I have a script I’ve been working on now and then for a while. It’s for adding footnotes to my blog. I started way back in 2009 and then have been adding features ever since. However fundamentally the problem is that I tend to edit in MarsEdit but there’s no way to pass my HTML through a filter prior to uploading to WordPress. So I had to script in such a way that it transformed my HTML and then had to be smart enough to retransform it when I recited.
This is quite different from Markdown where you have a text processed to make HTML.1 It ends up it’s a much, much harder problem.2 Which is why I never posted any of the versions of the footnote code since that 2009 post above.
Now it probably shows just how much of an idiot I am that I never looked to see if there was a way from within WordPress to do this with a plugin. I was so committed to just tweaking my HTML via scripts to MarsEdit that I didn’t ask myself a simple question. Was this a smart way to go?5
For various reasons I’ll not go into I was drywalling some patches to my den’s wall. I’d take breaks yesterday while doing this and then the cleanup of shelves going back against the wall. My breaks were to return to my old footnote code and give it an other go. Honestly, I improved the code tremendously. And it had already reached a much better state than that old horrible 2009 code. Yet today I looked at it and said there had to be a better way.
All of this is a long way of saying here are some plugins you might want to check.
This post was done with FD-Footnotes. There were a few other plugins I looked at. I’m giving these a week’s trial. Undoubtedly many gratuitous footnotes will appear in my posts in the meantime. And if I reject the plugin there will undoubtedly be quick but ugly editing of all those posts to remove them next week.
The other plugin I was looking at was also to resolve an editing issue I’ve solved via scripts. I have scripts that parse my text to make quote marks intelligent, to use more attractive hyphens, and to remove extra spaces due to having learned to type on an actual typewriter. The problem was that as soon as I had a complex blog post (i.e. source code or hard coded HTML) the scripts wouldn’t work properly. (i.e. they’d frequently screw things up)
So I used them but somewhat erratically. Mainly I just tried to not type double spaces.
Then I discovered it. WordPress already automatically fixes your quote marks. All that work for nothing.6
In other news I modified the fonts in the blog slightly. I had a sudden urge to change something about the t typography without attempting a full redesign. I really, really wanted Garamond. I know many hate that font but I’ve long loved it. Sadly it’s not standard in the iOS font list. That means it was a no-go no matter how badly I wanted it. I do like Georgia (which is what I’m using). For web fonts it’s one of the best serif fonts. However I’m really bored of it. Unfortunately if I want to make my site appear right in iOS that leaves me Times and Palantino. Neither I’m too thrilled about. I did change the sans serif font from Trebuchet to GillSans. I’m not sure it looks right. But that’s an other font I’ve liked a long time. However I may switch it to Helvetica. We’ll see. [Edit: back to Trebuchet]
- Markup is fundamentally just writing in a different form from HTML but without going to a WYSIWYG editor. I’ve never been able to figure out Markup people as they keep adding more and more code until it rivals HTML. Why not just use MarsEdit and skip the HTML or write in HTML? ↩
- Admittedly this is partially because I kept thinking of worse case scenarios like auto-renumbering all the footnotes. Really what I was trying to do is add full Word or Pages like footnotes to MarsEdit. Actually only Daniel Jalkut should do that. And I’m sure he has many more pressing features to add. ↩
- Truth be told most of those I just types manually – my secret shame ↩
- That’s a fancy way of saying it was easier to type a footnote at the bottom and then add a number and superscript by hand. ↩
- The deeper question might be why bother with footnotes. You rarely even see them in technical papers anymore. Endnotes conquered writing even as the technology to make footnotes easy appeared. As for why I wanted it? Pure jealousy of Dr. Drang and MacDrifter. Next I’ll be wanting a cool anonymous superhero name to protect my secret identity. ↩
- Well not for nothing. There was the joy of scripting. ↩