Invented Elements

Type Butter – Optical Kerning

Good idea, but is inventing an element the right approach?

My reason to bring this up is that I’m very interested by how TypeButter accomplishes its kerning: it inserts kern elements with inline style attributes that bear letter-spacing values. Not span elements, kern elements. No, you didn’t miss an HTML5 news bite; there is no kern element, nor am I aware of a plan for one. TypeButter basically invents a specific-purpose element.

Delicious Chrome Extension

The Delicious Chrome Extension currently has 33,414 users and is rated 4/5 stars. However, until yesterday’s release, you had to manually close the popup window after you saved a new bookmark. It wasn’t unusable, but it was terribly annoying at best.

Well, suffer no more! v1.5 of the Delicious Chrome Extension automatically closes the popup after you’ve saved your bookmark; and it’s available right now!

Another well-received feature is it’s customizable keyboard shortcut. Some people like commnd-D, others like control-D or maybe you like something entirely random to save your bookmarks; It’s totally up to you.

Screenshots of v1.5 of the Delicious Chrome Extension:

The ‘Save to Delicious’ popup adds selected text to the notes field.

Customizable keyboard shortcut key.

Quick links to invoke the Save to Delicious popup, your Delicious bookmarks and your Delicious Inbox.

The extension source now lives on GitHub. Please, fork it, make it better, and send me a pull request. I’m certain there are several ways this extension can be made better. Or contribute by reporting any issues or feature requests.

BBEdit10 color schemes

A couple of years ago, I created three color themes for use with John Gruber’s BBEdit plugin, BBColors. With the release of BBEdit 10 last week, they rolled his theming functionality into BBEdit itself. If you were previously using BBColors, your themes are automatically recognized by BBEdit.

BBEdit 10 now provides a native interface to create, switch, and save your own color schemes. That sure doesn’t suck. I packaged all the older themes, U23D, Gentle Honey and Zen and Tea, along with four brand new schemes, inspired by the colors used in Version 3 to the latest, Version 6 of the 2A site (


Download the color schemes (.zip)

To install, unpack the .zip and place the contents in BBEdit’s color scheme directory; ‘users > username > Library > Application Support > BBEdit > Color Schemes’. (your ‘Library’ directory is most likely hidden by default)

Update: I’ve also been collecting several BBEdit Color Schemes and keeping them in this BBEdit-Color-Schemes-Pack github repository. Feel free to fork, add your own, and send a pull request.


Nate Duval

Font Squirrel appears to be a great font generator that will create the various formats needed for the cross-browser use of @font-face. Some colleagues and I have recently been waxing poetically on the legality of using purchased fonts using this CSS2 based method of font embedding. Especially when deployed for clients, in a commercial environment. While @font-face is a bit overdue to go mainstream (A List Apart was touting it as the next big thing in 2007), now that the browsers are coming of age, the tipping point is near. It will dominate other options that are currently bridging the gap, like However, we have come to the conclusion that now is the time to pay more attention to a fonts use policy. Some will explicitly forbid the designer/developer from exposing the font file online. Some will encourage it, and I assume,many more will not mention it. This means web shops should start gathering and using libraries filled with the fonts that encourage the use of @font-face. Here’s where I’m starting. As linked in the previous ALA article: Dieter Steffmann offers up a slew of freely usable fonts and I’m sure several more lists like this, @font-face and 15 Free Fonts You Can Use Today, exist.

Here’s a great explanation of the licensing issue we’re facing with @font-face:

…foundries don’t actually claim copyright in the typefaces themselves. Instead they claim copyright on the .ttf file (or whatever) as a piece of software. Then, when you buy the right to use the software, they make you click “Agree” to an EULA which prohibits you from uploading the file to your website. If you want your users to see your font over the web, then you need to send them that file, and the EULA says you can’t.

The stolen series

Today’s update comes from me spending lots of time on Things Magazine. I love the site and their approach to discussing, pointing out, shouting about, whispering quietly amongst themselves, today’s potentially cluttered online culture. Sometimes they expound, sometimes they don’t. It’s art with some noise, noise with some meaning or even none at all. So I’ve borrowed heavily. It’s one of the few sites I leave Google Reader to read. Jammed in among popular noise makers, few sites demand such attention. There’s a couple of random patterns in use with these updated styles, the newest from Pattern Foundry and a squiggly lines pattern of my own creation which has stuck around.

Internet Explorer 8 “activities”

Activities: Microsoft’s version of microformats? They’re awfully similar & require no work for the developer. The downside? HTML documents will continue to lack the rich markup that microformats offer. We can continue using microformats to mark up our documents of course, but I wonder if this will stagnate their growth.