwaway, RegExp expression. I don’t know how many times the “List” feature on https://regexr.com/ has saved me from hours of tedious data conversion tasks.
Focus on Functionality
These tools don’t need to be perfect. They don’t need to be used by other projects or other people. Sure, if you make something that’s useful, then, by all means, consider making it more portable. But don’t waste time upfront with that extra work. It’s very tempting to over-architect your tool, but it may only be a script that’s only ever used in your project, or potentiality only runs once or twice. Your initial focus should be making it functional and don’t worry so much about error handling. Don’t worry about making the UI or cli interface perfect. Don’t worry about making the code clean. Do what’s fast, do what’s gonna get you to that point of running the script, so you can move past your boring task. You can always tweak or polish your script in the future. Or someone on your team will.