A Few of My Favorite (Dev) Things

Amara Graham
Mar 4, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I am well aware it is March, no where near the holiday season, and tomorrow we close out our gluttonous ways with Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnival, or whatever you call the day before the start of Lent. Or maybe tomorrow is just a regular Tuesday for you. Congrats on making it through Monday then.

No matter where you are in 2019, I want to give you a small gift in the form of some of my favorite repos of all time. Consider it “lagniappe”, a little something extra since Oprah has a pretty firm grasp on favorite things the back half of the year. 🎁

.gitignore Templates

I don’t know about you, but I bounce between a number of different languages weekly, sometimes daily. Unity projects create a ton of things you don’t necessarily want to share with the world, so I highly recommend taking a peek at these.

Pro tip — anything you write in the Unity editor ends up as parameters in the scene. So if you were stupid like me and put a bunch of credentials in there in early 2018, the next section is for you!

GitHub Flavored Markdown Cheatsheet

Speaking of Git/GitHub things, I’m the type of person who genuinely may never commit something I learn to memory. This includes things I do every day, multiple times a day.

I don’t know my left from my right, I overthink what direction an “L” goes when I hold my hands out, what makes you think I’m going to remember how to link something in markdown? Parens before brackets or brackets before parens?

Are there other cheatsheet type things? Absolutely. But I’ve been referencing this project’s wiki for the basics for years.

Scrub Your Repo For Secrets

I had about 6 repos across GitHub and GitHub Enterprise that needed to be heavily cleaned thanks to not understanding how Unity handled scenes. And these were not trivial ‘Hello World’ type repos, these were the kinds of repos you could go grab coffee, come back to your desk, and maybe they’ve finished cloning or committing or whatever you asked them to do.

I’ve only used this to remove credential values from very specific files, but it worked great and I didn’t see any unwanted side effects.

Don’t forget to delete any secrets, tokens, passwords, etc. you may have cleaned.

Automated Accessibility Testing

Back when I was writing internal enterprise web applications, I attended a short presentation by someone who designed web apps and tested them using a screen reader. It was shockingly horrible to hear how painful the experience was for someone using a screen reader.

While I don’t consider myself specifically an accessibility advocate or champion, I did read that an automated accessibility testing tool can help bring you from barely accessible to mostly accessible. Tools like AccessSniff can help get you about 70–85% of the way there, although your mileage may vary.

Diverse Speakers

It is 2019 and I’m tired of being the only female conference speaker in your lineup. Last year I got more aggressive about this, and you can expect more of that this year.

Here is a great list of women who speak and organize events. Keep in mind this is only one piece of the diversity picture.

And here’s another piece, Black speakers in tech.

By no means is this comprehensive, but it’s a great place to start. Have another repo filled with diverse speakers? Let me know and I’d be happy to add it.


What are your favorite repos of all time? Let me know in the comments. Maybe your favorite repo ends up being a new favorite repo of mine!

Amara Graham

Written by

Director of Developer Relations at Wowza Media Systems|| Previously at IBM & Intel. Opinions are my own.

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