GitHub

Prettier source code on WordPress.com

Posting source code on WordPress.com is quite simple: the platform already provides an extremely easy to use shortcode called sourcecode, based on a fairly flexible syntax highlighter plugin. By looking at the examples in the documentation page, however, it is evident that the default styling used to render sources is quite old-fashioned and does not fit most modern themes. While the shortcode offers options to allow users to control many options of the rendering, it does not allow us to configure colors, fonts and size (the default size is so tiny that it is barely readable on high-resolution screens). When I was writing the previous technical post, I did some investigations to figure out what options are available to post more readable sources if your blog is hosted on WordPress.com and I found out there are basically two alternatives.

On desire paths… and software

Desire paths are a common pattern in landscape design: born as simple footpaths when someone takes a more direct, shorter way to their destination, they often evolve to proper paths and roads after a while. While architects and garden planners often regard those paths as unesthetic and try to prevent them by using fences and the well known _keep off the grass_ signs, desire paths tell a lot about the needs of people traversing a space. Some urban planners even use those paths to guide them when revising the original design by adding new roads or altering the original project. Desire paths are important because they give insights about points where the original design is lacking from a functional point of view. Sure, they may not be as pleasant to the eye as a perfect, regular lawn, but they often show a more effective way to solve a problem: getting from one point in physical space to another. I am posting about landscape design here because the same phenomenon can occur when observing the way users interact with software products. Users often compensate for missing features by and taking shortcuts and by adopting workarounds which, eventually, leave a persistent mark on the system they are using.