Eric Janto

Masters degree in computer science, University of Edinburgh. Reprehenderit in pariatur non. Irure veniam aliquip ea incididunt elit. Qui minim est mollit consequat. Dolore voluptate sunt elit velit ex ipsum minim. Do minim eu et veniam in culpa nisi deserunt incididunt enim fugiat nisi. Occaecat nisi eiusmod mollit aliquip aute consectetur anim excepteur.

This website is under construction.

Project Description Area Year
32 Marimo Open-source contributions to a reactive Jupyter notebook alternative Data science 2024

Tufte Pandoc CSS is an attempt to make it as easy as possible to get started using Tufte CSSIf you’ve never heard of Tufte CSS before, take a second to check it out!

to write content. It does this by leveraging Pandoc Markdown’s existing features, along with a few new ones implemented as a JSON filter.

Tufte CSS provides tools to style web articles using the ideas demonstrated by Edward Tufte’s books and handouts. Tufte’s style is known for its simplicity, extensive use of sidenotes, tight integration of graphics with text, and carefully chosen typography.

Tufte CSS was created by Dave Liepmann and is now an Edward Tufte project. The original idea was cribbed from Tufte LaTeX. We give hearty thanks to all the people who have contributed to those projects.

Finally, a reminder about the goal of this project. The web is not print. Webpages are not books. Therefore, the goal of Tufte CSS is not to say “websites should look like this interpretation of Tufte’s books” but rather “here are some techniques Tufte developed that we’ve found useful in print; maybe you can find a way to make them useful on the web”. Tufte CSS is merely a sketch of one way to implement this particular set of ideas. It should be a starting point, not a design goal, because any project should present their information as best suits their particular circumstances.

Organize your document with an article element inside your body tag. Inside that, use section tags around each logical grouping of text and headings.

Tufte CSS uses h1 for the document title, p with class subtitle for the document subtitle, h2 for section headings, and h3 for low-level headings. More specific headings are not supported. If you feel the urge to reach for a heading of level 4 or greater, consider redesigning your document:

[It is] notable that the Feynman lectures (3 volumes) write about all of physics in 1800 pages, using only 2 levels of hierarchical headings: chapters and A-level heads in the text. It also uses the methodology of sentences which then cumulate sequentially into paragraphs, rather than the grunts of bullet points. Undergraduate Caltech physics is very complicated material, but it didn’t require an elaborate hierarchy to organize.

As a bonus, this excerpt regarding the use of headings provides an example of block quotes. In Tufte CSS they are just lightly styled, semantically correct HTML using blockquote and footer elements. See page 20 of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information for an example in print.

In his later booksBeautiful Evidence, Tufte starts each section with a bit of vertical space, a non-indented paragraph, and the first few words of the sentence set in small caps. For this we use a span with the class newthought, as demonstrated at the beginning of this paragraph. Vertical spacing is accomplished separately through <section> tags. Be consistent: though we do so in this paragraph for the purpose of demonstration, do not alternate use of header elements and the newthought technique. Pick one approach and stick to it.

Although paper handouts obviously have a pure white background, the web is better served by the use of slightly off-white and off-black colors. Tufte CSS uses #fffff8 and #111111 because they are nearly indistinguishable from their ‘pure’ cousins, but dial down the harsh contrast. We stick to the greyscale for text, reserving color for specific, careful use in figures and images.

In print, Tufte has used the proprietary Monotype BemboSee Tufte’s comment in the Tufte book fonts thread. font. A similar effect is achieved in digital formats with the now open-source ETBook, which Tufte CSS supplies with a @font-face reference to a .ttf file. In case ETBook somehow doesn’t work, Tufte CSS shifts gracefully to other serif fonts like Palatino and Georgia.

Also notice how Tufte CSS includes separate font files for bold (strong) and italic (emphasis), instead of relying on the browser to mechanically transform the text. This is typographic best practice.

