Welcome to the blog!

It's basically a reverse chronological record of my bookmarks with the occasional release announcement. Not sure where to start? Here are some of my most active tags:

Nature Impact font poster
First font download of the year! Nature Impact by 177 Studio is a really cool display font filled with outdoorsy illustrations. Not sure what I'll use it for yet but I wanted to have it just in case. Free for personal use/demo purposes.

Download at FontSpace or buy at Creative Fabrica.

Troubleshooting Universal Links for Non-App Developers

Universal links are Apple's way of directing a link to an app (if installed) or website. Setting them up requires updates to both your app and website. On the app side, you'll need to add your site's domain to the associated domain entitlements while your website will need an Apple App Site Association file. If, like me, you've exclusively done web work, some of the documentation and tools may feel a little dense or unfamiliar. For example, Apple's technotes on Debugging Universal Links is a great resource but assumes some prerequisite app development knowledge. So, this is a guide for troubleshooting universal links designed specifically for people without that experience.

General Gotchas

  • Links will only open in app when tapped; they cannot be copied and pasted into the URL bar.
  • The link can't be rendered on the domain you added to the app's associated domains. So basically, if you want to open a link to https://yourdomain.com in app, the link shouldn't be on the page https://yourdomain.com/test-universal-links. As a workaround, I used Replit to publish quick pages to share on mobile. You can also paste links into your Notes app for personal testing.
  • Instead of pulling the apple-app-site-association file directly from your web server, Apple will serve it from their own CDN. I generally saw updates in about a day but your mileage may vary. If you want to check their cache, you should be able to hit https://app-site-association.cdn-apple.com/a/v1/yourdomain.com.
  • The Apple docs claim you can bypass the CDN by adding ?mode=developer to the app's associated domains. However, in my experience, backed up by a few users in the Developer Forums, including the param broke universal linking entirely. (It's very possible that I just missed a step so, if you know what I did wrong, please let me know in the comments.)

Tools

AASA Validator | Branch - This validator will run a few checks on your apple-app-site-association file but it's especially reassuring to know that the file contains valid JSON and includes the correct content-type header.

Potential Gotchas

  • The file Branch validates comes from your web server so it may not match what Apple has saved in its CDN.

swcutil - swcutil is a command line tool that comes built-in on a Mac. You can run swcutil -h to view a list of options but the ones I found most helpful were:

  • swcutil dl -d yourdomain.com - View the contents of an apple-app-site-association file from a specific domain.
  • swcutil verify -d yourdomain.com -j ./apple-app-site-association.json -u https://yourdomain.com/page - Verify that a URL matches a pattern in an apple-app-site-association file. This checks against a JSON file on your computer (see the second parameter) so make sure to download it and point to the correct location.

Potential Gotchas

  • This isn't swcutil specific but, if you're testing a link with a query parameter, make sure to escape the question mark or you'll get a zsh: no matches found error.

iPhone Developer - If you have the app installed on an iPhone, you should be able to use the Universal Links Diagnostics option in Settings > Developer. Enter a URL and the tool will check whether that page would open in an installed app. It also provides the app ID.

Potential Gotchas

  • To use the Developer tools, you'll need to enable Developer Mode on your iPhone and that's trickier than expected. The toggle switch should be under Settings > Privacy & Security but it doesn't appear by default. To see the switch, you'll need to connect your phone to your computer and either a) open a project in Xcode or b) use a program like iCareFone.

Hope these help save some time and frustration!

All the fonts I liked in 2023

The year has been over for two days so, before I close it out, here's a quick look back at all the fonts I recommended. The big question is, how close will I get to twelve?

Liquidie by Forberas

January - Liquidie by Forberas

Download at Font Space or buy at Creative Market.

Party Attack by NihStudio

February - Party Attack by NihStudio

Download at 1001 Fonts or buy at Creative Fabrica.

Ring Angle by Isolatype

April - Ring Angle by Isolatype

Download at Font Space or buy at Creative Fabrica.

Moodstone by Adante.Creative

April Part 2 - Moodstone by Adante.Creative

Download at Font Space or buy at Creative Market.

Blumebungabloem by GlyphStyle

May - Blumebungabloem by GlyphStyle

Download at Font Space or buy at Creative Market.

ZT Shago by Zelow Type

July - ZT Shago by Zelow Type

Download at dafont or buy at Creative Market.

Pearson by TypeFactory

September - Pearson by TypeFactory

Download at Font Space or buy at Creative Fabrica.

September Part 2 - Philipa by TypeFactory

Download at Font Space or buy at Creative Fabrica.

Starday by Lettersweet

October - Starday by Lettersweet

Download at Font Space or buy at Creative Fabrica.

Starday Font Poster
Did I claim to be taking a break from groovy, sixties inspired fonts? That was an obvious lie.

I'm breaking my word with Starday by Lettersweet. It's a fun, retro font and free for personal use.

Download at FontSpace or buy at Creative Fabrica.
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Pearson Font Poster
Philipa Font Poster
Recommending two fonts with a similar vibe by the same foundry. Why choose? Pearson and Philipa are two tall, bottom heavy fonts by TypeFactory. Free for personal use.

Download at Font Space (Pearson, Philipa) or buy at Creative Fabrica (Pearson, Philipa).

ZT Shago by Zelow Type is a pretty fun, unique font family. The regular version is available to download free for personal use although I'm most partial to the extra rounded bolder weights.

Download at dafont or buy at Creative Market.

Paper Hearts Font Updates

Updated Paper Hearts font poster

Ugh, I’d hoped to get this out way back in February and really lost my motivation after missing Valentine’s Day. I guess the day before the 4th of July will have to do.

The Paper Hearts font now has improved kerning and three new variations: outlined, color, and color outline. The color files are OpenType SVG and work in all browsers and programs that support that format. Get it here.

It also seems worth mentioning why these updates were taking so long and the lessons I learned. A while back, I switched to the Glyphs App but, after years of using much older software, I hadn’t explored a lot of its features. So I was trying to outline each heart shape manually and taking ages on every character while also not getting the consistent look I wanted. But it turns out there are easier ways! The tutorial How to make a monoline font goes over using the Offset Curve filter to apply an outline to an entire instance and the forum post Apply strokes to all glyphs explains how to use mekkablue scripts to add the same stroke settings across the board. I used the latter for this font and it saved so much time. 

Look out for even more outline options! Maybe I’ll do Horseshoes next.

Introducing La Jefa, a new handwritten font

La Jefa font poster

It’s a new font you can download! La Jefa is short, scrawl-y, and very loosely based on a card I received from a former boss (hence the name). 

Commercial licensing is $15 and includes additional language support and a webfont kit but you can try it out for free. If you have any issues with installation or notice anything odd, please let me know!