I admit I’m kind of a nerdy designer. I’m picky about text editors and love the command line. I like tools that save me time, and so at some point I started collecting and writing bash alias’s to help me do things like use compass, start a local server, and interact with Drupal via drush. I recently started using different macs at home and work, and so I needed a nice way to keep these little tools aligned between both places.
Sometimes my mouth makes promises that my brain hasn’t thought through fully. That’s the nature of overcommitting, right. Well when I said on Twitter that I planned to watch the session videos from Drupalcon Chicago 2011 as a podcast I figured there would be some Huffduffer-like app or service that would do all the heavy lifting. Nope. Oh well, but now I was bound by the encouragement of some friends and my own desire to watch these things on my iPad on the train.
I have a lot of music, but I’m not a music hoarder. I never just binged on music downloads just because they’re available. At the point at which I bring a song or album into the fold I’m usually pretty excited about the sounds I’m about to experience. Yet somehow I found myself with gigabytes of albums that I hadn’t listened to in months or years. How can this be? For at least a moment I must have loved this dust-covered relic. It was time for an inventory. That was a year ago.
I decided to listen to all, ALL of my collection in alphabetical order by song. I normally listen to full albums, or random playlists of an artist, or the occasional genius playlist based on one song. I had decided that I was just treading the same paths most of the time. If I threw that out I’d get a good picture of all these forgotten gems. I came up with three easy to follow rules.
A couple years ago I read Jonathan Snook’s Spruce It Up article about subsetting fonts to get precisely the characters you need when building font stacks. Good stuff, and at the end of the article he casually drops the gold. If you only have a limited set of characters in your first font, the browser will just fill in the extra characters from the next one. This removes the need to wrap those characters in special markup in order to give them special treatment. For example it’s become fairly common to use a fancy ampersand from one font and set the rest of your text in another using markup like this:
<h1>Birds <span class="amp">&</span> Monkeys</h1>
So you write a lot of CSS, right? I used to be like you. I’ll bet you probably write enough CSS to see tons of possibilities in the code, but also maybe you pull your hair out over some of the limitations? It’s ok, you can admit it. Like when you have to copy/paste code all over your stylesheets, or when you try to remember the browser prefixes and divergent syntaxes for CSS3 techniques, or how there’s no help whatsoever in managing color values. Or maybe you’re one of us super nerds who actually has a use for programmatic loops and logic? If you nodded for even one of those, then let me introduce you to Sass.
Y’know, that was our best Drupaldelphia so far! From the perfect venue at Temple and the sessions, to the keynote and the attendees, it all came together really well.
I don’t know if this is why it worked so well, but I wasn’t as involved in the planning this year. Leading up to last Friday, I was very much in my own world, dealing with work and deadlines, and starting to stress over the two sessions I was involved in. It may have been late, but my panelmates and I sussed out our plan for the Themer’s Roundtable session, and shortly thereafter, I polished my Design in the Browser session as much as I could. Getting those pieces in place gave me enough mental space to see how well this event was going. We had a great mix of Drupal pros and newbies, and I’m happy to report that I saw both types in my sessions.