Mandaris Moore

An example diagram created with PlantUML.
An example diagram created with PlantUML.

I'm going to be changing the pelican posts that I have that use the PlantUML plugin to be in the draft status.

I really enjoy having a way to put my words into a diagram, but I honestly haven't had a need to and having my computer pause for a second as it starts up java to render the diagrams everytime has gotten a little annoying.

Going forward, I'll use an application to create the diagrams and then just add them to my images directory.

A test simple test of Grafio.
A test simple test of Grafio.

A thought it would be nice to have a better way of making diagrams from my phone. I’ve been lusting after OmniGraffle for years but I don’t have the money or drive to invest into unlocking the full power.

So thought I would try one of the many free apps in the store. I can’t say that I like it too much at this point as it completely deleted an item I was trying to resize. Still, you get what you pay for and I’m starting to rethink my idea of using my iPhone as a place to make something like this.

So, I think that I've finished the foundation for my website.

I'm fairly proud of the structure of it and the amount of meta data that I've placed into it.

Here is a poem.

Type,type, type
I am typing
- A child

A mind map of what the goals are for my new blog theme
A mind map of what the goals are for my new blog theme

I've been having a desire to make a new website, but I haven't really been thinking about what I want from it. I took some time to brainstorm so ideas and broke it down into three things.


I want people to be able to read the site. I've had a couple scares where I thought something would happen to my vision. I want what I'm reading to be read by everyone.

Even if it's just me in the future.

Quick to Load

I want the page to load fast. I think I could break this into two smaller goals.

Reduce the number of calls to external libraries

Modern OSs have a lot of fairly good fonts and not every website need to have the entire library for css and/or javascript that you want. Although CDNs can help with that, I feel what I'm creating needs to make yet another http request for the end users.

Keep the syntax for the site to a minimum

I don't want to add extra code just for code sake. I want the person to get in and do what they want - which is read- and then move on.

I want people to be able to find out what I'm saying. It could be helpful for them. Maybe it's something technical or just a story that I choose to share.

A stone statue of a woman standing by herself.
A stone statue of a woman standing by herself.

One thing that has been bothering me for a while is the fact that most of the websites that I was going to and the system that I was using to generate my blog were wrapping stand alone images into <p> tags.

For example:

![Alt message](url/to/image)

would turn into:

<p><img alt="Alt message" src="url/to/image" /></p>

To me, this doesn't make sense that you would have an image in an unnessary container.

Sure, it wouldn't been seen by most people, but don't think it parses to well for screen readers and is probably a hastle for webdesigners who have to account for this with generated content.

What's the solution?

Well, pelican does offer a wide array of plugins, but I've already worked with plugins before and I didn't want whatever solution that I came accross to be specific to pelican.

Luckily, I didn't have to come up with something all by myself because @jdittrich created an extension that you can add to python-markdown.

This make the markdown:

![Alt message](url/to/image)

into the following:

<figure><img alt="Alt message" src="url/to/image"><figcaption>Alt message</figcaption>

Adding the extension to pelican

The instructions on adding markdown extensions was a little difficult for me to follow during my first read. Which actually turned into a learning experience as I had to read over the code.

Ultimately, I had to add the following to to get it working.

# Markdown Plugins
    'extension_configs': {
        'markdown.extensions.codehilite': {'css_class': 'highlight'},
        'markdown.extensions.extra': {},
        'markdown.extensions.meta': {},
    'output_format': 'html5',

One last thing

When I was experimenting with this extension, I noticed that it didn't allow for the information found in references to be placed in the <figcaption> tag.

I made a little change and am waiting for my pull request to be merged.

It was a busy day today! Every one in the family had an activity to go to. Ultimately, I ended up staying at home for part of it. It felt good to just stay at home and do a little cleaning.

I did spend sometime working on a script to move these small posts that I’m making into my normal storage for my writing. I’m actually pretty proud of it setting my mind to doing something and following through.

What’s my next step?

Getting a work flow for images. t felt good to just stay at home and do a little cleaning.

I did spend sometime working on a script to move these small posts that I’m making into my normal storage for my writing. I’m actually pretty proud of it setting my mind to doing something and following through.

What’s my next step?

Getting a work flow for images.

