Vincent Ritter

Writing

All my past blog posts for your viewing pleasure.

My Stack

Something I always enjoyed reading was about the different set ups everyone is using day to day for their development needs. That includes their code editor of choice to the way they set up their servers, to their use of task managers.

The point of this post is to get into details of how I run my server infrastructure for my own things and a select few clients. I’ll also include the things I do to monitor and keep it all up. Not to mention critical response if something would go wrong.

This set up works for me, and only me. Your milage will vary and I urge you to seriously research best options for you.

It’s probably best I segment this out a little so that, in the end, you’ll have an overall picture of what is keeping everything going.

Servers

Let’s start with the most important, servers.

All my servers are hosted with Linode [referral link, non-referral link]. I tried Digital Ocean many years ago but eventually moved to Linode. I have this thing in my head where I think “Well, EVERYONE is talking about [insert cool new service/startup]… so let me try something different”. Probably not the best way to go about choosing a service.

Linode is and has been great. Their performance of their machines are way more consistent than Digital Ocean’s have been (when I used them). Sure, Digital Ocean were cheaper but that isn’t always better. Linode’s support is flawless and they really do help if there are problems, even when their system is having problems - their online management portal straight away lets you know with an automatic ticket. I don’t have to call them and ask “Do you have a problem?”.

I have 6 various Linode’s running. They all have their own tasks/functions (in general).

My main server, this one the site is hosted on, hosts around 7 sites including one client site and Simple Schedule. These talk to another server, which is a dedicated database server.

There are three dedicated instances for two clients. These are more powerful instances all designed to host one or two sites, each, well. They usually handle massive amount of traffic to them. One site generating up to 1 million views a month. By keeping them separate I can be at ease knowing that the engine runs smoothly without affecting other clients.

There is one more server that basically runs as an IKEv2 VPN server. I don’t use it much, but useful when I’m out and about with my phone and I want to connect to a VPN. I did, initially, have a OpenVPN instance installed on the database server. That turned out to be a bad move. On top, OpenVPN never really played nice with out of the box integration on both macOS and iOS.

The VPN server is also used to log into my servers, like SSH and SFTP. If you’re wondering, yes, I have SSH keys set up for each device.

Recently I decided to host static sites (around 10), that are based on Jekyll [link], on Netlify [link]. I’m really happy with it. So happy that I’ll be hosting the UI for Sublime Feed there, with the data layer back on Linode. It really removes any special set up or tweaking that I would otherwise have to do.

So that pretty much covers servers. I don’t use load balancers, yet, because I had no need so far.

Server management & backups & logging

All the servers are set up using the Laravel Forge [link] service. I really like the visual aspect of it and it works for me. On top, it allows me to quickly deploy a server with great defaults without much thought or headache. I don’t have to dabble around with config files or anything like that (except where I need to). It does a great job! Even for a Ruby based app, it works pretty well after some additional configuration.

Forge is optimised for Laravel apps. I wish something like this would exist for Ruby on Rails apps. Heroku doesn’t fall into that category as they run the servers… and I prefer to host myself.

Every server backs up daily via Linode’s built in backup service. You pay a small fee for a full snapshot of your server. Great if I had to restore the whole machine.

Each website backs up at different intervals, independent of the server, depending on the client/site. Each site’s user generated content, if not hosted via AWS S3 [link] with a CDN, backs up either hourly or nightly. Databases are also backed up at different intervals, usually nightly or hourly.

Backups, for now, are kept on AWS S3. I’d like to move this functionality to Backblaze B2 [link] - but am not ready to do that yet. I can grab anything from these backups when I need them via Transmit [link].

I keep backups, for any client, for a minimum of 6 months. So if they were to make a mistake now, they’ll probably notice next month that something is missing. If there were only the past few days of backups that would be hard to recover.

Each site repo has it’s own ‘backup’ folder that includes shell scripts that I then run as cron jobs depending on the needs of client/project. Or I just set my own defaults. In general, every site backs up to its own folder on S3, separated out by ‘assets’ and ‘db’. I don’t backup code files that are already in the repo.

For server logging I use Papertrail [link]. Until a few years ago I didn’t do any logging… Papertrail makes it painless and allows me to search through everything that goes on with the servers. If I wanted I can also have website errors be written out on the logs (which I do for some). Papertrail has saved my skin a few times, allowing me to react to a client query. Their UI is easy, their set up is easy. Highly recommended.

