Jacob Kaplan-Moss


I wrote this post in 2008, more than 13 years ago. It may be very out of date, partially or totally incorrect. I may even no longer agree with this, or might approach things differently if I wrote this post today. I rarely edit posts after writing them, but if I have there'll be a note at the bottom about what I changed and why. If something in this post is actively harmful or dangerous please get in touch and I'll fix it.

I’ve been working on redoing my website for at least the last year or so… and finally got it done.

I drew obvious inspiration from the minimalism trend (c.f. Bennett, Tomayko, Pilgrim); the simplicity of those sites are quite refreshing. As I was putting the finishing touches on the site, I ran across a roundup of minimalist designs that I think does a great job summing up my attraction to minimalist designs, the article’s first three points describe perfectly what I’m trying to do here:

1. Design is focused on the content.

2. Whitespace is the king…

3. Typography is the queen

I actually spent most of my “design” time focused on typography; The Elements of Typographic Style was my bible as I worked on the CSS. I feel pretty happy with the results, and that makes sense: I don’t have a iota of design chops, but I can handle the math of page layout and spacing pretty well.

Those using a cutting-edge browser (the latest Safari, or one of the Firefox 3.1 betas) should notice that I took the typography thing pretty far: I’m using CSS3’s Web Fonts to include a font that’s actually nice looking (Linotype’s Sabon). This is a bit of a gamble: there’s all sorts of questions out there about the legitimacy and intellectual property implications of web fonts. On top of that, the actual implementation of web fonts seems to, erm, suck: both Safari and Firefox load a browser font first, then swap in the web font around the same time the DOM finishes loading. This leads to a “flash” of text not unlike the dreaded FOUC of yore.

Still: this site looks a hell of a lot better in Sabon than in Georgia. Here’s to hoping that someone smart figures out a good web font solution (and that someone strong bullies Microsoft into supporting it).

Technically, I’m using much the same tools as last time around: Django 1.0, Jellyroll, django-tagging, and a simple hand-rolled blog. New to the mix in this revision is typogrify – no way the type would look this good without it. Also new is another bit I’ve stolen from Mr. Tomayko: the elimination of administrative debris. When I’m logged in, I can double-click on nearly any element and edit it right in place. I’m using a slick jQuery [1] plugin called jeditable.

Organizationally, I’ve tried to drastically minimize the amount of navigation and URL depth. For example, last time around my blog entires had URLs like /writing/2008/nov/18/minimalism/. That’s complete overkill given how infrequently I write, so this time it’s just /writing/minimalism/. Skipping that busy work gave me time to put stuff like the tag pages together, which rocks.

Feels good to have this done. Maybe it’ll inspire me to write more frequently…

[1]Speaking of jQuery: check out my nifty jQuery-powered inline footnotes!