I’m pretty sure that one of the reasons I never update this blog is
because I don’t focus on any particular topic. Some people can dash
off unfocused blog posts at the drop of a hat. I, for good or ill, am
not a member of that set.
Back in, oh, April-ish, I found a topic that not only I could obsess
over, but has proven to be an inspiration to write about online. I
started looking into Hypertext with a capital aitch, the idea that
writing with little interlinking bits would revolutionize literature
in unfathomable ways. It was a thing in the 90’s, right? Whatever
happened to that?
One thing led to another, and I started a steady diet of reading on
hypermedia APIs, hypertext, and electronic literature. And unlike
other such interests, I kept at it. This one hasn’t flagged beyond
reading a book or two. I am up to my armpits in instapaper articles
and PDFs (and I even purchased a couple trade paperbacks) that I not
only plan on reading some day, but am actually working on a reading
list to make sure I cover certain topics. Which sounds like a totally
normal thing to do, but it is far afield from my usual spotty reading
Given the nature of the topic, I wanted not just to learn the topic,
but create within the constraints of the topic. And while octopress is
a fine blogging platform, I did not want to dash off a blog. I wanted
to craft a site. Which meant I’ve spent more time than I probably
ought to have diving into free font sites and learning CSS and Sass
and ultimately Middleman.
And then I managed to squeak out what you see at Hyperverses.
While eventually (one of these days!) my coding chops will be almost
good enough to get across to the computer what my brain wants to do,
right now I generate a static site using Middleman. Which is classic
hypertext. It’s a step up from writing my own HTML, to be sure. But
it’s not as easy as blogging. I have to rewrite the site config every
time I build the site just to make sure the index page consists of the
new piece I’ve written. The CSS is atrocious, I bet the HTML is
nonstandard. There is a good deal wrong with this site. But.
Since my focus is on hypertext, I wanted text to play a prominent role
in the design. I had designed a pretty decent typographic logo for a
header. It didn’t sit well. Finally I just ended up putting the site
name as a straight typed logo for the site. It still didn’t set well
on top, so I moved it and a lot of the boring site navigation stuff
down in the footer.
The drawback to the approach I’ve taken is that while I’m happy with
how the design has turned out, the architecture behind the site is not
as “hypermedia” as I had originally envisioned. But at least now I
have a spot to write about it.
I created the site so I could spare the
less than tens of numbers of readers of this blog endless diatribes on
whatever literary or RESTful topic popped into my brain. Yet I did not
write. Partly because my personal life has been busy, but mostly
because I didn’t have a toolchain for the type of site I wanted to
build until I discovered Middleman. And even then, I’m not sure how
long middleman will be around. So it serves my purpose for now.
Normally in the past if I’d encountered the obstacle of not being able
to write about the thing I really really wanted to write about right
then, I’d have given up. But instead I got my feet wet by creating a
twitter account, @hyperverses. And I
got hooked with that, doing research and finding new things to read
and occasionally making a point of my own.
The site only has one page. I will be adding more soon. The footer
almost certainly will be expanding in scope. I’ve started tagging the
pages within middleman but I have no idea if I’ll ever use the tags.
But it’s a start, and I’m excited.