Uptime monitoring

With clients comes responsibility. Being independent I don’t have a massive budget for expensive uptime monitoring and I was looking for something besides Pingdom.

I came across updown.io [referral link, normal link]. It’s run by an independent developer, doesn’t cost the world and it’s really awesome! I’m happy I found it and I never had any problems with it. Support is also great!

Updown.io serves several purposes for me. It checks site uptime, checks SSL expiration (amongst others) and is really great at alerting me when something goes wrong. On top, it allows for public status pages which is really helpful. I usually send these to clients too (not that they use them). You can see mine here [http://status.vincentritter.com].

If there is a problem I usually get a Slack notification to my phone and watch. It is the only reason I have Slack installed on my phone, because it works really well. I have the option of an SMS message to my phone too; I don’t use it though. It also sends out an email, to whomever needs to be notified. It’s really flexible.

DNS

This one is important, because without it, nothing would actually work. Years ago I was a huge fan of CloudFlare… I had everything there. However I stumbled upon DNSimple [referral link, normal link] and started moving a select few domains over there. It was and is great!

Cloudflare was good, but I couldn’t shake this “MASSIVE CORPORATION” feeling. I prefer the little guys, that are growing, that are personal about their service. Whilst Cloudflare is free, DNSimple really blew me away.

It’s hard to explain, I really like them as a company. All their support staff are super nice. They all work remotely. Their site is simple to use. Their service is really ace and I never had any problems with it. They are there when something happens to their service and don’t hide.

Yes, you pay for the service, but to be honest… it’s worth every penny. As I said, free isn’t always the best.

I recently started moving my domains away from Gandi to DNSimple and hope to add more over the course of the year.

Just yesterday I was taking care of a site migration, including pointing a top level domain to a new server. DNSimple always amazes me on how quickly changes propagate. Something I found that Gandi, Linode or Cloudflare are usually slow to do. Even adding new records like A or TXT show up pretty much instantly - which other services see quickly too without waiting hours (for example validating MX settings or TXT validations).

Bringing it all together

With everything above, I make sure stuff stays up (where possible). I can rely on all these services and am happy to give them my money. It’s worth every penny.

If something went terribly wrong, I could spin up another server, transfer the IP address and be back up and running within minutes.

I run a tight ship for all sites irrespective of size or traffic, that’s how I would do it for myself and don’t skimp to find the cheapest solutions.

Let’s see where I’m at in the next few months with setting up Sublime Feed, with a multi server setup. Sure will be exciting.

If you found this article useful please feel free to use my referral links, which will support me and the awesome services.

My 2018 WWDC Wishlist

If you’re following the Apple universe, you’ll know that the Word Wide Developer Conference is happening next week! So I thought I’ll write about things I’d like to see them announce. Of course there are rumours, but let’s not get into detail here. There are also a few points that don’t really fit into the “dev” perspective. Anyway here we go, in no particular order:

Xcode Lite

This came to me during the weekend, however I’d like to see Apple come up with a lightweight version of Xcode, or let’s say a Text Editor, something like Visual Studio Code, Atom or Sublime Text.

I’m not expecting a cross platform app (Windows), but I do want to see this live both on macOS and iOS. Something to get you coding quickly on any Apple device. Hopefully, but probably not, based on ‘Marzipan’. We’ll see.

As Apple are mainly focusing on App development, it doesn’t necessarily have to support web dev - although that would be super nice! Which brings me to my next bit.

Better support for Swift on the Server

I really like Swift! When it came out I was all over it. Seeing it expand to the Server side of things really floats my boat. I’ve played around with it, however the tools really don’t exist to make this easy. Xcode doesn’t really allow web development, which is fair enough.

It would be great to see better Swift on the Server support in Xcode or a new editor to take the throne here. It’s got real potential and I want to see it grow!

Live App tiles

To quote myself:

Would be nice to see more 'live' app icon tiles in iOS 12. For example the Activity app could have active activity rings on the home screen. Would be cool.

iCloud for Business

Would be super nice to see custom domains being used with an iCloud account. Something like Google Apps offers, but Apple-y.

Updated MacBook Pro’s

It would be great to see a spec bump, at least, to their MacBook Pros. To be honest, I’m in the market for one so would like to see something here - not a big deal. My Mac mini is great and does the job (yup!), however it’s not very portable - a situation I find myself in often (being away).

Better iTunes Connect iOS App

This is on the wish list… I like their online portal, however their iOS App… lacks hugely. A nice update to bring it up to scratch to a level like AppFigures or something will be super welcome. I have the app uninstalled as it was really bad, often not working or failing to do anything.

