May 2005 Archives

I've been on a bit of a spree lately here on t.org, with more posts in May than in any other month but last October, and as many posts as any two months since then. I've had a few things worth saying and sharing.

However, the next couple of months are going to be quieter. I hope to keep posting with some regularity, and I'll certainly finish up the CSSimplicity series, but I have a few other things going on. By the time August closes, I will have:

  • moved from Boston to NYC
  • (hopefully) have found a new job in curricular (Educational) Technology, hypertext, or some other form of human-related geekery
  • coordinated IT at the summer program that I work for, and done the usual shuffle from an office of 25 to three campuses of 110 staff and 400-700 students each (and back again)
  • left that job of four years, and left behind documentation and a trained replacement
  • helped a book become a website

It will be a busy couple of months. It will happen (even the new job, I tell myself), but it is going to take ... fewer words, more action.

(and if you know any schools in NYC with tech openings, drop me a line, eh?)

Mapper 2.0

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The Tinderbox community comes through once again! Not long after I posted a quick exploration of exporting the Tinderbox map view to the web I began getting suggestions and further thoughts. Mark Anderson stepped up and did what I couldn't because of time and expertise-- he figured out how to get Javascript to wrangle Tinderbox's attributes into a proper display. And as this is a debugging process, he found a couple of challenges that I hadn't tested for.

The other night on my bus ride home a stray thought about CSSimplicity touched off an idea for exporting the Tinderbox Map View onto the web. I've wanted this for a good while, but the only method I could think of for getting a working map view to the web was a screen shot doctored in the HTML to be an imagemap... not exactly a scalable solution.

However, with CSS you can specify everything about an element, from visual styling to screen positioning. Since Tinderbox gives ready access to all of the variables that make it work, a bit of poking around gave me a fair approximation of the map view with only two fairly simple export templates. There's one hurdle left that I think will require some non-trivial javascript, so before I muddy my pretty templates with javascript code, it's worth writing up the TBox and CSS bits-- along the way I learned a bit about the way that Tinderbox works and the what CSS can and can't do.

Beyond the cut: directions and distractions for making an online map view.

An article in CNet looks at how corporations are beginning to adopt easy web-publishing tools in their businesses... and how they're not. The article almost avoids clueless sensationalism.

Wiki

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I've been writing about wikis and related topics, so it's time for a collective entry. I've got a wiki definition in the glossary (the first topic herein), but there's more to be said. This is the wiki tool entry, an entry in the t.org directory for wikis en masse as a tool. It will probably collect more subtopics as I write more about wikis later. For now, it's worth relating an email discussion with Ken Tompkins about wikis in the classroom.

wiki

A website that allows users to add content and allows anyone to edit the content. "Wiki" also refers to the collaborative software used to create such a website. [Wikipedia]

After the cut: a lot of discussion of wikis - in the classroom, finding the nail for the hammer, and more.

Quotes!

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Thanks to Mark for the nifty quotation style which I installed tonight. He set up a smart style on his own site which I've transferred to t.org.

Last week I wrote in a series of entries about adapting the Tinderbox Simplicity template to CSS. The first step was to analyze the existing template to glean its structure, and I marked up the stylesheet and the html of a sample page to do so.

This next step, then, is to move it over to CSS. I'm going to take it slowly and with lots of explanation, because figuring out exactly where CSS ends and HTML begins was tricky for me.

Two disclaimers: First, I'll walk things through, but I'm assuming that you have a very, very basic level of CSS. I'm assuming knowledge of CSS Syntax. If you're not sure, scan that link-- that one page is what I'm assuming you know.

Secondly, I'm being "thorough", by which I mean that the end result will be a bit more complex than the Simplicity template. The HTML will be simpler (without the tables), and the templates will be simple and easier to edit, but the stylesheet is going to be rather longer than the old one so that more of the page is stylable. That extra complexity will hit in this post, so if it seems confusing, shake it off and go to the next post.

I'm being thorough for two reasons: First, I want to be able to do CSSZenGarden-like styling, and that means having the CSS mirror the semantic structure of the Tinderbox notes. Secondly, being this thorough means that the CSS can mirror the semantic structure, and that in turn means that your visual style can more clearly indicate the semantics. I.E. You can make your blog easier to read and navigate.