Links in Tufte CSS match the body text in color and do not change on mouseover or when clicked. Here is a dummy example that goes nowhere. These links are underlined, since this is the most widely recognized indicator of clickable text. Blue text, while also a widely recognizable clickable-text indicator, is crass and distracting. Luckily, it is also rendered unnecessary by the use of underlining. However, because most browsers’ default underlining does not clear descenders and is so thick and distracting, the underline effect is instead achieved using CSS trickery involving background gradients instead of standard text-decoration. Credit goes to Adam Schwartz for that technique.

As always, these design choices are merely one approach that Tufte CSS provides by default. Other approaches can also be made to work. The goal is to make sentences readable without interference from links, as well as to make links immediately identifiable even by casual web users.

The English language . . . becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

Richard P. Feynman, “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”

I do not paint things, I paint only the differences between things.

Henri Matisse, Henri Matisse Dessins: thèmes et variations (Paris, 1943), 37

If you’d like to introduce your page or a section of your page with some quotes, use epigraphs. Modeled after chapter epigraphs in Tufte’s books (particularly Beautiful Evidence), these are blockquote elements with a bit of specialized styling. Quoted text is italicized. The source goes in a footer element inside the blockquote. We have provided three examples in the epigraph of this section, demonstrating shorter and longer quotes, with and without a paragraph tag, and showing how multiple quotes within an epigraph fit together with the use of a wrapper class.

One of the most distinctive features of Tufte’s style is his extensive use of sidenotes.This is a sidenote. Sidenotes are like footnotes, except they don’t force the reader to jump their eye to the bottom of the page, but instead display off to the side in the margin. Perhaps you have noticed their use in this document already. You are very astute.

Sidenotes are a great example of the web not being like print. On sufficiently large viewports, Tufte CSS uses the margin for sidenotes, margin notes, and small figures. On smaller viewports, elements that would go in the margin are hidden until the user toggles them into view. The goal is to present related but not necessary information such as asides or citations as close as possible to the text that references them. At the same time, this secondary information should stay out of the way of the eye, not interfering with the progression of ideas in the main text.

Sidenotes consist of two elements: a superscript reference number that goes inline with the text, and a sidenote with content. To add the former, just put a label and dummy checkbox into the text where you want the reference to go, like so:

<label for="sn-demo"
class="margin-toggle sidenote-number">
<input type="checkbox"

You must manually assign a reference id to each side or margin note, replacing “sn-demo” in the for and the id attribute values with an appropriate descriptor. It is useful to use prefixes like sn- for sidenotes and mn- for margin notes.

Immediately adjacent to that sidenote reference in the main text goes the sidenote content itself, in a span with class sidenote. This tag is also inserted directly in the middle of the body text, but is either pushed into the margin or hidden by default. Make sure to position your sidenotes correctly by keeping the sidenote-number label close to the sidenote itself.

If you want a sidenote without footnote-style numberings, then you want a margin note. This is a margin note. Notice there isn’t a number preceding the note. On large screens, a margin note is just a sidenote that omits the reference number. This lessens the distracting effect taking away from the flow of the main text, but can increase the cognitive load of matching a margin note to its referent text. However, on small screens, a margin note is like a sidenote except its viewability-toggle is a symbol rather than a reference number. This document currently uses the symbol ⊕ (&#8853;), but it’s up to you.

Margin notes are created just like sidenotes, but with the marginnote class for the content and the margin-toggle class for the label and dummy checkbox. For instance, here is the code for the margin note used in the previous paragraph:

<label for="mn-demo" class="margin-toggle">&#8853;</label>
<input type="checkbox" id="mn-demo" class="margin-toggle"/>
<span class="marginnote">
This is a margin note. Notice there isn’t a number preceding the note.

Figures in the margin are created as margin notes, as demonstrated in the next section.

Tufte emphasizes tight integration of graphics with text. Data, graphs, and figures are kept with the text that discusses them. In print, this means they are not relegated to a separate page. On the web, that means readability of graphics and their accompanying text without extra clicks, tab-switching, or scrolling.

