Plans & Ideas
Some of these ideas are for improving things. Some are for making things worse. I'm not going to tell you which ones are which.
Some of these plans seem pretty sensible. Some seem kinda ridiculous. The latter ones are the plans I take most seriously.
If I ever start a YouTube channel, this is what I want it to be:
- Long-ish videos (30m - 1 hour) of me explaining everything I know about a topic that I have no "real" expertise in.
- The camera points downwards on large sheet of paper (or whiteboard) that I draw on while talking.
- Minimal editing, but keep the audio and video quality high.
The point is not to provide a particularly accurate or well-thought-out lecture, but the kind of personal perspective only a fairly experienced amateur can give. Stuff that isn't exactly the right method, or idiosyncratic enough to be useless to most people.
True experts have a really specialised understanding of their field, and have usually long since forgotten what it's like to be new to it. More importantly, they have an "expert's duty" to say only what they believe is true, and is usually common knowledge.
Until I do get around to doing this, I'll try to add posts to the Useful page. If you try something like this, please send it to me, I'd love to see it.
26th December 2022
Think about all the things that make physical wallets great.
23th December 2022
20th December 2022
The hard part is stumbling across the people you want to bump into.
9th December 2022
I wanted to keep this site as easy to work with as possible, and so I chose to not use a site generator becasue I keep forgeting syntax and directory structure rules. However, there's some things that you usually need an SSG for:
- Managing relative URLs: If you've got sub-directories within your site folder, you need to keep track of how many forward-slashes or ".."s you're using for each link. Especially if those links are in an element that you usually just copy-paste into a new page, like navigation or footer links.
- Injecting HTML snippets: So far, HTML doesn't have aything like an
<include href="snippet.html>tag, and I'm not sure it would be a great idea to fetch extra HTML after a page has loaded for the first time anyway. So if you have something that is present on multiple pages (like a footer or navigation links), you need to manually add and/or update it on every page.
- Creating lists: Almost all SSGs come with some sort of templating langauge that let you include for-each blocks in your markup, some even let you filter based on metadata.
- Markdown: I want this site to be pure HTML files, but writing HTML isn't the smoothest experience, especailly stuff like links and nested bullets. Site generators provide markdown as an easier-to-use alternative.
But since I've chosen "No using an SSG" as a hard constraint for how I want to build this site, I've had to use certain (often imperfect) workarounds:
- Directory-depth-based templates: Each folder gets it's own default HTML template page with all the boilerplate ready to go. To create a new webpage, all I do is duplicate the page, rename it, and start typing. The only depth-based difference lies in the need for the top-level templates to have different URL paths than the sub-folder templates.
- Minimum-viable meta tags: I only really care about my links having Twitter cards. So I have meta tags as part of each template file, and just change the title and description for each one.
- Rendering scripts: Each page has two script files. The first handles dark mode functionality, the second renders the links in the navigation menu. If I want to update the menu, I jsut tweak the HTML string in the script file. I can also make the script do other kinds of renders in the future, if needed.
- Do things by hand: I add each
<a>tag to it's respective list manually. This is fine because the site doesn't have to handle a large volume of new pages.
- Bear => HTML files: Among the few pieces of software that I pay for, Bear is by far the most useful. If a new entry is going to be more than a few paragraphs long, I'll type it out in Bear first and simply export it as HTML.
I wish there were cleaner ways to do without an SSG, especially for things like meta tags and URL management. But I've managed to make my hack-y solutions work so far. In the end, each page has at most three dependencies (one stylesheet, two scripts), files will never need to be nested more than three layers deep, and script-based rendering solved my snippet problem.
21st November 2022