A comparison of a few different tools for generating pattern libraries.
In this particular case, Fractal comes out on top:
It has the features we need, and I’m happier than I should be with how simple the directory and file structure is. The documentation has also been super helpful thus far. We’ve customized it with our client’s branding and are ready to roll.
Having spent half a decade encouraging people to make their pattern libraries public and doing my best to encourage openness and sharing, I find this kind of styleguide-shaming quite disheartening:
These all offer something different but more often than not they have something in common. They look ugly enough to have been designed by someone who enjoys configuring a router.
If a pattern library is intended to inspire, then make it inspiring. But if it’s intended to be an ever-changing codebase (made for and by the kind of people who enjoy configuring a router), then that’s where the effort and time should be concentrated.
But before designing anything—whether it’s a website or a pattern library—figure out who the audience is first.
Anna has just published a lovely new version of her excellent little book on pattern libraries. EPUB, MOBI, and PDF versions are yours for a mere $8.
Here’s an epic brain dump by Vitaly on the challenges of putting together a pattern library and then maintaining it.
Sacrificing consistency for usability is fine. A slightly open-ended, inconsistent but heavily used pattern library is better than a perfectly consistent pattern library that is never used.
This slide deck is a whistle-stop tour of all things styleguide and pattern-library related. Nice to see Charlotte’s excellent exercise get a shout-out.
Another style guide generator that parses comments in CSS.
As well as compèring the event, Chris took the time to make notes at the Clarity conference, dedicated to all things patterny.
You know that front-end pattern libraries have hit the mainstream when the Nielsen Norman Group get in on the action.
As ever, I’m not sure their sweeping generalisations can be applied to every project, but their checklist approach makes for a good starting point.
I had a lot of fun chatting with Brad and Anna for the final episode of their small batch podcast on style guides and pattern libraries.
Paul gives an excellent and thorough explanation of why systems thinking is important in web design.