a delightful visualization of procedural terrain generation, by @OskSta:


(I could only get it to run in Safari)
My (limited) understanding:

At first, each cell in the output could be filled with any of the tiles.

When you say "this cell must have this tile", that limits what cells could inhabit neighboring tiles.

Which in turn limits the neighbors' neighbors, and so on recursively.
What I find so fun here is that the "debug view" is overlayed on the output, rather than being in a separate pane.

It feels like "just watching the robot do the task", not "reading the code for the algorithm".
Of course, that's not an accident, because the visual representation was cleverly designed to support the explanation.

Not always easy to do in programs with non-visual output, but not impossible either...

Also reminds me of this work by @Glench, which creates an interactive UI for understanding the behavior of a Javascript library with non-visual output.

Just by "using the UI" you get a sense of how the tool works

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More from @geoffreylitt

29 Jan
The problems described in this OpenDoc video are still so relevant, 30 years later.

"Developers pile on feature after feature. The result is large monolithic applications. Data rich content is hard to share across applications..."

Each cloud its own pyramid, with scarce bridges in between... Image
Dreaming of a new OpenDoc...

- Little components, each responsible for editing part of a document
- all data stored on a shared user-controlled substrate, not split across clouds. the filesystem is dead, long live the filesystem

Read 14 tweets
22 Dec 20
It's been a fun year working on ways to give end users more agency over their software 🤓

Reflecting on 2020, 3 ideas I'm excited about in this space:

⚙️ Browser extensions: still underrated
🧮 Spreadsheets in more places
🔃 Interop is everything

Details in thread:
1) ⚙️ Browser extensions

One of the main computing platforms of our time allows us to install wide-ranging modifications. This is a big deal and we don't talk enough about it.

I think we are just scratching the surface of what is possible with browser extensions.
Recently I've been hacking on a Twitter extension, and it's reminded me how awesome extensions are.

It feels SO empowering! I just spent a few days adding features I wanted for myself, and now can ship them for others to use too ☺️

Read 15 tweets
22 Dec 20
spreadsheets as maps, legible views of the organic chaos brewing underneath
Every tidy entry in a "project planning spreadsheet" is a portal to its own complex mini-universe
Recommend periodically telling your boss a task will take " between 1 day and 8 months"

Will undoubtedly raise an interesting conversation and remind everyone of the messiness of reality
Read 6 tweets
22 Dec 20
by far my favorite thing about typescript is that i can still run the code when it's not typechecking.

beyond the productivity benefits when working on UI, feels like it changes the emotional relationship from "blocking me" to "helping me"
with some other type checkers it's like "ughhh I just want to RUN the code 😡"

and with typescript it's like "ok nice I ran the code, now the typesystem will help me perfect it 😄"
Obviously error message quality affects the emotional tone too, but whether I can run the code also seems like a huge factor

Read 8 tweets
13 Dec 20
I'm building an extension that makes Twitter a better memex:

⭐️ Highlights: see someone's best tweets, not just most recent
📆 On This Day: revisit past tweets for inspiration
🔍 Search: find tweets to quote, w/ shortcuts for useful filters

DM me if you want to try the beta!
Early reviews are in 🤓

DM me if you want to give it a spin
Also, recommend this thread on why/how to weave together thoughts on Twitter. Totally changed the way I use this thing.

Goal of this extension is to better align the product with this style of use. Less news, more ideas

Read 10 tweets
6 Dec 20
I'm skeptical that anyone can design truly great software tools if they haven't personally experienced the problem firsthand.

Here's a short story about my encounters with the limits of empathy... (with an optimistic conclusion!)
While in college, I joined an early stage ed-tech startup founded by some classmates. My first project was to design and implement a reporting interface for teachers and principals to view results from student feedback surveys.
I was totally new to the problem space so I knew I had a ton to learn. The company had a few customers already, so I tried talking to educators in those districts. After a bunch of conversations I started feeling like I understood the rough landscape.
Read 24 tweets

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