Disconnect major apps from iOS release cycles

I’d love to see Apple disconnect major development on Apps like Music. We all know they can do it, just look how awesome Clips is.

It will bring faster release cycles to keep up with the likes of Spotify. However, I do appreciate the deliberate slow approach Apple takes. At the end of the day their apps, for iOS, are certainly way better than most apps put in the store (comparing Spotify and Apple Music).

Be good to see faster release cycles though, to do something awesome and generally improve the experience without having to wait. I’m unsure how they do it with Android at the moment, suspect it’s just as slow.

Why wait for the whole OS to update before shipping? Sure, keep the UI similar - to keep within the current OS guidelines. A few nice updates throughout the year would really work well.

Some apps that could benefit from this:

  • Apple Music
  • Photos
  • TV
  • Books
  • Podcasts
  • Notes
  • Maps

I do appreciate they are one big machine, so having everyone focus on one end goal to ship is probably better.

Other notes

Last years WWDC was full of amazement. Blown away during every step. It’ll be hard for them to do it this year again… in a way I think they will do though!

For this year, I will actually be travelling on the day… so after many years… I might miss it. However, I am planning to arrive in time for the keynote - so let’s see.

My next code challenge. The idea, the plan, sharing and needing guidance.

It’s been a few months since I shipped Simple Schedule, part of my first ever code challenge. It’s been an eye opener for sure and am happy where it got me. Whilst it hasn’t gained much traction, I am pretty OK with it. A lot of effort went into it, during a difficult part in my life. True, it’s still in beta and yeah… there are still a few items I want to change and add.

Now, I want to attempt something new. Something out of my comfort zone, using a new framework - in a language I have never really coded in. With multiple apps to throw into the mix.

Looking at my registrar I registered a domain name in summer of last year… with a simple ‘directory’ of things being hosted - just to try out a prototype iOS app that I fully designed in Sketch. With the iOS app and part web app serving as a directory I got to work with shipping something for September of last year. As everything in life, I was confronted with other things. So it never saw the light of day. Nor did I progress further except getting a design into Xcode and getting the views hooked up. With that, I also got one of the feeds (spoiler) to work. But that’s as far as I got.

Didn’t want to keep you in suspense too long, so let’s get right to it.

The idea

Last year I sat down and looked at feed readers and the state of online feed sync services (talking about RSS btw). They’re all pretty great and I tried a lot of readers out there. The only feed sync service I ended up using was FeedWrangler. I liked the simplicity of it all and it was well supported with readers. True enough, there are a lot out there that do the same thing.

With that being said, I think there is room for one more. I call it Sublime Feed. Initially called Just Feed last year, I have grown rather fond of the word ‘sublime’.

So, whilst I don’t want to go into too much detail just yet - for this post - I do want to offer a clue, or let’s say a high level overview, of what I actually want to achieve with Sublime Feed:

  1. A modern feed reading web app.
  2. A full feed syncing service.
  3. A full native iOS app.
  4. A React Native App for… Android. (More on that later). Which compiles down to native anyway.
  5. An easy to use API so it can be used with any third party app that would like to.
  6. Fully support JSON Feed and then fully support RSS.
  7. A gateway to interact with the Micro.blog community both via web and native apps.
  8. A public discovery section to discover interesting, popular and categorised feeds.

There are many more things I want to put here like accessibility, multi-language support, privacy and portability of data - however I think that will go into too much detail at the moment.

The plan

There is always a plan… plans are plans and are subject to change. So right off the bat, I won’t get annoyed when things don’t work out as I want them to. I may even cut features to get to Alpha. Oh, spoiler right there. Whoops.

Erm… plans… right.

With that said, I expect a few things to change along the way and I don’t want to overpromise too much. However, I set this as a guideline to the end goal of the “code challenge” part. Not everything will be there straight away and some things will take longer than others to get there.

This certainly won’t be a 3 month challenge… To be honest, I’m not even sure if I should call it a code challenge. At the same time though… it is. I have never attempted something this challenging for a long period of time. I usually concentrated on one thing at a time. One app, one website, you name it. This is more than that.

The truth is, I like to start with getting a design in place and working with that to define the app and features I want to have. This worked well for Simple Schedule. True, this is not for everyone and may not work for you… it does for me. It floats my boat.

