An fortunate reality of GitHub and similar sites is that projects that are abandoned by the maintainer are often continued by someone else who forked the project. Unfortunately, the ease of forking also means that GitHub projects tend to have a lot of forks, with the popular projects having hundreds of them. Since GitHub has elected to not provide a way to filter or sort these forks, finding the most active fork can be rather harrowing.
In addition, a popular project’s dead repository tends to score higher in search results than replacement forks. For these particular situations a couple of very useful websites and browser add-ons have been developed. The Lovely Forks add-on by [Utkarsh Upadhyay] seeks to insert information on forks that are notable or newer than the repository one is looking at.
Meanwhile, the Active Forks project by [Samar Dhwoj Acharya] provides a sortable list of project forks when provided with a GitHub repository name. This helps enormously when trying to find the freshest forks in a whole list. This is similar to the Useful Forks project that provides a web-based interface in addition to a Chrome extension. Do note that these queries will count towards the GitHub API rate-limits, so you may need to add an access token.
It’s a shame that GitHub doesn’t offer such functionality by default, but thanks to these projects the times of clicking through a hundred forks to find the freshest one is at least over. For now.
Let’s say you’re working on an ESP32 project to send off to your grandma; something she can just plug in and it will start automatically monitoring her plant’s water levels. But you discover a critical flaw in the firmware and need to update it. Does she send it back? Do you walk her through dropping the update via the Arduino IDE OTA? The easiest way would be to plan and use something like esp_ghota, an OTA framework by [Justin Hammond].
OTA (Over-The-Air) updates are a fantastic feature of the ESP32, and we’ve covered libraries that make it easy. But compared to those earlier projects, esp_ghota takes a different approach. Rather than hosting a web server where someone can drop a binary, it looks at GitHub releases. [Justin] had to include a streaming JSON parser, as GitHub API responses tend to be beefy. The workflow is straightforward, push a new commit to your main branch on GitHub, and the action will trigger, building a few different versions. Your little plant watering reminder at your grandma’s will check every so often to see if a new version has been pushed and can update with rollback on littlefs, fatfs, and spiffs filesystems.
It’s an incredible project that we suspect will be very useful for many folks to update their projects. [Justin] even includes an example GitHub action and a sample ESP32 project.
Last time, I’ve shown you how to create a local Git repository around your PCB project. That alone provides you with local backups, helping you never lose the changes you make to your files, and always be able to review the history of your project as it developed.
However, an even more significant part of Git’s usefulness is the ability to upload our creations to one of the various online Git repository hosting services, and keep it up to date at all times with a single shell command. I’d like to show you how to upload your project to GitHub and GitLab, in particular!
Continue reading “Git Your PCBs Online” →
Depending on who you ask, there’s either 2 vulnerabilities at play in Follina, only one, or according to Microsoft a week ago, no security problem whatsoever. On the 27th of last month, a
.docx file was uploaded to VirusTotal, and most of the tools there thought it was perfectly normal. That didn’t seem right to [@nao_sec], who raised the alarm on Twitter. It seems this suspicious file originated somewhere in Belarus, and it uses a series of tricks to run a malicious PowerShell script.
Continue reading “This Week In Security: Follina, Open Redirect RCE, And Annoyware” →
You can’t do much development without running into Git, the version control management system. Part of that is because so much code lives on GitHub which uses Git, although you don’t need to know anything about that if all you want to do is download code. [Dr. Torq] has a good primer on using Git with the Arduino IDE, if you need to get your toes wet.
You might think if you develop by yourself you don’t need something like Git. However, using a version control system is a great convenience, especially if you use it correctly. There’s a bug out in the field? What version of the firmware? You can immediately get a copy of the source code at that point in time using Git. A feature is broken? It is very easy to see exactly what changed. So even if you don’t work in a team, there are advantages to having source code under control.
Continue reading “Arduino And Git: Two Views” →
Thermal receipt printers are finding their way into all sorts of projects that are well beyond the point-of-sale environment that they normally inhabit. And while we applaud all the creative and artistic uses hackers have found for these little gems, this GitHub physical ticket printer has to be the best use for one yet.
According to [Andrew Schmelyun], seeing a fast-food order pop up on a thermal printer was the inspiration for this build. Maintaining over one hundred GitHub repos as he does, it’s easy for the details of any one bug report or feature request to get lost in the swarm of sticky notes that [Andrew] previously used to keep track of his work. To make it happen, he teamed an Epson thermal printer up to a Raspberry Pi Zero W and worked out the details of sending data to the printer using PHP. Luckily, there’s a library for that — the beauty of GitHub.
With the “Hello, World!” bit out of the way, [Andrew] turned his attention to connecting to GitHub. He set up some webhooks on the GitHub side to send a POST request every time an issue is reported on one of his repos. The POSTs are sent via ngrok to a PHP web server running on the Pi, which formats the data and sends the text to the printer. There’s a short video in the tweet below.
Between the sound of the printer working and the actual dead-tree ticket, it’ll be hard for [Andrew] to miss issues now. We’ve seen thermal printers stuffed into cameras, used to send pictures to Grannie, and even watched them commit suicide slowly, but we say hats off to [Andrew] for his solid work ethic and a fun new way to put a receipt printer to use.
Continue reading “Get GitHub Tickets IRL With A Raspberry Pi And A Receipt Printer” →
In our “hardware development gets serious” news, we’ve recently learned about AllSpice, a startup building hardware development collaboration infrastructure for companies. Hardware developers are great at building hardware tools for themselves, but perhaps not always so when it comes to software, and AllSpice aims to fill that gap at the “hardware company” level. Nowadays, what commonly happens is that software development tools and integrations are repurposed for hardware needs, and the results aren’t always as stellar as they get in the software world. In other words, AllSpice is learning from the positive outcomes of software industry and building a platform that takes the best parts from these tools, aiming to get to similarly positive outcomes in areas where currently hardware team experiences are lacking.
What AllSpice is building seems to be an umbrella platform designed to augment, integrate and hook into a slew of different already-developed platforms like GitHub, GitLab, Jira (and some other ones), and add much-needed features that large-scale hardware developers can’t afford to maintain and develop themselves. “Design review by screenshot” isn’t unheard of in hardware circles, and likely a thing that everyone of us with hardware collaboration experience has partaken in. On a company scale, there’s a myriad of hardware-related problems like that to solve and polish over.
Continue reading “AllSpice Building A Hardware Development Ecosystem For Companies” →