19th week of 2021

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Linting Markdown using ESLint, avoidable words in educational writing, commenting Bash commands, GPT-3-powered cover letters.

Table of contents

👨‍💼 Work

Excellent work week because Thursday was a paid holiday (Ascension Day) and I also had a day off on Friday. The shorter, the better, eh? 😁

👨‍🚀 Personal

My goal for this week was to publish a blog post after a 3-month hiatus. And I did it! 🥳 I published 4 + 1 wrapping styles for Markdown prose and code comments.

Publishing blog posts is hard, mainly because I spend so much time working on them. I'd like to publish more regularly, but I don't know yet what schedule would work best: a blog post every 2, 3 or 4 weeks, for example. I'll have to think about it.

My goal for the next week is an easy one: publish a new cookbook recipe[1] (to break a 2-month hiatus 🙈).

👨‍🎓 Learnings

Markdown: Lint and fix Markdown files using ESLint

TL;DR: Use eslint-plugin-md to lint Markdown files.

This week I stumbled upon a blog post about Prettier 2.3 on the Prettier blog. (Wow, so many nice changes!) From the Reddit discussion I found Sergio Cinos's blog post series ESLint all the things!

In Part II: ESLint for Markdown, Sergio shows how you can install and configure eslint-plugin-md to lint Markdown files using ESLint.

I didn't know that you can use ESLint to lint non-JavaScript files. Quite handy!

The ESLint plugin uses remark-lint, a linter plugin for remark, a Markdown parser/processor. Prettier in turn uses remark, as mentioned in the Prettier blog post, so now we have come a full circle.

🕵️‍♂️ Cool stuff

Words to avoid in educational writing

I went through Chris Coyier's 10-word list of Words To Avoid in Educational Writing and removed or replaced the following words from my website:

  • "just" × 4
  • "So, ..." × 2
  • "easy" × 1
  • "of cource" × 1

When writing educational content, like technical blog posts, I usually have to study and ponder the topics in great detail in order to be able to write clearly. Because of this, there's a risk of starting to think that the things are simple and obvious. "Just do x and you're done. Easy!" But content like that is not helpful.

Bash: Commenting commands to find them later more easily

climagic's video Using comments in the interactive shell has a nice trick: append a comment to a command, and it will be easier to find later. Example from the video:

curl  # Fred's distribution of Linux

Later you can press Ctrl + R and search for "Fred" to find the command.

GPT-3-powered cover letters

A cool project I found on the /r/webdev subreddit: Don't waste your time writing cover letters...

The video post demonstrates a tool which asks for:

  • your name
  • the job title you are applying for
  • applicable skills
  • your soft skills

...and then the tool uses GPT-3 to generate a cover letter for you.

Seems useful! I'm quite sure the results need some tweaking before they are ready to be submitted. But the most valuable things that the tool can give you are anyway the general structure to get you started and new ideas.

The tool is still a work in progress. If you need something like that now, google for "gpt-3 cover letter." There seems to be other similar projects that might already be available for use.

Update on Jun 20, 2021: The app is available under the name Open Cover Letter. I haven't tried it, so I can't endorse it.


  1. I no longer have a cookbook section on this website: Goodbye Cookbook, hello more blog posts.

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