Figures should try to use the figure element, which by default are constrained to the main column. Don’t wrap figures in a paragraph tag. Any label or margin note goes in a regular margin note inside the figure. For example, most of the time one should introduce a figure directly into the main flow of discussion, like so:

From Edward Tufte, Visual Display of Quantitative Information, page 92.

Exports and Imports to and from Denmark & Norway from 1700 to 1780

Image of a RhinocerosF.J. Cole, “The History of Albrecht Dürer’s Rhinoceros in Zooological Literature,” Science, Medicine, and History: Essays on the Evolution of Scientific Thought and Medical Practice (London, 1953), ed. E. Ashworth Underwood, 337-356. From page 71 of Edward Tufte’s Visual Explanations. But tight integration of graphics with text is central to Tufte’s work even when those graphics are ancillary to the main body of a text. In many of those cases, a margin figure may be most appropriate. To place figures in the margin, just wrap an image (or whatever) in a margin note inside a p tag, as seen to the right of this paragraph.

If you need a full-width figure, give it the fullwidth class. Make sure that’s inside an article, and it will take up (almost) the full width of the screen. This approach is demonstrated below using Edward Tufte’s English translation of the Napoleon’s March data visualization. From Beautiful Evidence, page 122-124.

Figurative map of the successive losses of the French Army in the Russian campaign, 1812-1813

One obstacle to creating elegant figures on the web is the difficulty of handling different screen sizes, especially on the fly. Embedded iframe elements are particularly troublesome. For these instances we provide a helper class, iframe-wrapper, the most common use for which is probably YouTube videos, e.g.

<figure class="iframe-wrapper">
<iframe width="853" height="480" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

You can use this class on a div instead of a figure, with slightly different results but the same general effect. Experiment and choose depending on your application.

Technical jargon, programming language terms, and code samples are denoted with the code class, as I’ve been using in this document to denote HTML. Code needs to be monospace for formatting purposes and to aid in code analysis, but it must maintain its readability. To those ends, Tufte CSS follows GitHub’s font selection, which shifts gracefully along the monospace spectrum from the elegant but rare Consolas all the way to good old reliable Courier.

Extended code examples should live in a code element within a pre element. This adds control over indentation and overflow as well:

;; Some code examples in Clojure. This is a comment.
;; applying a function to every item in the collection
(map tufte-css blog-posts)
;;;; if unfamiliar, see
;; side-effecty loop (unformatted, causing text overflow) - from
(doseq [[[a b] [c d]] (map list (sorted-map :1 1 :2 2) (sorted-map :3 3 :4 4))] (prn (* b d)))
;; that same side-effecty loop, formatted
(doseq [[[a b] [c d]] (map list
                    (sorted-map :1 1 :2 2)
                    (sorted-map :3 3 :4 4))]
(prn (* b d)))
;; If this proselytizing has worked, check out:

Tufte CSS provides support for Edward Tufte and Adam Schwartz’s ImageQuilts. See the ET forum announcement thread for more on quilts. Some have ragged edges, others straight. Include these images just as you would any other figure.

This is an ImageQuilt surveying Chinese calligraphy, placed in a full-width figure to accomodate its girth:

Image of Chinese Calligraphy

Here is an ImageQuilt of 47 animal sounds over and over, in a figure constrained to the main text region. This quilt has ragged edges, but the image itself is of course still rectangular.

Image of animal sounds

Many thanks go to Edward Tufte for leading the way with his work. It is only through his kind and careful editing that this project accomplishes what it does. All errors of implementation are of course mine.

Sidenotes in Markdown

Tufte CSS provides tools to style web articles using the ideas demonstrated by Edward Tufte’s books and handouts. Tufte’s style is known for its simplicity, extensive use of sidenotes, tight integration of graphics with text, and carefully chosen typography.

Tufte Pandoc CSS aims to be a set of starter files for your next project. What that means is that it provides a number of CSS files, a Pandoc template, a Makefile, and more to make it as easy as possible to write Markdown using Tufte CSS.

