Jesse Lawson

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May 19, 2020 - Blog

Updated styles and cleaner tutorials

With all the new feedback I’ve received on my Rust tutorial from a recent HackerNews thread, I’ve spent a lot of time with the layout that I came up with last year. Usually what will happen is I will go through and completely update the theme, spending a whole weekend trying to format it in another way that will finally make me satisfied so that I can focus on content. Of course, what ended up happening was what happens to every writer: you spend more time futzing with your tools than you do actually writing.

This layout, however, has been my favorite so far. It’s also been the longest running layout I’ve ever stuck with. I owe that to the determination I had from the get-go to model it after my favorite blog theme ever, Octopress. In fact, just going back to that site to find the correct URL to share has given me a strange sense of age: that project is almost a decade old. Truly a testament to how fast time flies when you’re chasing frameworks.1

Since I’m starting a new job soon, I wanted to get a lot of maintenance and TLC stuff out of the way on my site in case I cannot devote time during the week to it. Namely:

  • Updating the css styles to give the tutorial content a little more breathing room
  • Cleaning up the tutorial sidebars
  • Figuring out how to break up the long tutorials into multiple pages

The content sidebar has already rubbed me the wrong way. It sort of just looks like a list of links–and that’s because that’s all it is:

After moving some things around, I finally arrived at this:

A vast improvement, I think.

The last thing I wanted to take care of is redoing my portfolio page. It’s really just a mess of items and I think I can tone it down a lot by just showcasing my writing and, maybe, my music. I am not sure I need to keep ALL of my projects there, only a select few that I don’t mind sharing. Frankly I’m not really sure what the page is for other than holding myself accountable to things I start.

With the new tutorial layout, I’m hoping to provide my introductory Python course this summer in a clean, online, and easy to follow format. Stay tuned!


  1. “Chasing frameworks” is the title of a short essay I wrote for my college students about the nature of the wide-eyed junior programmer at 3:00am. ↩︎