More Javascript Magic

Again, I must say that people are amazing! Thanks to Jesse Atkinson I have been able to introduce a new site feature. We now have Arrow Key Navigation![1] The introduction of this feature is part of my ongoing project to make everyone’s reading experience of this site even more pleasent.

This idea came to me the other day when I was at a meet-up with Merlin Mann.[2] He was extolling (as he does) the awesomeness of keyboard navigation in gmail. I thought that this would be a great feature to incorporate here at The Eighth Way.

This is what Keyboard Navigation does:

  1. Arrow Up/Down: Using these keys on any page on my site it will auto-scroll from one article to another.[3]
  2. Arrow Right/Left: Using these keys you will be able to navigate forward and back through pages of older to newer posts.[4]

Because this makes navigation a lot easier I will be increasing the number of posts that are visible on each page.

Try it out. It’s like magic!


  1. Javascript really is the duct tape of the Interwebs.  ↩

  2. Merlin is a font of super great ideas. He has keen instincts for what is helpful and what is extraneous.  ↩

  3. What’s cool is that the script recognizes where you are on the page so it’s smart enough to scroll up or down from your current position on the page.  ↩

  4. In other words, you don’t need to click the Older or Newer link at the bottom of the page. You can just use the right/left arrow keys.  ↩

Unread

I really like the idea of an app being comfortable. Comfortable means always knowing where you are. It means not worrying about making a mistake. It means information has an obvious visual hierarchy: bold titles, tidy paragraphs, and spacious margins. Comfortable means there’s not visual clutter to distract you, except for those items that are supposed to stand out, like buttons or the damn status bar.

Jared Sinclair has created a masterpiece with his new app Unread. It is one of a handful of apps that have capitalized on the design possibilities that have opened up with iOS 7. It's precisely what an RSS reader ought to be.

New Habit for Posting

I've been working on a new workflow to help facilitate a more frequent posting schedule. Now that I have a good way to format linkposts you will be seeing at least one per day. I also plan on posting at least one long form post per week. I'll be happy to share this new workflow with you in a future post. All I can say is that it's so much more efficient and significantly diminishes my anxiety to make the most of this this blog. I want to thank everyone for their patience and support.

Link Posts: Update and Thank You

Twitter is an amazing thing. Maybe it's not Twitter that's amazing. Maybe it's the people who I know through Twitter that are awesome. Either way, after spending some time with SquareSpace support I couldn't find a simple solution to adding custom formatting to linkposts with this new template. Because of the way SquareSpace works I don't have direct access to the HTML or CSS. However, you can "inject" code to the Header or Footer of the site and add custom CSS.

I appealed on Twitter for some help because I'm very much a novice with HTML and CSS. However, I'm graced to know a number of developers and designers who are not only skilled but also generous. I want to publicly thank everyone who responded to my appeal:

Sid
Greg
Joe
Jesse

You guys are great!

In the end, I opted to solve the problem with Joe's solution because it was super easy to implement and it worked well with my current needs and limitations.

From now on you will see an icon of a box with an arrow jumping out of it following the title of any linkpost. Hopefully that will clearly indicate to readers that if you click on the post's title it will take you to the external article I'm commenting on in my post.

bigfoot.js

I’ve sucessfully implimented bigfoot.js footnotes on the site. They make it alot easier for you, the reader, to read footnotes.[1] I don’t like the triple dot format but I’ve seen some examples where this has been modified to a standard number system that looks much cleaner. However, the default settings will work for now. I expect that I’ll tweek it over time.


  1. Like this nifty example here.  ↩


Update: I've modified the CSS so that the bigfoot.js footnote markers are something that work with my site a little better. I've exchanged that three dot oval I dislike with an 8-pointed star. I felt this was a fitting image since the 8-pointed star is associated with my holy father St. Dominic.

I hope this is a better solution for readability. All you need to do is whenever you see a ✵ click it and watch the javascript magic.

Link Posts

The previous post from earlier today The Family That Prays is a link post. For those of you unfamiliar with this sort of post the idea is that clicking on the title of the article will take you to the original article. However, I've noticed that this new template doesn't treat the titles of link posts differently than regular posts. That makes it a little difficlt for everyone. I will see what I can do to help make this easier. In the mean time I will make sure to diligently mark these sort of posts appropriately with the tag: "Link Post."


Update: After trying to find a complext soultion to this problem it was suggested to me that I just append something to the end of each linkpost.

I think it's the correct solution for my audience. Sometimes it's great to have someone else look at a problem. I would have wasted may hours solving a problem that I didn't really need to solve.


Update 2: Going forward I will be using the same 8-pointed star that I've assigned to footnotes to indicate any posts that are linkposts. I hope this will help sufficiently distinguish them from standard posts.

Remember that a link post is a short comment on a external article that is linked to by the title. All you need to do to read the linked article is click on the article title.

Redesign: In Fact

I recently lamented certain aspects of the design of this site. Well, the rolling stone gathers no moss. I've begun the process of redesigning it and I'm happy with the progress so far. My hope is that the design will continue to fit the primary purpose of The Eighth Way, namely, the communication, in long form, of those things that I've been contemplating. I'm hoping that the new design will fit this mission a little better than its predecessor. I've tried to join together the aesthetic aspects into a more coherent unity and keep in mind the functional need for readability. I'm throughly grateful for the original designer of the template I've chosen as the underlying design and Squarespace for providing this marvelous hosting platform. I'm also grateful to Benjamin Alexander for funding The Eighth Way this year. I'm also eminently grateful for all those who choose to visit this site. God has been wondrously generous. It's my ardent hope that this little work will serve to foster a greater love and devotion to Him by critically confronting the difficult things we all experience in this life.

Come and see the new design.

Podcasts

I'm getting a little down with podcasting. I listen to podcasts, I like podcasts, I've been approached to host a podcast. I think podcasts are an awesome idea. I just don't know how to approach the genre.

I was looking at the top list of podcasts as categorized by Apple and I noticed a trend. The vast majority of the most popular podcasts are about making stuff, making stuff efficiently, and then coping with the emotional drain of making stuff.

If I were to host a podcast it wouldn't be about making stuff. It definitely wouldn't be about coping with life. It certainly wouldn't be about religion as an emotional snuggy. But this seems to be what people like to listen to today.

This problem isn't an easy one to solve.

RSS

It was suggested to me that I should make a note about why I don't have an RSS button. Well, I have a super-fancy java script deal going on in the background. All you need to do is put the main eighthway.com URL in your RSS Reader of choice and the wiz-bang magic elves will do the rest. Boom!

I do monitor the process, but if you notice that it breaks; please let me know.