The biggest barrier that this project overcomes is that Pandoc Markdown doesn’t support side notes nor margin notes by default. This project adds that functionality.In particular, a separate library called pandoc-sidenote handles the transformation of footnotes into sidenotes.

Here’s how you can use them:

... In print, Tufte has used the proprietary Monotype
Bembo[^note] font. ...

  See Tufte's comment in the Tufte book fonts thread.

By default, if you use the normal Pandoc syntax for creating footnotes, they’ll become Tufte CSS-style side notes. To get margin notes (i.e., side notes without numbers), just include {-} at the beginning of the note:

... If you want a sidenote without footnote-style numberings, then you want a
margin note.[^mn] On large screens, ...

  {-} This is a margin note. Notice there isn't a number preceding the note.

Syntax-Highlighted Codeblocks

Pandoc Markdown is excellent for styling code blocks. Indeed, you’ve already seen their effect in this document. You can use any of the methods for creating syntax highlighted code blocks Pandoc permits. For example:

# Compute elements of the mandelbrot set
def mandelbrot(a):
    return reduce(lambda z, _: z * z + a, range(50), 0)

def step(start, step, iterations):
    return (start + (i * step) for i in range(iterations))

rows = (("*" if abs(mandelbrot(complex(x, y))) < 2 else " "
        for x in step(-2.0, .0315, 80))
        for y in step(1, -.05, 41))

In this document, you’re also seeing the effect of the Solarized color scheme. You can use any of the color schemes Pandoc ships with by default, or this one.

Another feature Pandoc allows that Tufte Pandoc CSS supports is generating line numbers to accompany a code sample:

merge []         ys                   = ys
merge xs         []                   = xs
merge xs@(x:xt) ys@(y:yt) | x <= y    = x : merge xt ys
                          | otherwise = y : merge xs yt

split (x:y:zs) = let (xs,ys) = split zs in (x:xs,y:ys)
split [x]      = ([x],[])
split []       = ([],[])

mergeSort []  = []
mergeSort [x] = [x]
mergeSort xs  = let (as,bs) = split xs
                in merge (mergeSort as) (mergeSort bs)

Figures & Sections

Unfortunately, HTML figures and sections don’t have special Markdown syntax. To include them in your document, you’ll have to use the raw HTML. On the bright side, this usually ends up being pretty painless.

In particular for sections, if you’re satisfied with the top-most headings being wrapped in <section> tags, you can use the --section-divs flag to pandoc to automatically wrap sections in divs. This is already enabled in the Makefile we ship with this project. Regardless, if you have any leading text before your first heading, you will need to wrap this text in a <section> tag.

Tufte Pandoc CSS improves support for full-width tables and code blocks. Special attention has been given to ensure that they’re fully responsive at all viewports, just like normal full-width figures. Here’s a sample full-width table:

Talk Speaker Time
HTML/CSS Primer Scott Krulcik 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
JavaScript Primer Jake Zimmerman 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
UX Prototyping with Framer.js Lois Yang 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Frontend Development with Angular.js Sandra Sajeev 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

As one last quick note: the original Tufte CSS recommends that you always wrap images in <figure> tags for optimal responsiveness and layout. Depending on your tastes, you can choose to omit this. The differences will only take effect on mobile, where the width of the image will be slightly different from what it would be if it were properly wrapped. Try it both ways and see whether you value the convenience of no wrapping or the proper layout that a <figure> provides.

Installation & Usage

As mentioned above, Tufte Pandoc CSS is designed to be a collection of starter files to help you with your next Markdown project. You can learn what files and tools are available on the GitHub repository.

As for usage, you are strongly encouraged to look at the source of this document. There’s also an HTML-to-Markdown port of the original Tufte CSS page along with the accompanying source.

One goal of this project is to support as many of the features you’d “expect” to work that are available in Pandoc. If your favorite feature doesn’t work, let us know with an issue.

