In which I clean up the mess that is Topics and Themes.

Reboot: Cleaning the Meta Stuff

381 words about creative — 08:15 · 27th Jun 2020

To clean up the mess I made many years ago, I decided to tackle the Themes and Topics pages a little.

This fits quite nicely into steps 4-7 of my design process anyway.

“Themes?” I pretend you ask.

Now, Topics you’ll already know about, it was the 103005 pixels long embarrassment that crashed every tool in my arsenal, meaning I couldn’t even get a screenshot of it.

Archived version of the Topics page

But, Themes. It’s the meta content which has existed for years now but hasn’t been featured very prominently. If you looked at the meta for an entry you might have noticed it.

See that little, “InLife” line?

Yeah, that’s the meta. It’s supposed to say, “In Life,” because it’s in the “Life” theme but some of the archived styles are missing. Another good example of why structure should come before presentation. CSS hides all manners of sins.

The Topics listing page was terrible, so I’ve stripped it back to a simple list of all 223 topics, and alphabetised it. This structure is pretty similar to what I had before but each link now goes to a Topic details page instead of an in-page link. No more black-box problem and more flexibility to make this useful.

The Topic details pages meanwhile are ordered reverse-chronologically and grouped by year (where they span more than 1 year) just like the rest of this site.

I’ve applied the same work to Themes.

In terms of URL structure, I’ve decided to keep them outside the scope of /blog for now because I think I might want Topics and Themes to be available for other content types, such as Notes.

But these currently exist in completely different systems, Jekyll Markdown files vs. Laravel database models, so I don’t actually know how to do that, yet.

Let me know if I’ve broken any past references to /topics#Cupcakes which should now be /topics/cupcakes.

This has been more a gardening task than anything else, a “clearing the weeds to make way for the flowers” -type thing. I don’t know what flowers to plant, yet—that is to say, I haven’t done the rethinking part for these pages, yet.


You’ve just read Reboot: Cleaning the Meta Stuff .

In which, 4 months ago, I wrote 381 words about creative and I covered topics, such as: web design, and behind the scenes.