Wednesday, 30 August 2006


I was sick, sick I tell you, of my blog workflow.

I have a license for Sixapart's Movable Type—which doesn't do me a whole lot of good since I support myself—but I was frustrated with the tools I needed to use it.

First, I'd compose in Ecto, software written by an inexcusably laggard developer, save a published version which I'd immediately fish out using Movable Type's web interface, bring the results into BBEdit, and tweak and polish from there. I wouldn't be so harsh toward Adriaan, Ecto's main developer, except for the fact that the RTF engine munges any HTML you produce as soon as you re-publish. This presents serious usability issues for web developers and bloggers who use CSS in even the most rudimentary of ways.

A few months ago I posted a complaint regarding Ecto's munging of CSS and mentioned that was one of the reason's I looked forward to the Ecto 3 update. I've been waiting since April and Adriaan is good at nothing if he is not good at promising his users that an update is "soon to come." I'm guessing Adriaan didn't approve my comment because he fears such comments would prevent users from buying his broken product.

I've been running with Tinderbox since January. Actually, I've had a license since January and did not start to grapple with the program until April. I started figuring out more of its pieces in June and by mid-July I was in full research swing. Yesterday morning, I wrapped my head around publishing to HTML using Tinderbox and made the research for my current article web-accessible. Those results were not very pretty.

This page improves on what I learned. small numbskull

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Bleary-eyed disappointment

It's been a long twenty-four hours and I have a lot of work noodle marker to do before the first, which gives me precisely two days.

Since yesterday, I've worked out what is the most elegant of weblogging setups I could achieve with Tinderbox. Tinderbox has some rough edges and buggy parts, but I'll focus on what I think should be cleared up immediately.

First, Tinderbox litters the hard drive with superfluous files. It's very annoying, especially if one has meticulously put together a web page from many parts. Surely, Bernstein’s program must be doing something better than writing to disk and concatenating files after they've been written to disk. If not, Tinderbox needs to do a better job of cleaning up after itself: incomplete snippets of valid HTML is garbage.

I wish the power of Tinderbox to link files together could be leveraged in the context of putting together web pages from multiple sources. The only way to do it cleanly is to link using a macro like so.

I'm calling it a night. small numbskull

Thursday, 31 August 2006


I've been working for nearly two days trying to get Tinderbox to export HTML properly. It's confusing. There's no one-button method to publish a set of notes, though I'm guessing that one could write an agent that would automatically export newly created and newly updated items.

The yellow arrow in "Bleary-eyed disappointment" is an artifact of what I find so compelling about Tinderbox. I call it a "noodle." Actually, it's one end of a very long noodle which has many ends. Some day I may even be able to provide a map.

Any end of the noodle will thread to some point along the noodle. The noodle also has been cross-sectioned by means of a monthly archive. I've set the Tinderbox document that contains the source XML for these pieces to cut Tinderbox into slices which follow /site-root/archives/YYYY/MM/ form. These cross sections cut my noodle to pieces.

So, when I said that I was "bleary-Eyed" yesterday, noodle marker I was still struggling. Today, I'm just writing.

I'll be more coherent in the morning. small numbskull