Chit Chat Across the Pond Lite logo Two interlocking ribbons, one red, one blue. The word Lite is across the logo in a playful font. The podfeet (two little bare feet) are in the upper right. The background is dark blue with Chat and Chat in the upper left and lower right corners with "across the pond" in thin letter across the bottom. Sounds more confusing than it is!

CCATP #785 — Helma van der Linden on Porting XKPASSWD from Perl to JavaScript

Allison Helma Steve outside smiling arm in arm. Helma is wearing an Apple Park t-shirt
Helma Visiting Steve & Me from The Netherlands

This week’s Chit Chat Across the Pond Lite is a stretch to the word “Lite”. I’d call it a crossover episode of Lite and Programming By Stealth. Helma van der Linden joins me to tell the story of how she has successfully started the new version of Bart’s fabulous xkpasswd password generation service. was written in perl ages ago and depends on very old and outdated libraries. Bart spent many months teaching the Programming By Stealth students the tools we (and he) would need to port the code over to JavaScript. His plan all along was to have students help him make the new version of XKPASSWD a reality.

It turns out that Helma is an extraordinary student and has done most of the work to make it a minimal viable product, all without Bart’s help. In this conversation, we’ll talk about how she did this without getting too nerdy. Some nerdy but not too nerdy.

If you’d like to give the very beta version of the new tool a try (without knowing any coding), check it out at In a few days, Bart will have it up as the beta version of the real xkpasswd at This beta version is not feature-complete, but it allows you to create 1-10 passwords that use the default preset from the original xkpasswd. You can’t choose different presets, and you can’t make customized passwords, but at least it does create long, strong, memorable, and typable passwords. And it’s REALLY pretty!

We end with the call for others to come help work on the code. The GitHub repo is at If you have or create a GitHub account, you can contribute to the project. If you don’t have programming skills but you have feature requests, it counts as contributing if you use the “issues” tab for the GitHub project to post your feature request.

Helma is great fun and we had a blast talking about what she’s accomplished so I think you’ll enjoy the conversation no matter how nerdy you might be.

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Read an unedited, auto-generated transcript: CCATP_2024_02_03

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