I’ve had time this week to write more. I wrote a post for Optic titled The Missing Pieces of Design First Workflows. I also wrote a few posts here on this site—I think this is the fourth post of the week. In the last weeknote I mentioned I was considering buying a new chair. I had used my old one for the last 20 years. The padding on the seat and back were all but gone, and there hadn’t been any lumbar support for the last decade.
I mentioned in my latest weeknotes that I’ve started using Rake to automate writing tasks for this site. The first ones were for creating a new post and deploying it. I can now run a command that creates the files and opens my editor for writing. I’ve wanted to add a way to schedule posts. Lots of times, I keep an idea in my head, sit down to write it out, then immediately publish.
When we want to discuss an abstract concept in software, we reach for a metaphor. For instance, when we want to describe being quick and nimble, able to react to any change the world throws at us, we say we’re agile. When we try avoid over-powering development processes that push us toward the inevitable edge without letting us pause to reflect and learn, we say we’re avoiding waterfall. But no metaphor is safe from the petrifying effects of pop culture.
When tinkering with a new standard, one of the first responses people send me is a link without any other text with it. It’s a link to this XKCD comic. Even though I expect it, it still gives me a laugh. I know I know. Do we really need yet another standard? Now I unapologetically say yes, we need another standard. One might interpret the XKCD comic as showing how new standards stifle innovation.
My experiment of starting over on this site is working. If I counted correctly, this is my 11th post here. I’ve written in a few weeks what took me several years before. I haven’t stopped tinkering with the site, though, but it’s a different tinkering. I started out publishing with make, but decided to switch to Rake because I can. I added a couple new tasks, one for writing posts and one for creating new weeknotes.
Entropy is concerned with the amount of thermal energy that is available for work. The higher the entropy, the less the available energy for work. And vice versa. The second law of thermodynamics states entropy will increase over time in a closed system until it reaches equilibrium. All the available energy will level out eventually as entropy increases. I recently wrote about the idea of understanding the complexity of a schema by measuring its entropy.
I’ve been tinkering with an idea I called an API Design System. It tries to take the thinking behind Design System patterns and apply them to APIs. You can read the overview on the site to get the idea behind it. I’ll share details behind why I’ve been working on this. What we lose writing style guides in text I’ve worked at places where we tried to come up with an API style guide.
I mentioned before my habit of tinkering on my site’s code without end. This kept me from writing. So I started over. I wanted to set myself up for writing more frequently, and starting over felt like the best move. I also wanted to keep a lookout for other areas that created friction. One I quickly saw was using Git. It’s not great for the writing process. I’d create a file, stage it, commit it, then push it.
I traveled to Alabama this week for a golf trip with some friends from my college years. We played at Gunter’s Landing and Hampton Cove. We played almost 12 hours of golf the first day and probably 10 the next—that’s a lot of golf. But it was fun and the team I was on won our friendly tournament. All the practice over the last couple of months paid off. Thankfully, my back healed up enough to let me play.
I remember hearing Seth Godin say on a podcast that he thinks everyone should start a blog and write on it every day. In 2017 he wrote his 7,000th post, which he said added up to 37 full-length books. When asked for advice on becoming a better designer, he said to write every day. Last year I got on a kick of reading Annie Dillard. I enjoyed her style. She would take her observations and weave them in throughout her essays.