Here is the plan, for the plan, to plan the first plan, of the planned web application (that probably didn’t make sense):

  1. A fully designed and static web application front end.

Here was me thinking there will be a huge list. Sure… it’s one point… however it’s actually a massive undertaking. Hey, anyone can code HTML and CSS… right?

For the nerdy type, I’d like to build the project (the frontend) out with the following frameworks/technologies:

  1. Frontend, including marketing and discovery section, to be built on ReactJS.
  2. The backend and API to be written in PHP (shocking, I know) using the Laravel framework.

I would like to say that the website is phase one. With the web app built I’m hoping it will give me clues of what I should and shouldn’t include in the iOS and Android app. A side effect of using React JS is that the web application will be a progressive web app. That's pretty neat!

Whilst not set in stone, I want to really tie myself up and say that I will release both the Android and iOS App at the same time. However, the web app will, for sure, be first.

The Android app, together with the iOS release, has been fuelled by seeing a lot of these service and/or apps not catering for either at the same time. Sure, a few offer alternatives. In fact, I’ll be investing in an Android device to develop on it… and not use emulators of that sort. You can’t beat a real device.

Everybody reads. They shouldn’t be limited to what device they use.

And yes, I agree that you should work on what you know and feel comfortable with. But that’s not the point of a challenge.

I’ll be writing everything down in more detailed posts along the way.

Let’s call this the plan for the frontend part - Stage 1.

Sharing

As with my last project, I’ll be working publicly where I can. This time around I won’t have a newsletter “beta” sign up form at all. So readers of the blog and myself can keep an eye on it and then eventually sign up to it.

There will be many, however not that frequent, blog posts as I go. I also want to attempt a few short podcasts, however that remains to be seen.

I may rename "Code Challenge" to Development Diaries or something similar. Inspired by Brent Simmons.

I need your help

It would be great to hear from followers and readers of this blog of what they would like to see in a feed reader. May it be web specific, app specific, reading style specific, you name it. Anything at all. Is there something missing on what you use now that you want to see? Email me as per below or message me on Micro.blog.

Timelines

This is going to be breaking a lot of hearts. I am one person, with many client projects taking most of my time - hey, it pays the rent! Not only that, I work on tight schedules which drain me mentally and actually physically - not bad for sitting in a chair all day. On top, I have a family that need me when I’m not working.

However, I have planned dedicated time for the project around all my client work. They don’t need to know…

The famous plan for timing:

  1. Web app frontend (static design) - 3 months.
  2. Web app logic layer - 2 - 3 months.

I’ll stop there because we’re now at 6 months already. I’d love to work on the mobile apps at the same time, but that just won’t be the case. On top, I don’t want to hold up the project at all trying to get these out the door. No, I just want to ship something and then build it out into something really great.

For a firm start date for getting started… don’t ask me. I think around mid of May would be a good start. So watch this space.

Again, I’ll be dedicating a little section on my website regarding the project so you can follow along. Not sure if I should create a special one-off feed for these posts?

I’ll also be working on a pre-alpha type release, where stuff will break all the time… but you can start using it. Because if I can use it, so can you.

Closing thoughts

Again, this is an exercise for me, to throw me into the deep end. I want to learn and gain new skills on the way. I want to take something complex and make it simple, or so I hope.

Also, by throwing this out now I do realise that I’m pretty much giving anyone my idea. By opening it up to the public I hope to once again keep this all going. Keeps me liable to actually shipping it. Sure, I take away the surprise effect, but why wait?

I don’t want to build yet another feed service… no, I want something way more sublime and engaging.

And on that note, thanks for reading. Excited to get started and totally amazed that I finally got it off my chest.

If you want to follow along, subscribe to my blog feed, follow me on Micro.blog or just email me. Glad to speak to a human :)

A weekend of change and consolidation

A lot has happened this weekend. Nothing bad! More a re-think of everything I do to stay productive, happy and private. Not to mention all the services I use to fuel my lifestyle.

I had the urge for change. I’m not sure why… perhaps because I had a strange week last week and had to get back into the swing of things. My mind trying to find something for me to do except “work”. I think it… worked.

So, I’ve been up to a lot and hope that the things I list below will find their way back to my “Tools I use” page that I had a long time ago on my site… but have removed since. Here goes (long post).

Removing Google Drive and Google Photos, and account.

This one was on my list for a while. I wanted to finally rid myself from my Google account. I paid for G Suites ($10/month) as it fitted my need for Google Drive storage and the added benefit of using Google Photos.

