kai_mactane: (Default)

When I was moving beyond self-written AJAX calls and picking up the Prototype and Scriptaculous libraries, one of the best resources I could find was Amy Hoy’s Scriptaculous cheat sheet. It was hard not to find it — or her: Google searches on the things I was dealing with at the time just kept leading back to Slash7.

I was already advanced enough not to need her “What’s AJAX?” cheatsheet, but it was cool that she’d done such a thing. In fact, she had — and still has — a strong streak of “help teach others, so they can get to where I’m at” about her. That’s something I’ve always striven for in myself, but where I haven’t (yet) gotten around to some of the tutorial posts I want to do, Amy’s been nailing that category for over 5 years. And she’s been taking it seriously.

Later on, when I was getting into Ruby On Rails, Amy’s Secrets of the Rails Console Ninjas was an eye-opener… and then there was her other article that assured me that it was okay to ditch WEBrick for Mongrel, and so many others.

But Amy doesn’t just know loads about developing in AJAX, JavaScript, and Rails. She goes beyond the ephemera of coding, delving deeper into the things that make programming matter. She asks (and answers) some of the hard questions about usability, including a pair of my own favorite points on the topic. She knows that software is also political.

And she writes damned well. Her style is clear, crisp, and readable — unlike my own tendency to ramble on and use overly-complicated sentences. (For what it’s worth, I talk much the same way. At least I don’t code the way I talk — honest, I don’t!)

If I can learn from Amy, maybe one day I’ll be as good a blogger as she is. In the meantime, she inspires me to keep improving.

Originally published at Coyote Tracks. You can comment here or there.

kai_mactane: (Default)

Long before I learned to program — and long before the World-Wide Web was even a gleam in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye — I was introduced to typography by Douglas R. Hofstadter’s Metamagical Themas. In his chapter “Variations on a Theme as the Crux of Creativity”, Hofstadter presents a full-page figure that shows 56 different versions of the letter “A”. The 56 fonts he uses show versions of “A” ranging from the spare to the ornate, with every other variation in between.

I’d never realized there was so much variation just in one letter. I was converted into a fontaholic on the spot (though not so completely as my sister, who now designs typefaces professionally for a prestigious font foundry — way to go, sis!). But it’s easy to get too absorbed in the letters.

Like Debussy, who noted that “music is the space between the notes”, I’ve become enamored with the kind of typography that happens between the letters. It’s more important than you think it is, because: It makes your text easier for people to read.

Read the rest of this entry »

Originally published at Coyote Tracks. You can comment here or there.


kai_mactane: (Default)

July 2011

101112 13141516


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 09:55 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios