The Elm language is often cited as an up-and-comer for web front end development. I was attracted to it largely because of the compiler’s friendly and extremely helpful error messages. It’s really attractive in many ways.
But when I started looking at examples, I often found myself thinking things like “Why is this so inconsistent?” or “Why is this syntax so complicated?“. And it finally occurred to me that I’ve been ruined by the way Clojure/ClojureScript/Lisp/Scheme do things. I can’t seem to go back.
For a little while now, I’ve been working on an application that manages a list of documents, providing multiple views that the user can edit.
The application looks something like this:
The user selects the document they wish to view or edit by selecting it from the large
TableView in the middle of the window. The area on the right provides controls to view and edit details. (The area on the left is for filtering the documents displayed in the central table.)
Based on some early advice, I had watchers on the focus property of the fields that could be edited. When a control lost focus, any changes were written to the database. The user didn’t have to do anything to save their work. It just happened.
This worked with Java 7 and JavaFX 2. After the switch to Java 8 and JavaFX 8, things were not quite the same. If a user was making a change somewhere and then selected another document without moving to another editing view, the data was lost. The focus change notification did not arrive before the new document was selected in the table (repopulating the editing control before the data was saved.)
This probably has no interest to anyone but me, but you may notice a change in the blog theme today. I’ve been dissatisfied with the typography of the blog for quite some time. Today I set out to try to find a theme that had better typography. Man, what a mess!
There are a zillion WordPress themes out there. Some awful, but many quite good. However, finding a minimalist theme intended for writing and reading is surprisingly difficult. They seem to jump from those with no bells and whistles at all (see mnmlist or less or Hemingway Rewritten simple for example) to those that have galleries and seem to be photo driven. A lot of “responsive” themes seem to give ugly results when shown on a nice big monitor as opposed to a tiny phone screen.
I just want to write stuff and have a few side widgets. It has to be capable of supporting code listings, of course, and the few little widgets I use for navigation (archive, categories, and tags). That’s enough for me.
So this is now Two Thousand Twelve, an update to the Two Thousand Eleven them I used previously. There are still things I don’t care for, like the way the blog header and image are laid out, the typography (could be better), ugly links to read the rest of long stories, and on and on. But I’m too lazy to write my own. It isn’t really hard, just tedious (says the guy who has only read the tutorials.)
Dave Winer’s new outliner, Fargo, does most of what I want and seems a great tool. It even integrates with WordPress. Maybe that’s something to look into another day. The Truly Minimal theme looks almost right too.
Many of the programs I write need a way to enter and edit a two-dimensional grid of data in the user interface. Such a grid doesn’t need to be a full-fledged spreadsheet, just provide flexible data entry and editing. Alas, there doesn’t seem to be such a thing and I haven’t created one that I’m satisfied with.
Not a very inviting byline, I admit. People have asked what it means. It’s a joke of course.