I write on­go­ing in an XML di­alect that is most­ly HTML with a few lit­tle ex­tras; I use Emacs to do the edit­ing, but any old text ed­i­tor would do.

The es­say frag­ments that make up on­go­ing are or­ga­nized by date in­to a di­rec­to­ry tree (vis­i­ble in the URIs), and each is filed in­to one or more hi­er­ar­chi­cal cat­e­gories; you can nav­i­gate around both the date and cat­e­go­ry ap­pa­ra­tus.

The para­graph font is FF Tisa Web Pro, de­liv­ered via Typekit; I wrote the pro­cess up.

Since I'm a hope­less geek, I couldn't pos­si­bly use any one of the ex­cel­lent personal-web-site or blog­ging tools out there; it's all done with a Perl script imag­i­na­tive­ly named ong.­pl that main­tains a Mysql database con­tain­ing ba­sic meta­da­ta for each es­say. The Perl script runs over the source tree, fig­ures out what needs to be up­dat­ed, gen­er­ates any new notes, and al­ways re­gen­er­ates the top-level page and RSS/A­tom feed­s. It's not rock­et sci­ence, there are less than 3,000 lines of Perl rep­re­sent­ing weeks not months of ef­fort.

Then there’s the com­ment sys­tem, which is un­der 1,000 lines of Ruby; its de­sign is bru­tal­ly min­i­mal, in­volv­ing no databas­es or frame­work code.

The lit­tle pic­ture on the right that changes ev­ery so of­ten in­volves some JavaScript voodoo.

A lot of the work is in han­dling the pic­tures, which are re­sized with ImageMag­ick. I used to add my own drop shad­ows, but mod­ern CSS takes care of that.

The text is right-justified and, un­til CSS hy­phens work, hy­phen­at­ed up­stream in Perl.

One virtue of the set­up is that it works ex­act­ly the same on my Mac OS X lap­top stag­ing en­vi­ron­ment and the De­bian box where on­go­ing lives. Get­ting the ImageMag­ick pro­cess­ing up and work­ing both places used to be a se­ri­ous pain in the butt un­til Home­brew made the world bet­ter.

The lay­out tries pret­ty hard to be good clean CSS; the orig­i­nal 2003 ver­sion, stolen from the best, name­ly Eric Costel­lo and Tan­tek Çelik, sur­vived un­til 2011; the cur­rent ver­sion is de­scribed in Re­flow­ing. Wel­l, ex­cept then I fig­ured out how to ex­pand pix in­to the left mar­gin be­cause size mat­ter­s.

Al­so, there's a DOCTYPE dec­la­ra­tion that claims the out­put is XHTML 1.1 and the W3C val­ida­tor seems to agree, so to the ex­tent that’s vir­tu­ous, so is on­go­ing. There are some com­plaints from the ac­ces­si­bil­i­ty check­ers be­cause of all the lit­tle ... links at the end of the ar­ti­cle sum­maries; it's bad prac­tice to have links to mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent places with the same an­chor tex­t. I won­der how se­ri­ous a sin this is?

I could prob­a­bly achieve a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent look & feel for on­go­ing by switch­ing the CSS, if I want­ed to. I could cer­tain­ly pro­duce a cellphone-friendly ver­sion with al­most no work and may well do that one of these days.

I've got it all ter­ri­bly au­to­mat­ed so I can start a new en­try, proof an en­try, and pub­lish it to the web­site with sin­gle keystrokes in Emacs; I rec­og­nize lots of peo­ple wouldn't be OK with that.

On the "pro" side I can type in any HTML weird­ness that strikes my fan­cy, which might be a "con" ex­cept for the XML pro­ces­sor in the pipeline helps keep me hon­est.

Head­er Graph­ics · Oc­ca­sion­al­ly I get mail ask­ing “what’s that pic­ture be­hind the ti­tle?

Header graphic: Big Island sunset detail

Hawai’ian sun­set from a Big Is­land moun­tain­side.

Header graphic: Regina amaryllis detail

De­tail of an amaryl­lis blos­som in Regi­na, Saskatchewan’s city con­ser­va­to­ry.

Header graphic: Toronto skyline from the airport, spot the CN Tower

Toron­to sky­line from the air­port; spot the CN Tow­er.

Header graphic: Sake bottle detail

De­tail of a sake bot­tle.

Header graphic: leaves


Header graphic: Oxford English Dictionary plate detail

De­tail of one of the plates used to print the orig­i­nal 1928 ver­sion of the Ox­ford English Dic­tionary.

Header graphic: Koper-Capodistria door detail

De­tail of a door in the old town in Koper-Capodistria.

Header graphic: English countryside detail

Wilt­shire coun­try­side un­der cloud­s.

Header graphic: Bodleian library courtyard detail
Header graphic: Makuhari Prince hotel detail

The side of the Makuhari Prince hotel, not far from the beach.

Header graphic: Moss on a tree

Close-up of spring­time moss on a tree-side.

Header graphic: Brick storefront on Main Street detail

Sun­lit brick store­front on Vancouver’s Main Street.

Header graphic: seawater.

Ocean waves.

Header graphic: Vancouver sunset detail

Van­cou­ver sun­set.

Header graphic: Jellybean slide scan detail

Old scanned 35mm slide of some jelly­bean­s.

Header graphic: Trans-Canada highway in Coquitlam detail

Trans-Canada high­way in Co­quit­lam, shot from mov­ing car head­ing west and home.

Header graphic: Book binding detail

Bind­ing of an old book.

Header graphic: Pansies at Murray’s detail

Pan­sies at Murray’s.

Header graphic: Rose shot with the then-new Canon S50 detail

Rose shot with the then-new Pen­tax S50.

Header graphic: Red sunset clouds detail

De­tail, red sun­set cloud­s.

Header graphic: Mom’s carpet detail

This is the first head­er graph­ic on­go­ing ev­er had. It’s a close-up of a piece of ori­en­tal car­pet in my Mom’s col­lec­tion. For the first cou­ple of years af­ter launch, it was tiled across the top, un­til I got tired of look­ing at the same thing all the time; and it’s still the ba­sis of the lit­tle diamond-shaped on­go­ing icon that might be ap­pear­ing right now in your browser’s ad­dress bar.

Header graphic: Fourth Ave. in Vancouver detail

Shot through the wind­shield on Vancouver’s Fourth Av­enue.

Header graphic: Fireworks at the ballpark detail

Fire­works at the ball­park.

Header graphic: Shingles at #3 West 19th Ave. detail

Shin­gles on the old house at #3 West 19th Ave., Van­cou­ver, in a eu­lo­gy for the old Canon S50.

Header graphic: Vancouver slug detail

Ex­treme close-up of Van­cou­ver wildlife, caught in mo­tion.

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