Topic Based Authoring Failure

I wrote a long time ago, about /technical-writing/atomicity which (more or less) is the same as topic based authoring. Both describe the process of breaking information into the smallest coherent blocks and then using the documentation toolkit to compile the kind resource. Topic based approaches to documentation promise reduced maintenance costs and greater documentation reuse. I'm not sure if anyone's used "ease of authorship," as an argument in favor of topic based approaches (they're conceptually a bit difficult for the author,) but you get the feeling that it was part of the intention.…

Keep reading

Build Stages

For work, I've been working on revising our build system so that less of the build definition happens in Makefiles and more of it happens in Python scripts. This post is an elaboration. I'm a complete partisan of reusing standard tools, and so moving away from Make felt like a big/hard jump. However: 1. Process creation is expensive, and every "job" starts a new shell and process, which takes time.…

Keep reading

On Generic Build Systems

I spent a bunch of time this week taking a bunch of my work project's build system. We've gone from having most of the heavy lifting done by Make, to having only doing the general high level orchestration with Make and doing all of the heavy lifting with (simple) custom Python code. The logic in the previous system was: Make is everywhere, stable, and consistent. In the spirit of making the project as compatible and accessible to everyone it made sense to use common tools and restrict dependencies.…

Keep reading

Micro Events

I've been enjoying blogging over on the micro tychoish site and thought I'd catalog these posts here. A Day in the Life Software Packaging Personal Software Change Small Data More to come!…

Weekend Accomplishments

(Note: Because I'm terrible at remembering to post entries during the week, this post is actually from last week. But it's still interesting!) The past few weeks have been somewhat disjointed for me. I'd been working a lot to wrap up a long expected release, followed by a vacation without a project plan, and a few more busy weeks. On top of this, I spent a bunch of time working on wrapping up, or at least releasing a few personal project to assuage some guilt.…

Keep reading

New Knitting Project: Cardigan

I've mentioned that I was working on a new sweater a few months ago, but I've neglected to post or write about the project at all. Let's change that now: In most respects it's just like a number of existing sweaters that I've made: two color patterns, using a combination of mid-sized extrapolation of Scandinavian mitten patterns, with some influence of Turkish stocking patterns arranged in panels to convey strong vertical lines.…

Keep reading

While I've Been Gone...

... from blogging. See /posts/on-my-return-to-blogging for the background. I sometimes look at other people's blogs, and think "wow, that's sharp," and while I really like the current tychoish theme, there's a distinct lack of gradients, really polished typography, strong crisp lines, and elegant side bars. Not that I have a clue what I'd put in a side bar: Hell, I can't even find good things to put in the Cyborg Institute](http://cyborginstitute.…

Keep reading