Week of February 28, 2021

I was having a hard time finishing up the next page in the Diplograph’s Design series, which will be about this site’s layout. I had all of these neat diagrams and live examples and it still felt like I wasn’t explaing things very well.

And I realized that’s because the thing I was trying to explain was ridiculous. Each of the individual design decisions made sense at the time, but the whole system was nonsense when put together. Having to write it down made that clear.

I’ve noticed this when I’m writing code. I’ll write a great patch, and it will be tested, fast and work great, and then I’ll start writing the commit message and find I can’t explain why the code is the way it is.

I’ve think, for me, some of the value in writing documentation is that it forces me to organize my thoughts well enough to make one more evaluation of whatever I’m trying to document. Maybe this is just another form of “If you want to learn something, teach it.”

Anyway! Because of this, I’ve made some small changes to the site. Nothing substantial, but I’m a lot happier with the result already.

Body text is now horizontally centered. It was slightly off-center before because... well this was the thing that made sense only in isolation.

This means the two side columns are now the same size. On the smallest screens, there isn’t enough room for hanging punctuation or the outdented headers, so they align themselves with the body text when the viewport is very narrow. Some of the layout guides are no longer aligned on quarter pixels anymore (I can’t believe this was a thing I was doing). And the code behind all of this is a lot nicer.

I’ve also changed the cache control headers, requiring that clients revalidate their cached copies after 6 days (since I have a goal of publishing roughly weekly). This means your first visit each week might be slightly slower, but you won’t see stale content. You might need to hit reload on your browser once for this to have any effect.