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Run npm start to fire up the project server. control + c to stop.

Any changes to the src/ folder will trigger live reload.


Where it goes: src/html/partials/story/.

The main HTML file is src/html/index.hbs. Generally speaking, You should mostly just include new partials in there and not modify too much of it since there are a bunch of presets.

Partials are not automatically included. You must add them to index.hbs. If you created a new file content.hbs it would be referenced as {{> story/content }}.

Sticky Header

Change base/header in index.hbs:

  • {{> base/header 'sticky' }}
  • {{> base/header 'sticky-dark' }}

To use the menu but without it being sticky, simply changed position fixed to position absolute in header.styl.

To add in the patreon message and list, uncomment {{> base/patrons }} in sticky.hbs. Running npm run doc will update to latest patrons.


Fill out data/meta.json


For The Pudding analytics use UA-90567923-1.


Using a Google Doc for copy is recommended. We use ArchieML as a micro CMS.

Setup Google doc

  • Create a Google Doc
  • Click Share button -> advanced -> Change... -> to "Anyone with this link"
  • In the address bar, grab the ID - eg.
  • paste in the ID above into config.json

Running npm run doc at any point (even in new tab while server is running) will pull down the latest, and output a file data/doc.json.

You can now reference the JSON in your HTML, namespaced by doc (eg. <p>{{doc.explanation}}</p>).

You can also do the same with a Google Sheet.

SVG Icons

There is a directory called svg in the root of project, it contains a bunch of icons. To include them in the HTML, simply do this:

<img inline src='arrow-left.svg'>

This way you can drop in svg icons anywhere in your HTML code whilst keeping it uncluttered.


Where it goes: src/js/

Take a look at main.js. This is the kickoff file, the only one included and run automatically.

Then take a look at graphic.js, it has some basic skeleton stuff setup for you. This is imported and called from main.js once on load, and subsequently on a debounced resize event. I recommend putting your code in here. If you want to create more files, I recommending doing that in graphic.js, but remember they won't be executed until you import them.

D3 is included globally by default. For any other libraries, it is recommend that you use npm to install and import them. You can also do it the vanilla way by including them in the src/assets folder and putting a script tag in the HTML.

The JavaScript is transpiled from ES6, and uses Parcel to bundle into a single file. That means each file creates its own closure, so a "global" variable is scoped to a file unless you declare it as window.variable = .....

Installing Libraries

NPM way: npm install [name] --save. Usage: (see library docs, but usually) import [library] from '[library]'

Old school: Put JS file in the src/assets/scripts directory. Usage: reference in the index.hbs file <script src='assets/scripts/[name].js'></script>

Helper Functions

In the folder src/js/utils there a are a bunch of handy helper JS functions.

  • dom.js: Super minimial wrapper on basic vanilla dom selection for convenience and cross-browser.
  • is-mobile.js: Device sniffing to detect if on mobile hardware.
  • load-image.js: Async image loading to detect when image completely loaded.
  • locate.js: Estimate user location via ip address.
  • truncate.js: Truncate string with options to break on space and add ellipses.
  • url-parameter.js: Get and set the paremeters of the URL in address bar.
  • lookup-state-name.js: Get state name from state abbrevation.
  • lookup-state-abbr.js: Get state abbrevation from state name.
  • tracker.js: Fire simple GA tracking on events.


NoUISlider is included by default, with some preset pudding styles. To include it, simply include the library in your JS file import noUiSlider from 'nouislider'. Then in src/css/config.styl, uncomment no-ui-slider.styl.

Google Sheet

You can pull down a Google Sheet to JSON to include in your JS, or use for templating HTML. Make the sheet sharable, then fill out config.json with the details. By default it will be the file in data/sheet.json which you could use for HTML. You can have it save anywhere by supplying a custom filepath (eg. src/js/example.json or src/assets/data/example.json).


Where it goes: src/css/story/.

There is a file for you to start off with, story.styl. You can create as many files as you want in this directory, they are automatically included. Note: You must restart the server when you create a new stylus file.

Checkout some of the auto-included files in src/css/utils/ (variables.styl, helpers.styl, presets.styl). You can modify these, especially variables.styl.


Fonts are loaded async and use the font-display swap CSS setting.

