Digital garden

A metaphor for a loose collection of notes that grows all over the place. That’s pretty much it. My take on digital gardening is that it’s basically the act of breaking free from more rigid formats, e. g. a blog.

Common uses

  • Publishing practical summaries of more in-depth sources, like books, articles or videos
  • Annotating and categorizing “favorites” where this feature is unavailable, e. g. in GItHub ⭐ stars and bookmarks
  • Keeping up-to-date descriptions of various evolving contraptions, software and hardware; e. g. Workplace; and possibly tasks around them

Annoyances of this implementation

  • It doesn’t function very well with files that don’t have a front-matter. It does have a plugin that adds front-matters, but it only runs when generation is run.
    I suppose it’s alright when notes are authored without Jekyll running in watch mode, and maybe not as a part of this site at all (e. g. in an Obsidian vault?), but that’s the workflow I got accustomed to.

Acknowledgements

  • Nick Volynkin (author of @DocOps (Telegram)) for pointing me in the general direction of knowledge management.
  • Athens Research for establishing a nice hub for finding out about all kinds of tooling for knowledge management. That’s where I found the template for this website, but that’s the next point.
  • Maxime Vaillancourt for building the amazing digital garden template this very website is based on. I did make a few improvements over it (which I should probably file as PRs? feel free to snag them from my repo though, they’re licensed under MIT):
    • Table of contents, when non-empty, on the right (or below on mobile) courtesy of allejo/jekyll-toc; I was considering adding anchoring links to the headers with the “sister project” that it mentions, but with link previews it looked very messy, so I abandoned that idea.
    • The meta front-matter attribute on pages that hides the page from the map and the front page, which is useful for non-topical tags like TODO (I used # at the end of the URL to keep it working, but prevent backlinking) that don’t add structure to the map and aren’t intended to point at any particular type of content for the readers to explore. Probably.
    • Force-directed graph layout for the map pulls the currently opened note closer to the center (with a stronger force), making the map more functional on a page-by-page basis. I had to play with the force strengths a bit, some were causing the browser to hang. 🤨 Might have to dive into the algorithms to understand why. Also, removed the centering force because it was useless.
    • Force layout no longer highlights multiple nodes as active thanks to a stricter check (== instead of .include).
    • A glossary, backed by a dedicated folder of notes.

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