Things I learned the week of July 8

Canadian brand guidelines

Found here.

Sort of cool. I don't know what the purpose of this is, though.

Every now and again it seems like a progressive, liberal government somewhere in the world comes out with some kind of comprehensive brand system. Sweden Sans comes to mind. It's a lovely font. And I appreciate the effort put forward by the government to establish a sort of brand presence. And I'll accept that maybe this font is in use all over, within Sweden, and I just haven't seen it. But it feels like a... I don't want to say cheap, but it feels like an effort to purchase a national identity. Rather than to build on holistically.

Like, going through these brand guidelines. They're like 60 pages long. They feature all sorts of inspiring-type text set in a bespoke font. It begins, "Canada is more than a place on a map. It's a beacon to the world." But it doesn't resonate with me. What does that mean? "Canada is a destination for those with open minds and intrepid spirits." What does that mean?

Whereas I was talking with Sam earlier today and she was asking me about pogos (corn dogs), or visiting La Belle Province for a meal, or going to get poutine, and these feel like more, I don't know, sturdy? touchstones of Canadian culture. But more than that--club sandwiches and circuses, the gaudy black-yellow-blue of the Sureté du Québec logo. All of these feel, somehow, more like a brand to me. Maybe it's just Quebec. Maybe it's just me.

Somehow these feel more like the fabric of the Canadian brand to me.

How to make React apps more error-resistant

Found here.

I like this.

I'll readily admit that I've historically been bad at error checking. I think I tend to approach building applications as though every user will act the same as me. That they'll know what to click and when. What's going on in the background.

But users won't know to check the console. Or that something is going on in the background. That an XHR has been fired off and that we're waiting for a reply.

This is generally a question of UX, but it's also a question of error checking. "Error boundaries." Not just building the functionality, but building the lack of functionality as well.

I'm still not great at it, but I'm getting better. Whenever I consciously break something and I see my work handle the mistake with grace (which usually just means an error notice or something), I get a little thrill.

(The little thrills come less and less lately as I get more and more used to working with computers--but error handling gets me every time.)

Further reading.

Orbis

Or: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World.

Haven't played with this a ton. But it's a remarkably intimate view of travel in the Roman world.

Don't get me wrong. Seeing Dere Street, or the Stanegate, here in the North of England is marvellous. Seeing Hadrian's Wall is fantastic. I love to see the plaques all along the way showing the way that it looked 2000 years ago.

But it doesn't have the same sense of purpose as proper road maps of the Roman world do. This is how you would travel from Roman Italy to Roman Germany. To Roman Britain. This is the cheapest route. This is how you would travel by sea. This is how you would travel in the summer as opposed to the winter. I love to see that this is how it was done.