REJECTION LETTERS: A Javascript Journey

Categories Applied Digital Studies, Blog post, Projects

In order to introduce us to basic coding, our instructor had us follow the instructions listed in Chapter 2 of Nick Monfort’s Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities– a neat little textbook which attempts to make coding as accessible as possible to those who aren’t devoting their life to computer languages.

Nick Monfort provides six different text generators to adapt: I chose to work with Christopher Strachey’s Love Letters, and turn them instead into overly formal and impersonal rejection letters, based off of templates I found on various websites.

I will be honest- this task was arduous and annoying for me. I was introduced to HTML and CSS in my first Digital Studies class, but had never used Javascript before. I had to spend quite some time figuring out what should go where in terms of creating sentences that make sense to English speaking humans.

I’m afraid there’s still much work to be done on my part before I can understand Javascript completely, but that’s the thing about code: it always has a way of making me feel stupid.

I will spend hours figuring out a small component that seems like child’s play once it has clicked in my brain. I suppose that particular phenomenon is what people are referring to when they talk about a ‘learning curve’ in regards to code.

Here is a snip of the text that was generated when I pulled the page up a few minutes ago:

In terms of process, I found it most encouraging to play with the color scheme first, just to show myself I still kind of knew how to work a stylesheet. The colors on the site are my favorites from the Pantone Spring 2017 collection. I have their values memorized by now:

Pale Dogwood: #edcdc2

Primrose Yellow: #f3cf55

Lapis Blue: #004b8d

I use Pale Dogwood for just about everything. It’s a lovely shade of pink.

After my color scheme was established, it was a matter of changing the words. This, along with figuring out how to read JavaScript, was the most difficult part. The source code provided such a long list of items that it took me days to 1) sort through and 2) adapt to a formal rejection style/syntax.

One may notice that I became a bit tired and confused near the end, and let the signature of the note repeat itself over and over again.

Is that not, however, what regular rejection letter templates tend to do?

Finally, I adjusted the litany: there is a lot of text to digest, and I wanted to slow it down to a readable speed.

What I have learned from this process mainly is that when it comes to coding, ctrl + find is my best friend.

Please check out my Rejection Letters subdomain (it’s very cute!), and be sure to read more about Nick Monfort and Christopher Strachey.




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