There are a couple things that I still have to finish for the website theme plugin. They are margin images and images in the main column. It should be to hard and in fact this post that you are reading is an example of me using it.

In fact, I'm going to put a margin image here on the side followed by a small table of what I had for breakfast the last three days.

This is guy keeps getting better!
This is guy keeps getting better!

Day of week Breakfast
Sunday Eggs and fruit
Monday Protein Shake
Tuesday Leftover serial

Wow, wasn't that amazingAlthough this all looks nice, I think this might be the last update to the code for a while. . Now that we got that working we can get the column images working too.

Now to follow up with the column image. I hope that it looks cool in your browser of choice.

This example was lefted directly from the Tufte website. I hope that it works.

Well, until next time!

I recently pushed the button to update my site and push my new theme to the world. It felt good to get it out there because it has been dormant for years now and I had thought about shutting it down sometimes. During the time that I had NOT updated, I had switched jobs and kind of doubted everything I was working on.

In a lot of ways, the doubt in my own abilities was part of the reason that it took so long to update because I just didn't think that it was good enough. In my mind, I thought "If it's not perfect than I won't show anything at all".

This is the wrong way of thinking about it.

It's almost childish in a way and reminds me of how I'd refuse to write the steps when I was doing my math homework1.

So now what?

Well, I've got a new redesign that loads really fast and looks pretty cool. The next steps outside of the technical details that I put in my previous post is to find my direction of the site again.

Currently, I'm using Day One for my journal entries and although this is my personal site I don't think I'll be putting entries from there here (more likely is that this entry will be an entry).

I think I'll probably put links to things that are really cool or some tutorials that I've been thinking about making.

We'll have to see.

  1. It was something that a couple of high school friends would do. We thought it was cool to get the answer completely in our head without writing all the steps of logic down on paper. It was stupid because the teacher would give you partial credit if you showed your work. 

category: blogging
tags: tufte, blog
status: published

Well, tonight is the night. I got the site design to where I'd like it to be. It's simple, easy to read and very fast. I tried looking at it in a couple of different view ports using Safari's Responsive Design Mode and it made me even more sure about what I'm doing here.

I understand that there are a lot of css/javascript frameworks out there and it would have been A LOT easier just to pick something like that and start posting. There is something to be said about just focusing on the actual words that go in the blog instead of how it looks like. I wanted my site to reflect me and what I'm about.

This is a message to me that I can complete the goals that I set out to do. It might take me a while but this has been so worth it.

Next up

Well, the initial design is done but there are a couple more things that I should probably finish up.

  1. Finish the rest of the tags (marginimage, columnimage)
  2. Add the analytics Not a real priority because I don
  3. Clean up the Archive page
  4. Create a 404 page
  5. Decrease the spacing between multiple footnotes1
  6. Clean up the regular expressions used to parse for the plugins During the process of trying to figure out how to do this theme, I spent a lot of time whether to do this in pelican as a plugin or the python markdown. I am happy that it is working but I am not happy with how fragile it is.
  7. Discuss Comments
  8. Create options to make it easier to go to categories and tags
  9. OpenGraph

I've done a couple comparisons with other pelican templates and I feel that I should have some of this ready for other users who want to try out the Tufte style without worry so much about how it fits with what a website is supposed to do2.

Well, it is getting kind of late for me here and I've got to push the button to make this public to the world.

  1. When I was first introduced to markdown, one of the things I thought was the coolest was the fact that you could have these little babies to put on the bottom of the page. If you look through my archieves you'll see that I use them off and on to do my writing. Some websites have them at the end or use a popup to show them when you click on them. I think I'll probably move to side and margin notes. Either way, when you get two or more they really start eating up space. 

  2. It took me a lot of time to pick a template when I first came to pelican and even then I found myself modifying it. 

Today, I've decided that I was going to push my website out to the masses before the end of the week. This is a personal blog and just because it isn't perfect it is something that I created and I want to take pride in the fact that I'm willing to get out there and work on something and make it better.

Some of the things that I'd like to work on will be the handling of navigation at the top and figuring out how to get the tufte style to work properly with pelican. I attempted to get everything working with a liquid tag but the parser doesn't work well with blocklevel tags and wraps it in <p> so the expected css doesn't apply properly. This only applies to fullwidth figures but I'd like it all to be uniform.