Don’t ask why I used Google Photos. I was pretty impressed of it when they announced it. Wishing Apple would copy a few of the features. However, as good as it is… I don’t think Google gets the Privacy aspect of it and I started to feel I’m getting pushed in a corner and having to find that balance of sharing stuff and getting a good service.

As my wife and I use separate iCloud accounts, it was useful to have all our devices sync to the one source, which was Google Photos. It was super convenient.

Why the change? Easy, Google.

There are certainly trade offs with using iCloud Photos, but I think it will get there and it’s close enough for our needs.

After making the decision I started deleting all of our ~ 50k photos and videos. There is no option to delete everything at once. Shame. Only 1500 at a time. You have to select one, hold shift and then scroll. This works in theory but I found many times that the site comes to a complete stop. To be expected though… a lot of images being loaded.

That took some time to do, but happy I did it.

The next step was to remove my reliance on Google Drive for my backups. When you subscribe to G Suite you get unlimited storage. Whatever that means. I had around 5TB of data on Google Drive (I am sick of having to type Google all the time). These were just backups of my machines, some archives of documents that I never need to touch anyway (but good to have for reference). On top, there was the photo storage taking a small chunk of that.

I use Arq Backup to backup my computer. I used to use Backblaze but I didn’t want to rely on paying the monthly and loose my backups. On top, being an independent/freelancer is hard at times… so sometimes you cut out a few things and consolidate. Cut costs where you can and work with the basics. Anyway, I’m thankfully in a different place now. On top, Backblaze didn’t suit my own personal needs, especially their policy with network drives and others (not that I have anything complicated). Sure, $5 a month is cheap… and they have some other cool features.

Arq Backup, allows me to select different locations for backup - be it AWS S3, Google Drive, Dropbox… you name it. This is great, and I could actually have my backups at different locations/services if I wanted to (at the same time). I elected to use Backblaze B2 which is very similar to AWS S3… just way cheaper in the long run.

The backup has taken the weekend to upload to B2, for around 1TB of data (in total, after consolidating stuff). With that done, I deleted everything from Google Drive. Went to my admin account page and delete the whole service. It took 24 hours for them to delete it. Fine.

Bring cloud sharing in-house

With Google gone, my next task was to find a way to rid myself of Dropbox too. I used their file sharing extensively. I also kept files there.

I was looking at ways of integrating with Backblaze B2 and some sort of web app that I could run myself. I wasted time running up both ownCloud and nextCloud on one of my servers. Massive waste of time and poor UI and to be honest… a bit too much for my needs. I also found out that there was no easy way to hook that up to B2. Uninstalled.

I finally landed on a little app called Dropshare. It’s pretty neat, it’s available for both the Mac and iOS.

For the Mac it sits in your menubar at the top. You simply drag a file you want to share to the icon, it uploads it and copies a link to your clipboard - which you can send onwards. I like the simplicity of it and I love the idea of knowing that the file I uploaded actually belongs to me and doesn’t get used for any other purpose. I can bring up the actual “bucket” in Transmit and delete the files.

Dropshare also allows me to have a custom landing page for each upload, if I so wish. So this is a great fit of what I want to achieve. I don’t share much, but this is just great and simple to have around.

I also have the option for using a URL shortener for files. I’ll probably try and create my own at some stage… Dropshare allows that! In fact, it gives you many options on how to rename files and other cool things.

Anyway, the aim for all this was to try and consolidate all these different providers and bring it closer in-house where possible. Having everything stored in one location and not jotted around many different places just keeps it simple for me. Granted, for the web stuff I do (asset hosting, CDN, server & database backups) I keep those on AWS S3… for now.

Changed my email provider

Something I pondered for a few years now, but I wanted to move my main email account (this site) to a dedicated email service. Away from Gandi IMAP (which comes free with the domain). So, I went for FastMail. Something I had on my radar for a while.

Set up was simple… and OMG they had actual profiles you could download to your computer. No set up required. It literally blew me off my chair! Not only that, they showed you a QR code that you can scan and download the profile to your phone. DONE.

All that was left was move my email over. I didn’t have much. Only around 2GB. They have an import function, which would have worked but I elected to just fire up Mail and drag all of those emails over. I don’t organise my email as such, I just have one massive Sent box and everything else is in Archive. Simple. Search is good anyway. Plus I usually remember specifics for my clients present and past.

That didn’t take long and saw them coming over on my iPhone and obviously their nice web client. NICE!

I went to DNSimple and clicked the “FastMail” button and boom, everything was changed for me. Or so I thought…

Email was coming in fine to the new mailbox and I proceeded to disabling my email account on MailRoute.

