The Perfect Rib

I knit socks on four (5 inch) double pointed needles, these days from the cuff down, and I enjoy socks with some amount of ribbing at the cuff. Seems reasonable. I also tend to have two other restrictions: Each needle should have the same number of stitches. In the ribbing, each needle should begin with a knit stitch and end with a purl stitch. This somewhat constrains the possibilities. Also given a preference for rubbings that are biased towards knit stitches, I tend to veto options that might otherwise be workable.…

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A Knitting Practice

I've not done much knitting for the last year or so. I have a sweater in progress (a cardigan,) and I have an in progress scarf thing, and that's about it. Or was. I enjoy knitting, and find it both relaxing (the rhythm) and stimulating (the meditative aspects, the project planning and design). And I'm pretty good at it. I've been knitting (mostly on) for the last 10 years (or so,) and am very technically competent (I think.…

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2013 Reflections

I have a hard time passing up a significant calendar event as an opportunity to reflect and synthesize past experiences. Having said that, while I had a pretty good year, it was not a year of big changes. There were a lot of pretty interesting and fun smaller changes and developments in my world and my projects in the last year. In no particular order: This was the year that I went from being "someone who tinkers on code" to being someone who can write code when the situation calls for it.…

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Static Site Compiler Design Notes

For a year or more I've been playing with the idea of writing my own static site generator. I've been producing websites using static site generators for the last 4 or 5 years. For an overwhelming majority of cases, static generation is the right modality; however, there are some significant ways in which the tool chain is not mature. I've been working on an initial pass at a better kind of static site generator, which is a ways away from being "production quality," but the initial idea is in place, so I feel comfortable discussing some of the details.…

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Buildcloth v0.3 Planning

I spent a lot of time at the end of the summer working on finishing out the basic buildcloth functionality, and haven't really gotten the chance to use it properly. There were some flaws: a dumb oversight means that the hash-based dependency checking doesn't work. Buildcloth is a bit complicated and designed for a general purpose. In practical terms, I made buildcloth to perform a task that I've been able to accomplish with 10% or less of the code.…

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Documentation Tooling

I've spent a little bit of time building some non-critical tools for my teammates on my work project, which has got me thinking about tooling for documentation systems. This collection of tools is something that we've started to take for granted, but I think it's pretty novel and worth talking about a bit more. Documentation toolkits, traditionally refer to the system that deals with the production of the documentation for end use, which typically means taking the source text and rendering it into web sites, pdfs, ebooks, and embedded "online help" text.…

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Large Sphinx Deployments

I use Sphinx a lot. Both in the sense that I have easily a dozen active (or reasonably so) projects that I maintain and work with on a regular basis. Sphinx is great, and I feel safe asserting that it's probably the best documentation toolkit in existence and more generally the best tool kit for the production of structured text. There are flaws. I've written here before with greater and lesser descriptions of the pain points of Sphinx.…

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