Ugging along

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I was going to title this ‘Chugging long’ but inadvertently saved the markdown file as ugging-along, so ugging along it is. Who am I to disagree with the unconscious?

Horse Racing Datasets permalink

I’ve been making slow progress on Horse Racing Datasets. A few months ago I knocked out a proof of concept to move an existing project backed by Airtable to Eleventy. I also wrote up using Airtable with Eleventy if you’re interested.

I was originally thinking I would finish up by the end of February, but thanks to some minor burnout and a bit of life happens I ended up taking a break. Since then I’ve been slowly poking at it and making some good progress.

In the Airtable article I mentioned having to do a couple of extra calls to Airtable because I couldn’t figure out how to filter on the initial data call. The good news is that I figured out how to do a variety filtering and am now using a single API call 🎉. This was a welcome JavaScript breakthrough for me as I ugh along trying to improve my JS skills. I’ll also be adding “update the Airtable article” to the to do list!

So far I’ve ugged my way through the following

  • Improved filtering as mentioned above
  • Added individual pages using this approach. Made good use of Nunjucks variables to get reuse from a template, I might make a little post about that.
  • Have everything sewn together and a good approximation of the layout.
  • Have a nice progressively enhanced toggle menu. It’s not nearly as robust and bulletproof as Andy Bell’s but I’m happy with it. I need to snap up my JS skills to really understand the more complex parts of the tutorial.

Next up

  • Nail down colors
  • Focus more on the design aspect, of course the layout is part of that but I need to move on to the visual particulars of the menu and homepage. I have some ideas!

Dogs of Dev permalink

My sweet little doggy is now a Dog of Dev. I ran a Twitter poll to help decide which cute picture to use. I was going to go with the couch shot but understand the appeal of the park portrait.

Be sure to check out all the Dogs of Dev, a fun project by Mike Aparicio. It looks like someone is going to make a Cats of Dev, I have a a couple of those too.

A11y Websites permalink

I haven’t posted since the beginning of the year, but I kicked off 2021 on a nice note with a review from A11y Websites. Individual reviews don’t have direct links, but it’s a nice project by Callum Ryan in which he gives submitted sites a proper accessibility review. Be sure to check out this useful resource.

Notion and Obsidian permalink

If you use Notion you were probably aware of their DNS snafu. It was a good reminder that the best files in the cloud are the ones you can always access locally. I’m not a super heavy Notion user, but I use it enough to be concerned about losing what’s there.

Thanks to this thread I found Obsidian and was able to set up a local version of Notion using this handy script. But what about moving forward?

I’ve been using iA Writer to draft posts but don’t love it. It’s a nice clean, distraction-free app but I usually only rough out a structure and quickly move to my editor (Atom) to complete them there, mostly because iA Writer doesn’t support auto pair brackets and quotes. This is a big flow killer for me, especially since I do so much linking.

Once I got the Notion backup taken care of, I started tinkering with Obsidian to see if it was a better fit for me than iA Writer moving forward. It didn’t take long to realize the answer was a big, emphatic “Yes!”.

Instead of prattling on about my new crush I’ll just note a few things I like so far and maybe to do a post on it later…

  • It’s easy to create “vaults” or instances. In fact separate instances is a big selling point for me vs. Notion’s all-in-one (which isn’t horrible, with good organization, but so far I like the separation).
  • Auto pairing of brackets and quotes 🎉
  • It’s easy to customize using CSS snippets or full on themes. There are several community themes or you can create your own.
  • An active user community (also at Discord, which I haven’t checked out yet).

I’ve written this entire post in Obsidian and only did minor clean-up once I got it in Atom, and that’s a welcome change. I also made vault of some design inspiration for my Horse Racing Datasets homepage concept along the lines of using Are.na.

I’m sure I can come up with some other ideas too. Until then, I’ll continue to ugh along.

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