Simon Willison’s Weblog

8 items tagged “tommacwright”


Working with the web platform is dealing with history, with the accumulated matter of quirksmode and good-enough standards. In exchange for the ability to deliver instantly-updating software directly to customers with no middlemen and no installation, you have to absorb a great deal of nearly-useless information that’s entirely about dodging meaningless traps.

Tom MacWright # 4th March 2022, 4:11 pm

lon lat lon lat lon. Tom MacWright’s definitive guide to the (latitude, longitude) v.s. (longitude, latitude) debate. The answer is frustrating: both orders are used by significant software, so there’s no single answer that will satisfy everyone. I’ve recently been mostly convinced over to the longitude, latitude side mainly because that’s a better fit for the non-geospatial x, y pattern. # 10th February 2022, 4:32 pm

GitHub Burndown (via) Neat Observable notebook by Tom MacWright—give it a GitHub access token and the name of a repo and it pulls the details of every issue and plots a burndown chart over time, showing how long issues stay open for. The code is worth spending some time with—the way it fetches data from the paginated JSON API is a really great example of using generators with Observable, and the chart itself is a lovely clear example of Observable Plot. # 10th February 2022, 4:29 pm


Serving map tiles from SQLite with MBTiles and datasette-tiles

Working on datasette-leaflet last week re-kindled my interest in using Datasette as a GIS (Geographic Information System) platform. SQLite already has strong GIS functionality in the form of SpatiaLite and datasette-cluster-map is currently the most downloaded plugin. Most importantly, maps are fun!

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And for what? Again—there is a swath of use cases which would be hard without React and which aren’t complicated enough to push beyond React’s limits. But there are also a lot of problems for which I can’t see any concrete benefit to using React. Those are things like blogs, shopping-cart-websites, mostly-CRUD-and-forms-websites. For these things, all of the fancy optimizations are optimizations to get you closer to the performance you would’ve gotten if you just hadn’t used so much technology.

Tom MacWright # 11th May 2020, 12:03 am

Things I learned about shapefiles building shapefile-to-sqlite

The latest in my series of x-to-sqlite tools is shapefile-to-sqlite. I learned a whole bunch of things about the ESRI shapefile format while building it.

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togeojson (via) Handy JavaScript library and command-mine tool for converting KML and GPX to GeoJSON, by Tom MacWright # 18th January 2019, 11:50 pm


Observable Beta (via) Observable just released their beta, and it’s quite something. It’s by Mike Bostock (d3), Jeremy Ashkenas (Backbone, CoffeeScript) and Tom MacWright (Mapbox Studio). The easiest way to describe it is Jupyter notebooks for JavaScript supporting reactive programming—so code is evaluated as you type and you can add interactive widgets (like sliders and canvas views) to construct explorable visualizations on the fly. # 31st January 2018, 4:46 pm