April is for sharing small projects

I have a small and unoriginal problem: I complete a lot of things to the 80%+ mark, and then I place them carefully in a folder, where they sit. They don’t collect dust, but they do age.

Sometimes to the point that they aren’t even relevant anymore. That introduction to a tool that could have been useful to someone, or those ideas that I have changed my mind about—but I could have probably learned even sooner had I published that piece.

Image that says “April Fools, it’s still March.” in a typeface I designed.

Hey, it’s that font that I still haven’t released.

I’m sure it’s something you can relate to. For me, a lot of these things are blog posts, some are small CSS and JavaScript libraries, a few of them are fonts. And there’s lots of reasons for it: some abstract concern (read: excuse) that it’s not “done,” I am not ready to call it finished, I am distracted by some other project that will also eventually end up in a similar drafts folder or private code repository.

Well, I guess these have piled up a little too much for me. Particularly over the last two years, where I’ve been working for my self and have made many more things in this category, and made even more excuses to not publish any of them. To lower the bar of what a thing is even further:

As much as I’d like to say this is a concious effort to use these services less (especially considering what increasingly feels like being complicit in the negative parts of the platforms), I think I’ve been reading them just as often but getting less out of them.

In April, I’m going to publish at least one of these draft things a week, maybe more. April Fools is an interesting occasion—only half a day. Kind of like a lot of us, who fit our personal projects around the other things we need to do. So I’m going to take this as a fairly arbitrary opportunity to publish some drafts.

A schedule

Here’s what I’ve got in mind:

Date Title Description
March 20 Custom fonts on Squarespace

I’ve written a decently long blog post about using any typeface on Squarespace, beyond the standard, and I’m going to be offering a longer guide, screencast, and code snippets on this. March 20th is the next Type Brigade event—the typography meetup I organize here in Vancouver, so that seems like a good time to let more people know about that.

Follow up I shared this at Type Brigade, and the guide has been posted!

April 1 Flipping on tabular numbers

I wrote over 1,000 words about a single OpenType feature, including examples, and I should probably hit publish on that.

Follow up I am delaying this a bit, but the article is ready and I shared a preview in my last email newsletter.

April TBD Syntax highlight everything My talk from Front-Trends Warsaw and CSS Conf Asia are already available to watch, but I expanded on them both with a complete transcript and all the examples, immediately after my talk in Singapore in November 2016. And then…I never published it!
April TBD Font to Width (vanilla JavaScript) Originally by Chris Lewis & Nick Sherman, Font to Width selects the width of a typeface that fits best depending on the content. I developed a version that didn’t depend on jQuery (and with support for Browserify, Webpack, etc.) for the DDC Hardware site. I tweeted it a single time, and never published the introductory blog post.
April TBD Big Ideas Text Similarly, I forked Zach Leatherman’s BigText as BigIdeasText without the jQuery dependency. The README references two announcement blog posts which return 404s because I wrote them…and never hit publish. This library is still pretty involved in my work today: I build a lot of typographic sites that need text to scale and remain editable, and even though I have ported a lot of this to React, this is still the underlying approach.
April TBD Mono is a dev’s italic A roundup of typefaces that have both monospaced and regular styles. This is really useful for anyone building documentation: stylistically, things will match, and then when you are writing inline code <em>like this for exampel</em>, the x-height will match. (This isn’t something I’m employing on my site right now, but hey, that’s no reason not to publish the post.)

So that’s what I’m thinking for the schedule. If you’re noticing it’s still only mid-March and not yet April—well, most of these things should have been out it April 2017, and some of them even in April 2016.

If you’re coming to Type Brigade №42 on Tuesday, I’ll tell you more about Custom fonts on Squarespace then. If you’re not, and you’d like to hear about any of these posts or would like to join me in this April fools project, you can join my (perhaps now more frequent) newsletter below.