Recently, while wandering around the Internet, I found a neat little project called ditaa. The basic idea is it takes a textual representation of a diagram, and turns it into a real image. My first thought was that this looked real neat for use in this blog.
I write this now not in HTML directly, but in reStructured Text, a somewhat less verbose markup language native to Python. Thankfully, someone had already made a directive for ditaa diagrams to be embedded in reST and get rendered to an image in the final page. With this in hand, I managed to cobble together a plugin for pelican to add that directive to my posts.
It's not all great, though. One thing I would really like is the ability to render the diagram to SVG instead of PNG. SVG is much better for things like simple diagrams, as it is web-native, (all it is is a special kind of XML document), and it's vector-based, making it inherently scalable for different sized displays. As near as I can tell, ditaa appears to use SVG internally, at least to some extent. Ideally, I'd like to try to re-implement it in Python, not necessarily for any benefit, but because the problem sounds interesting.