Site Improvements

Note: This is a nerdy meta-post about some work I’ve done on this site. I’d encourage you to skip it if you’re not so inclined.

I’ve been messing around with this site a bit, although most of the improvements won’t be noticed by most readers. There have been quite a few small tweaks to the CSS, which are the product of me brushing up on the progress CSS has made over the past couple of years.

I’ve been working on performance a bit too. I run content blockers in my browser these days, and was bothered that the custom fonts I use on this site (Klavika Condensed and Elena from Process Type Foundry) were also being identified as tracking users. I had been using Adobe Typekit to serve fonts, and their JavaScript was being flagged as a tracker. Luckily, Process Type Foundry also allows me to host the fonts directly (something you don’t get Typekit when you license fonts directly from them), so I added them to my server and updated the code. This also allowed me to put a long cache value for them (I added more aggressive caching values to assets in general), and I’m sure the value of that more than makes up for any performance that might have been gained by having Adobe’s CDN deliver the fonts. And no more tracker warning! In fact, I’ve removed Google’s site analytics from the site too.

While I was at it, I’ve added gzip compression more liberally throughout the site, and now have a 97/100 Google page speed evaluation, and the last bit doesn’t seem worth the effort, so I’m stopping there.


I’ve never been happy with how posting images on this site worked. I’ve used Flickr for many years, but the workflow for embedding a photo there on this site is not great, and am increasingly aware of embedding code that might turn into a tracker (see the font situation above). So, I’ve started working on hosting photos myself. It’s not ready for prime time, but hopefully you’ll start seeing more photos here soon. There’s an added benefit, in that I get to specify exactly how I want images to display. For instance, I’m working on having this site specify a range of sizes available to display, so that retina screens can get a higher-resolution version to display, while others can save the bandwidth.

CSS Grid

I’ve also been brushing up on the latest in HTML, and my private dashboard for images now uses CSS Grid. If you’re so inclined and haven’t checked it out yet, it’s definitely the start of a big change on the web. Browser support is solid and tools are reasonably solid as well. Along those lines, the new Firefox Quantum is really nice. I haven’t used Firefox in years, but this is a nice step forward, and worth checking out if you haven’t given it a look in awhile. The Developer Edition has some developer tools that are really nice, including some for CSS Grid in particular. Definitely worth a look. I’m looking forward to sharing some grid-enabled image galleries here in the future.

iPhone/Small Screens

The site should now scale down better for mobile devices (screens with displays of less that 768 px). I’ve only tested this on my iPhone X and iPad Pro, so it’s not exactly scientific. However, the old version didn’t scale well at all, so I think this should be a bit better for everyone, even if not perfect. I’ll keep iterating on this aspect over time.

Next Up

More progressive size adjustments for different screen sizes; photo management and display enhancements; changes to the front page to show a smaller amount of long posts with a “Read More” link to the full article.