MailRoute sits between the sender and your inbox. They are great for detecting junk and has been an amazing service for the many years I used it.

Anyway, email was working fine for 12 hours or so without issue. The next morning I had a few emails, to the new mailbox. NICE. By chance I had a log in link sent to my mailbox, but it never arrived. OK, strange. I tried sending to the account directly through my iCloud account. I got a bounce back. Whoops.

Turns out that the MX record for MailRoute was still there and was resolving to them instead of FastMail. This was my fault. Removing the record fixed the problem immediately. I also enabled MailRoute again… just in case someone would try again and their MX records haven’t switched over. They would then allow the email through to my new mailbox.

With that done, my email usage experience has gotten better. I’m super happy with FastMail. I don’t think I’ll ever look back.

A new domain registrar

I’ve been using Gandi.net for many many many years now. I bought hundreds of domains through them, both personally and for clients. They had a super simple clean interface, nothing in your face and I liked that there was no friction. Their prices were good and fair. On top, they gave you loads of features out the box - like free IMAP email and other things.

However, I think it’s time for a change. They recently updated their main UI… not saying it’s bad… just it’s a bit too much for me. It looks too flashy and in your face. Now… I don’t mind change, I embrace it (usually). But I think they missed the point. The web is supposed to get easier, not harder. On top, I’m having to keep separate accounts jotted around for different clients, which now is a pain. True, I could stick to their old interface; that will go away one day.

So, in a bold move I moved this domain name over to DNSimple. It was super easy to do and their pricing is similar to what Gandi would charge. It was pretty much done within an hour and there was no service disruption (except my email hiccup above).

I’ve been using DNSimple for about 2 years now and had a really great experience with them. From their services to their just plain super awesome customer support. They are a great bunch and I love interacting with them (although rarely).

Personally I get good vibes from them.

I did try Hover a few years… but they weren’t great. Always blocking my account because I was logging in through my VPN, using a card that was issued in a different country than my VPN and on top, when I used a client name, didn’t match my name. They did promise it won’t happen again. But it did, three times. Phone support was great though. Anyway... boring.

It’s my plan to exclusively use DNSimple going forward. It will be a long process if and when a domain comes up for renewal. I could do them all at once, but I’m in no rush.

But why

There is no easy way to explain it, it’s how I work. When I feel stuck I try and do something different, so this was it.

I wanted to explore options to rid myself of the dependancy on many little services here and there and bring most of it in-house. I am privacy conscious so deleting my Google account was a major win this weekend. On top, having sorted out my sharing and backup needs have eased my mind. With the email I wanted to get it transferred over to someone that does email well (and that are privacy first) - plus, moving my domain meant I actually needed to look at doing that anyway.

By consolidating every-now-and-then I make sure everything keeps running smoothly and that I can simplify my way of doing things. Granted, I rely on third party apps, but at least I know my data is in good hands (or so I believe, ha).

I'm better off and haven't increased my monthly outgoings in any significant way. Yes, I had to buy software, but that's OK with me. Even though I now pay for email and storage, I actually reduced my monthly outgoings.... and I'm getting more from it.

I wanted to do something like this for a while, so I’m happy that I scratched that itch. My mind is at rest and I’m feeling more productive, just what I need to nail a few client projects this month.

Removing my content blocker, Just Block, from the App Store.

Today, I am saying goodbye to my little iOS content blocker, Just Block. Not because I have to, but because I believe there are way more amazing apps out there that do a much better job.

Not too long ago I started using 1Blocker for both iOS and the Mac. It’s clean, simple and works really great. Sure, it’s a paid app, but the developer put in a lot of effort - so it’s totally worth it.

Just Block was never supposed to be in that field, although at the time I was dreaming that I could make some sort of public API that any developer could use to stay up to date. Maybe one day.

I had a few updates planned for Just Block, but I just can’t find the time to do what I want to. Not only that, the block list is probably way out of date.

It would feel wrong to have an app, on the App Store, that is outdated and gives people false hope of true blocking of trackers. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the changes.

I had a search around the App Store and there is a lot of crap out there, especially with content blockers. Now… I don’t want to say mine is crap… but I think it could be added to the pile of abandoned.

So here we are. As it was a free app I am not concerned of the outcome of this. Perhaps one day I will return to it. This year is probably not it.

If you want a great content blocker, in my opinion, try out 1Blocker.

I will, however, keep it on my site to showcase.

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