12 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. real or virtual

      interesting taxonomy; useful for communicating about a concerted effort towards a more document-oriented correction to the modern Web?

    1. “But how can I automate updates to my site’s look and feel?!”

      Perversely, the author starts off getting this part wrong!

      The correct answer here is to adopt the same mindset used for print, which is to say, "just don't worry about it; the value of doing so is oversold". If a print org changed their layout sometime between 1995 and 2005, did they issue a recall for all extant copies and then run around trying to replace them with ones consistent with the new "visual refresh"? If an error is noticed in print, it's handled by correcting it and issuing another edition.

      As Tschichold says of the form of the book (in The Form of the Book):

      The work of a book designer differs essentially from that of a graphic artist. While the latter is constantly searching for new means of expression, driven at the very least by his desire for a "personal style", a book designer has to be the loyal and tactful servant of the written word. It is his job to create a manner of presentation whose form neither overshadows nor patronizes the content [... whereas] work of the graphic artist must correspond to the needs of the day

      The fact that people publishing to the web regularly do otherwise—and are expected to do otherwise—is a social problem that has nothing to do with the Web standards themselves. In fact, it has been widely lamented for a long time that with the figurative death of HTML frames, you can no longer update something in one place and have it spread to the entire experience using plain ol' HTML without resorting to a templating engine. It's only recently (with Web Components, etc.) that this has begun to change. (You can update the style and achieve consistency on a static site without the use of a static site generator—where every asset can be handcrafted, without a templating engine.) But it shouldn't need to change; the fixity is a strength.

      As Tschichold goes on to say of the "perfect" design of the book, "methods and rules upon which it is impossible to improve have been developed over centuries". Creators publishing on the web would do well to observe, understand, and work similarly.

  2. Jul 2021
    1. it is impossible to build a new web browser

      Perhaps it's not possible. (Probably not, even.) It would be very much possible to build a web browser capable of handling this page, on the other hand, and to do so in a way that produces an appreciable result in 10 minutes of hacking around with the lowliest of programming facilities: text editor macros—that is, if only it had actually been published as a webpage. Is it possible to do the same for if not just this PDF but others, too? No.

    1. It's great to enhance the Internet Archive, but you can bet I'm keeping my local copy too.

      Like the parent comment by derefr, my actual, non-hypothetical practice is saving to the Wayback Machine. Right now I'm probably saving things at a rate of half a dozen a day. For those who are paranoid and/or need offline availability, there's Zotero https://www.zotero.org. Zotero uses Gildas's SingleFile for taking snapshots of web pages, not PDF. As it turns out, Zotero is pretty useful for stowing and tracking any PDFs that you need to file away, too, for documents that are originally produced in that format. But there's no need to (clumsily) shoehorn webpages into that paradigm.

      If you do the print-to-PDF workflow outlined earlier in the thread, you'll realize it doesn't scale well, requiring too much manual intervention and discipline (including taking care to make sure it's filed correctly; hopefully you remember the ad hoc system you thought up last time you saved something), that it's destructive, and that it ultimately gives you an opaque blob. SingleFile-powered Zotero mostly solves all of this, and it does it in a way that's accessible in one or two clicks, depending on your setup. If you ever actually need a PDF, you can of course go back to your saved copy and produce a PDF on-demand, but it doesn't follow that you should archive the original source material in that format.

      My only reservation is that there is no inverse to the SingleFile mangling function, AFAIK. For archival reasons, it would be nice to be able to perfectly reconstruct the original, pre-mangled resources, perhaps by storing some metadata in the file that details the exact transformations that are applied.

    1. You can use LibreOffice's Draw

      Nevermind LibreOffice Draw, you can use LibreOffice Writer to author the actual content. That this is never seriously pushed as an option (even, to my knowledge, by the LibreOffice folks themselves) is an indictment of the computing industry.

      Having said that, I guess there is some need to curate a set of templates for small and medium size businesses who want their stuff to "pop".

    1. I’m not confident I’ll be able to keep a server running to serve up my notes, so I bundled them up into an archive of pregenerated HTML, which anyone who has a copy can unpack and read, without requiring any online resources.
  3. Jun 2021
    1. I tried all the different static site generators, and I was annoyed with how everything was really complicated. I also came to the realization that I was never going to need a content management system with the amount of blogging I was doing, so I should stop overanalyzing the problem and just do the minimum thing that leads to more writing.

      Great way to put it. One thing that I keep trying to hammer is that the "minimum thing" here looks more like "open up a word processor, use the default settings, focus on capturing the content—i.e. writing things out just as you would if you were dumping these thoughts into a plain text file or keeping it to, say, the subset of Markdown that allows for paragraph breaks, headings, and maybe ordered and unordered lists—and then use your word processor's export-to-HTML support to recast it into the format that lets use their browser to read it, and then FTP/scp/rsync that to a server somewhere".

      This sounds like I'm being hyperbolic, and I kind of am, but I'm also kind of not. The process described is still more reasonable than the craziness that people (HN- and GitHub-type people) end up leaping into when they think of blogging on a personal website. Think about that. Literally uploading Microsoft Word-generated posts to a server* is better than the purpose-built workflows that people are otherwise coming up with (and pushing way too hard).

      (*Although, just please, if you are going to do this, then do at least export to HTML and don't dump them online as PDFs, a la berkshirehathaway.com.)

  4. May 2021
  5. Apr 2021
    1. Documents should offer the same granularity.

      That neither content creators nor browser vendors are particularly concerned with the production and consumption of documents, as such, is precisely the issue. This is evident in the banner that the majority of the work has occurred under over the last 10+ years: they're the Web Hypertext Applications Technology Working Group.

      No one, not even the most well-intentioned (such as the folks at Automattic who are responsible for the blogging software that made Christina's post here possible), see documents when they think of the Web. No, everything is an app—take this page, for example; even the "pages" that WordPress produces are facets of an application. Granted, it's an application meant for reading the written word (and meant for occasionally writing it), but make no mistake, it's an application first, and a "document" only by happenstance (i.e. the absence of any realistic alternative to HTML & co for application delivery).

  6. Mar 2021
    1. I was pretty annoyed with myself for having fallen for the trap of not documenting my own systems, but not sure how I could have remembered all of the Hugo-isms

      I've explained such a system, and promised Andy Chu an example that I've yet to be able to complete, but it comes down to this:

      A website is fundamentally a document repository. One of the first documents that you should store in that repository is one which explains, in detail, the procedures for provisioning the host powering the site and how content gets published. (Even better if it's so detailed that the procedures exhibit a degree of rigor such that a machine can carry them out, rather than requiring manual labor by a human.)

  7. Jan 2016
    1. Set Semantics¶ This tool is used to set semantics in EPUB files. Semantics are simply, links in the OPF file that identify certain locations in the book as having special meaning. You can use them to identify the foreword, dedication, cover, table of contents, etc. Simply choose the type of semantic information you want to specify and then select the location in the book the link should point to. This tool can be accessed via Tools->Set semantics.

      Though it’s described in such a simple way, there might be hidden power in adding these tags, especially when we bring eBooks to the Semantic Web. Though books are the prime example of a “Web of Documents”, they can also contribute to the “Web of Data”, if we enable them. It might take long, but it could happen.