31 Lex Linguistic tool for exhaustive and context-driven vocabulary acquisition Natural language processing 2023-2024
Not filed yet.
30 Neural machine translation Implementation and training of a lexical attention model and the Transformer self-attention mechanism to translate German to English Natural language processing 2024
Not filed yet.
29 Predicting number agreement with RNNs and GRUs Implementation and training of a recurrent neural network,The BPTT algorithm, and a gated recurrent unit to predict number agreement in the English language natural language processing 2024
Not filed yet.
28 Deep reinforcement learning exploration Implementation of various deep RL algorithms using OpenAI’s gym learning environment including Deep Q-Networks and DDPG for continuous RL Reinforcement learning 2024
Not filed yet.
27 Linux kernel experimentation Kernel module implementations for the original Linux kernel to collect memory statistics and to employ a customised paging algorithm Systems programming 2024
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26 Eric Janto website redesign #3 Redesign and reimplementation of a personal website Web development 2024
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25 Bookmarks landing page Lightweight browser landing page for displaying bookmarks Web development 2024
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24 Interactive lecture videos Implementation of interactive lecture videos to integrate spaced-repetition practice via flashcards Web development 2023
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23 Part-of-speech tagger Implementation and training of a Hidden-Markov-Model with a Viterbi training algorithm for part-of-speech tagging for the English language Natural language processing 2023
Not filed yet.
22 Language identification and classification Training of the character-level Lgram model to distinguish English from non-english text Natural language processing 2023
Not filed yet.
21 Generative music MaxMSP project to generate music from natural language instructions Creative coding 2023
Not filed yet.
20 Blackford An improved search engine for the AOC3 platform Data engineering 2023
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19 Human Cadherin-7 analysis Sequence retrieval and analysis of Human Cadherin-7 analysis Bioinformatics 2023
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18 Gene-disease mapping data exploration Exploration of the the GenCC database of gene-disease mappings to compare the genetic basis of neural and digestive system disorders Bioinformatics 2023
Not filed yet.
17 Mac setup Script for the automated setup of MacOS-based machines Scripting 2023
Not filed yet.
16 Name variations Implementation and visualisation of a name variation algorithm Natural language processing 2022
Not filed yet.
15 Cargo vessel routing optimiser Solution for reducing carbon emissions of vessels by optimising cargo-loading and routing logistics based on AIS (Automatic Identification System) data Data science 2022
Not filed yet.
14 Bionic Markdown NPM module for producing Markdown conforming to Bionic Reading standards Web development 2022
Not filed yet.
13 Wikipedia cmd+k menu A tool for summarising and explaining Wikipedia articles by communicating with an OpenAI LLM Web development 2022
Not filed yet.
12 Web watch Tool to get notified about changes made to third-party websites Scripting 2022
Not filed yet.
11 Frontmatter processor NPM module to manipulate metadata fields in Markdown files Web development 2022
Not filed yet.
10 Eric Janto website redesign #2 Redesign and reimplementation of a personal website Web development 2022
Not filed yet.
9 Note publishing website A front-end for publishing academic Markdown notes Web development 2021
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8 Sliding window protocol Implementation and analysis of the Sliding Window Protocol Networks 2021
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7 Booking automation Selenium-based tool to automatically book swim session slots Scripting 2021
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6 MIPS simulator A 5-stage multi-cycle processor simulator for the MIPS assembly language Systems programming 2021
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5 EUJO website Website design and implementation for the Edinburgh University Jazz Orchestra Web development 2021
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4 Eric Janto website redesign #1 Redesign and reimplementation of a personal website Web development 2021
Not filed yet.
3 Corona-Warn-App Smoke testing of UI prototypes for the Germany’s official COVID-19 exposure notification app Software testing 2020
Not filed yet.
2 EUSO website Website design and implementation for the Edinburgh University String Orchestra Web development 2020
Not filed yet.
1 Eric Janto website Initial implementation of a personal website Web development 2020
Not filed yet.