It is my great pleasure to finally release Graph Paper! This is a project that I’ve been working on sporadically over the past year.
I’m a hobbyist web and ebook designer. I started with installing and designing WordPress sites. I love WordPress because it’s packed with features and it’s accessible for techies and non-techies alike, but for me it also feels too big and too complex at times, especially from the back-end point-of-view. So upon discovering Jekyll, I quickly fell in love. Jekyll is simple and flexible. It gives me control over everything I want without too much extra stuff in the way to worry about. Also, you can quickly host a Jekyll website on GitHub for free (as well as move your site over to basically any other hosting service you’d like without too much hassle). Jekyll’s great.
You know what else is great? Bootstrap. Once I discovered the Bootstrap framework, suddenly it was so easy to create beautiful, responsive websites.
For me, Jekyll and Bootstrap are a perfect match for one another. Bootstrap is my building blocks; Jekyll is my glue. When I put them together, there’s only one thing I’m missing: features. In Jekyll, you can implement most of the features you’d expect in a modern website or blog: tags, categories, comments, pagination, featured images, and more. However, those features aren’t ready-to-go from the get-go.
This is where Graph Paper comes in. Graph Paper is a Jekyll website/blog, integrated with Bootstrap, that’s ready for you to fork. Moreover, Graph Paper is already set up with all of those features you’d expect in a modern website. (Check out the about page for the complete list.) Once you fork the project and start your own website, you can keep those features, tweak them, or remove them as you like. If Graph Paper is missing any features you wish it had, let me know! You can send me an email or a tweet, or, if you’re technically inclined, implement the feature yourself and send a pull request.
I confess: I mostly made Graph Paper for myself, to get extra web design practice and so that in the future I’ll be able to quickly and easily spin up beautiful and functional websites. But I hope Graph Paper can be helpful for others as well. I’ve done my best to keep the code clean, the project well-documented, and the copyright and licensing info explicit. If Graph Paper is difficult for you to use for some reason, please let me know and I’ll do my best to improve it!
Accessibility and universal design are super important, and they’re even more important for a project like Graph Paper, a template upon which other websites can be built. I’m familiar with the basic principles of accessible web design, and I’ve done my best to make Graph Paper as accessible and WCAG-compliant as possible.
However, I’m definitely still learning about accessibility and universal design, and there’s a lot to it once you start digging into the details. As I learn more, I will keep updating Graph Paper to improve its accessibility, but it would also be helpful if you could chip in. Please report any accessibility issues you find and/or fork the project, implement accessibility, and submit pull requests.