MVP: The New Look

After more than six months of very unfocused work, I’ve happy to announce that I’ve finally converted my blog to NestaCMS, and have given it a new look as well. Despite the long timetable, I really have tried to pursue an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) approach to getting this retread out on the information highway. So not all the features I can imagine are here. And there are some rough edges which I’ll try to smooth out in the next few days.

I am not an expert on typography, but I played around with the font face, font size, letter spacing and line spacing until it seemed friendly on the eyes. If you know typography and have some suggestions, I’d love to learn more. I went with two open source or free font faces. For headings and titles, I’m using Megalopalis Extra, and for the main text font I’m using IM Fell English. For monotype (code snippets, etc) I’m using M+ 2m.

For code snippets, I’m using the light solarized theme, and rendering syntax highlighting with Rack::Codehighlighter the Coderay gem. The CSS was a little tiresome: happily solarized defines its colors in hex, but I had to apply them to various coderay CSS classes one by one. So I may have run out of patience, but I did get most of them. Here is an example:

 1class LittleLamb
 2  attr_reader :fleece_color, :owner
 4  def initialize(owner)
 5    @fleece_color = '#fff'
 6    @owner = owner
 7  end
 9  def follow(person, destination)
10    # integrate Google Maps...
11  end

These are three very different fonts; I’m hoping for a kind of retro-eclectic feel, spanning the gap between the old wisdom of dusty books and the vibrant, exciting vibe of more modern typography. Perhaps this makes me a postmodern hipster. I sort of hope not, but I’ve been called worse.

The New Workflow

Vim and Git are the reasons I wanted to switch to Nesta in the first place. I really dislike writing in a browser window. And I really don’t like most browser-based WYSIWYG UI’s. But I like editing in Vim. And deploying with Git is also nice.

To be honest, my publish workflow is still a little rough, and involves an SSH session at this point. But I plan to streamline that soon.

Problem Areas

I wanted this new theme to read nicely on mobile devices. And I do think what I’ve done is much better than simply sending the browser version. Nevertheless, it’s still a bit rough in places. I plan to iron some of those out soon.

I haven’t even looked at this site in any version of IE in some time. I’ll be honest: I’m ambivelant about working on that. I suppose I must. Grrr. Anyway, for those with real browsers, enjoy ;)

Published by Joel Helbling on