  • Tiempos Text (default body font)
  • Tiempos Headline (disabled by default)
  • National
  • National Narrow
  • Publico Text (disabled by default)
  • Atlas Grotesk (disabled by default)

Available font-weights (bold means it is loaded by default):

  • Tiempos Text: 500, 700
  • Tiempos Headline: 500
  • National: 500, 700
  • National Narrow: 200, 500, 700, 900
  • Publico: 400, 700
  • Atlas: 400, 500, 600

Variable names in stylus (use these for font-family since they contain proper fallbacks):

  • Tiempos Text: $serif
  • Tiempos Headline $serif-display
  • National $sans
  • National Narrow $sans-display


Put everything (images, audio, data, etc) in src/assets/.

When deployed, assets paths will remain relative. However, you'll notice that in index.hbs there is a line like <script src='{{basepath}}assets/scripts/d3.v5.9.1.min.js'></script>. basepath here switches from nothing in local development, to in production. We have a common assets folder for stuff like (which also occurs with fonts). If you need to use this project for a non-Pudding one, make sure to update the data.basepath variable in scripts/html.js.


Run npm run deploy

This generates a single html file with inlined css, a single js file, and a folder with assets in the dist folder. It also will automatically optimize jpg and png files in the folders assets/social and assets/images.

Github Pages

Run make github (make sure you've enabled github pages in your repo settings to pull from docs).



In Makefile, replace year/month/name with your own (eg. 2017/01/nba). Uncomment code.

Run make pudding to deploy and bust cache. If you only made changes to html/css/js, you can run make aws-htmljs then make aws-cache (it will be much quicker than re-uploading all your assets).

Launch Checklist

  • clean data: reduce filesize bloat by making sure you aren't loading unnecessary columns and rows.
  • remove console logs: aesthetics 😄
  • enable anayltics: put UA-90567923-1 in data/meta.json
  • fill out metadata: data/meta.json
  • create two social images:
    • Facebook: 1200 x 628 (src/assets/social/social-facebook.jpg)
    • Twitter: 1024 x 576 (src/assets/social/social-twitter.jpg)
  • Before launching, test the final pudding link in Facebook Debugger to ensure all og tags are working properly.
  • Create Twitter asset:
    • Motion works well on Twitter, so when possible use a scrolling video of the story (.MP4)
    • Tweets should always include some sort of visual asset
    • For one image: 1024 x 576 px
    • if you're sharing multiple images in a post, adjust them to twitter's thumbnail formats — previewed thumbnails have a different aspect ratio (1:1) other than the standard twitter social cards (2:1)
    • Add description of photo or video for accessibility purposes
    • Make sure to include the link
    • Include author/contributor Twitter handle in initial story post
    • Use of emojis is encouraged! 🤠
  • Create Instagram Story Asset
    • Portrait aspect ratio (1080 x 1920)
    • Text can be added in Instagram
    • These tend to be more insightful/personal than an initial post
    • Make sure to indicate that the link is in our bio
    • Feel free to experiment here!
    • You can add polls and questions to ask the audience (in stickers)
    • You can tag people here (especially if they are talking about us)
  • Create Instagram Feed Asset
    • Square Images (1080 x 1080) or Videos
    • Make sure to change the link & bio description for new story
    • Emojis are encouraged
    • Hashtags are encouraged. Feel free to use #data #dataviz #ddj #datajournalism #chart #charts
    • Include other hashtags that may be relevant to the specific story
    • Tag people in the image if they are relevant
    • Keep in mind that you can only add one caption (even if there is a carousel of images)
    • The images in the carousel all have to be the same aspect ratio
    • No need to tag authors here
  • Post to Patreon (Author posts)
  • Post to FotP (Author posts)
  • Add data to open data repo (with necessary metadata, scripts when possible)
  • Record Process video and post to FotP/Patreon (optional)
  • Make sure repo is on the-pudding
  • Update s3
  • Update homepage
  • Release assets - author can tap the promotion team to post assets, but otherwise expected that authors post.

Future Proofing

Here are some best practices to follow to increase the likelihood that the story doesn't break in the near future.

  • When possible, host assets locally. Put things like images and audio in your project rather than loading from a third party.
  • Don't rely on externally hosted scripts. If you are using a library, use npm or self-host in favor of externally hosted scripts.