5 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2021
    1. Funnily enough, I've been on an intellectual bent in the other direction: that we've poisoned our thinking in terms of systems, for the worse. This shows up when trying to communicate about the Web, for example.

      It's surprisingly difficult to get anyone to conceive of the Web as a medium suited for anything except the "live" behavior exhibited by the systems typically encountered today. (Essentially, thin clients in the form of single-page apps that are useless without a host on the other end for servicing data and computation requests.) The belief/expectation that content providers should be given a pass for producing brittle collections of content that should be considered merely transitory in nature just leads to even more abuse of the medium.

      Even actual programs get put into a ruddy state by this sort of thinking. Often, I don't even care about the program itself, so much as I care about the process it's applying, but maintainers make this effectively inextricable from the implementation details of the program itself (what OS version by which vendor does it target, etc.)

  2. Jul 2021
    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.

  3. Jun 2021
    1. Some of the best customers of such a service will be academics.

      Indeed. Web literacy among the masses is pitifully low. Browsermakers are certainly to blame for being poor stewards. Hot Valley startups are responsible as well. (See https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/11/30/salary/.)

  4. May 2021