The whole thing is turning out to be a bit more of a process than I thought, so it might take two steps. Here goes.

surftrail

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surftrail is Anders Fagerjord's personal blog, and it made a bit of a splash among weblogs in August of 2003 when Anders made each blog entry its own webpage rather than taking the standard approach of collecting many entries onto a single web page.

Most blogs allow the reader to read an entry only in the context (a page) of other entries, whether the context is a chronological archive, a category or subject grouping, or a search result.

When each entry (or thought/topic in an entry) has its own page, several things can happen:

  • style is more flexible - each entry can more easily have its own visual tone through framing and typography
  • more hypertext structures become possible - forks and cycles among your entries become more apparent
  • overlapping structures don't collide - so the chronological nature of a blog can more easily coexist with categories, idea hubs, and non-categorical trails
  • if you buy into the "golden age of hypertext" rhetoric, you get to write 'more like the hypertext novelists'. and if you don't buy into the nostalgia, you still get to take advantage of the features which made the novelists choose the medium in the first place.

This is different enough that folks have started to call such blogs Fagerjordian.

Note: this applies to the old textuality, published originally in Tinderbox, not Movable Type

Beyond the cut: a bit more about this blog

Buttons!

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I've gotten in on the badge-sharing that has been going around. There's now a "BBEdited" button in the sidebar, made from Vlad Spears' photoshop files. and you're welcome to it.

If you want to make a suite of your own "80x15" badges, there are some nifty tools out there for doing it: one that seems to have started the trend (and generated some controversy) and one that lets you put in small images. I didn't use either because I liked the 'pop-out' graphics of the 2Second(Fuse) badges, but it's a place to start.

ETA: BBEdited

Vlad Spears posted the photoshop files for the 'badges' on his site. I adopted several and made one to pass the love to BBEdit. I've done all my HTML editing (and a fair bit besides HTML) in BBEdit since 1997. Feel free to grab and/or cannibalize my badge for your own site.

DokuWiki

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I've just installed DokuWiki at work, and I have to say that I am nothing but thrilled with my first real wiki-founding. Warning: the rest of this entry is almost entirely positive... fanboy-ness ahead, even if it is followed by actual discussion of wiki social issues.

Beyond the cut: Full discussion of Dokuwiki and enthusiasm about wikis in general.

I'm making some new templates for Tinderbox. I'm doing this because I think that Tinderbox could use some well-structured, simple, elegant templates that really use CSS. I'm doing this because I think that CSSZenGarden is one of the coolest sites I've ever seen. I'm doing this because it's hacking in one of the nicer meanings of the term. While I'm at it, I'm going to log the process so that you might follow along if you're learning Tinderbox, CSS, or both.

Beyond the cut: making existing CSS visible to analyze it.

Syndication!

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I've come up with a title for this post that makes it sound like a musical, but the fact remains: I've put up a simplistic rss feed for textuality.org. I'm still playing with it --trying to include html and links rather than just plain text broke it for LiveJournal and NetNewsWire-- but it is up and working. Thanks to Doug Miller for suggesting the feed and for advice.

Wholinkstome

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Wholinkstome is an interesting tool for wandering back upstream I found in NoCategories. I wonder if it works. It checks the referrer logs and then searches for the referrer among a variety of sources. All this for the lack of structured two-way links on the web. Here it is with their code:

Who Links Here


[ETA: 2005-05-03] It basically just aggregates results from available searches on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and a few sites you have to be registered on. Ah well.

One of the wonderful things about personal weblogs is how they cross categories. I may for this site start reading a blog because it mentions hypertext on a regular basis, but then I get to read about good food, or electronic music, or real estate... and maybe how they relate to hypertext. And if I'm really lucky, the blogger has properly categorized their entries into a nifty index.

I don't want to add all of these blogs to textuality.org because this site has a sharp focus which I want to maintain; nevertheless, I think t.org needs a collection of the relevant categorical focii from them. So in this entry, the subtopics should end up in the Categories list rather than this entry itself, and each is the 'hypertext index' from a spiffy blog.

And yes, for the record, I hate the term 'blogosphere'. I want a term for 'the set of weblogs' that doesn't sound like a 1st Edition D&D monster.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2005 is the previous archive.

June 2005 is the next archive.

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