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Create Custom Shortcodes To Embed Content In Hugo Posts And Pages

I’ve mentioned this numerous times before, but The Polyglot Developer is powered by Hugo which is a static site generator that takes Markdown and converts it to HTML. While Markdown is easy to use and can accomplish quite a bit, the syntax doesn’t accomplish everything that you’d hope to accomplish when it comes to a website. For example audio and video aren’t a thing in Markdown while it is in HTML. So how do you add custom components to a Hugo article?

In Hugo, you can create what is called a shortcode, which is a custom tag that gets processed differently than standard Markdown syntax. We’re going to see how to create shortcodes to take Hugo posts and pages to the next level.

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Build An Alexa Skill With Golang And AWS Lambda

It has been a few years since I last worked on and published an application, otherwise known as a Skill, for Alexa powered voice assistants. My last Skill titled, BART Control, was built out of necessity because of my commuting on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. While I didn’t open source it, I had created the Skill with Node.js and a publicly available BART web service. Since then I had written a tutorial titled, Create an Amazon Alexa Skill Using Node.js and AWS Lambda, which also focused on Node.js.

I’m a huge fan of Golang and was pleased to see that AWS Lambda recently started to officially support it. AWS Lambda isn’t a requirement to creating Alexa Skills, but it is a huge convenience. To make things even better, Amazon recently sent me an invitation to take part in their developer offer to receive an Amazon Echo Show for publishing another Skill. The offer and Golang inspired me to develop another Skill and this time I wanted to share my process.

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Serving Gzipped JavaScript Files From Amazon S3

If you’re using Amazon S3 for a CDN, it’s possible to serve compressed, gzipped files from an Amazon S3 bucket, though there are a few extra steps beyond the standard process of serving compressed files from your own web server.

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Create An Amazon Alexa Skill Using Node.js And AWS Lambda

Recently I published my first skill for Amazon’s Alexa voice service called, BART Control. This skill used a variety of technologies and public APIs to become useful. In specific, I developed the skill with Node.js and the AWS Lambda service. However, what I mentioned is only a high level of what was done to make the Amazon Alexa skill possible. What must be done to get a functional skill that works on Amazon Alexa powered devices?

We’re going to see how to create a simple Amazon Alexa skill using Node.js and Lambda that works on various Alexa powered devices such as the Amazon Echo.

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BART Control Skill For Amazon’s Alexa Released

I am pleased to announce that my first ever skill for Amazon Alexa powered devices has gone live in the Amazon Skill Marketplace. My skill, BART Control, accesses live information about the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in northern California.

If you’re unfamiliar with Amazon Alexa, it can be described as follows per Amazon:

Alexa, the voice service that powers Echo, provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice. Examples of these skills include the ability to play music, answer general questions, set an alarm or timer and more. Alexa is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more customers use Alexa, the more she adapts to speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.

I personally own an Amazon Echo, but there is a wide variety of hardware that is compatible with Amazon’s voice service.

Now let me share some specifics about the skill that I developed and what I used to develop it.

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Install A Better Custom ROM On The Amazon Kindle Fire

As some of you may know, I travel a lot. I am always on a plane without internet and not much to do. Up until now I’ve been using my iPad for watching the few movies I purchased from Google Play because Google Play lets you watch offline. The problem with this is my iPad doesn’t have a lot of storage space and can’t keep me entertained on a six or more hour flight. I heard Amazon Prime members can download movies for free and I saw that Amazon Kindle Fire tablets were only $40.00 with an expandable SD card slot.

I purchased one of these $40.00 tablets and a large micro SD card with the intention of downloading a bunch of movies as part of my Prime subscription. The problem is that my Prime subscription was part of a household account, which has fine print that says I can only stream, not download. This rendered the Kindle Fire tablet rather useless to me.

This lead me down the path of wanting to root the tablet and install a custom ROM to it. These are the things I did to turn my $40.00 disappointing Kindle Fire tablet into something comparable to the $200.00 tablets in circulation.

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Using The Onymos Media Component In Your Ionic Framework App

A few years back I demonstrated how to use the device camera in an Android and iOS application developed with Ionic Framework. Being able to take photos wasn’t particularly difficult, but it left a lot to be desired. This is where the Media component by Onymos comes into play.

So what is the Onymos Media component?

The Onymos Media component extends the media features offered by the Apache Cordova camera plugin. It will correct common orientation issues for photos and videos captured from the various platforms and devices, it allows access to the various internal directories on Android, and it offers advanced compression features. The component also offers tight integration with Amazon S3 for storing media online.

Per the Onymos website, the Media component reduces the time it takes to get an application released to the market and in turn saves in development costs. Paired with the component’s continuous updates, your application will always be functional.

We’re going to see how to take pictures within our application using the Onymos Media component and upload them to Amazon S3 with ease. Everything you see below can easily be expanded to videos as the Onymos Media component can accomplish the same tasks with video as well.

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