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The Nerd Blog

Announcing the ProPublica News Apps Fellowship

The ProPublica News Apps desk is looking for a smart, technically-savvy journalist to join our team for a pilot project we’re calling a News Applications Fellowship.

Adaptive Design, Fixed Widths and Tablets

If you're trying to make your fixed-width site adaptive, there are some things you need to know about the viewport tag.

How We Made Look Better on Your Smartphone

In order to make our site more welcoming for the increasing number of you who read us on your smartphones, we've redesigned and re-engineered the site so that people on small screens will automatically see a version of the site optimized to fit them.

Introducing DocDiver

Today we’re launching a new feature that lets readers work alongside ProPublica reporters—and each other—to identify key bits of information in documents, and to share what they’ve found. We call it DocDiver.

Facebook for News Apps: How We Harnessed the Social Network for ‘The Opportunity Gap’

Embracing 'behavior design'—coupled with our preference for keeping our apps light on database writes—spurred us to integrate Facebook for our news app in a deeper way than we’ve done before.

TimelineSetter: Easy Timelines From Spreadsheets, Now Open to All

Last week we announced TimelineSetter, our new tool for creating beautiful interactive HTML timelines. Today, after a short private beta with some of our fellow news application developers, we’re opening the code to everyone.

TimelineSetter: A New Way to Display Timelines on the Web

As far as we know, there are no good open source frameworks that web developers can use to generate timelines quickly without losing design flexibility. So we made our own.


A series of programming and technical guides on how we collected data for Dollars for Docs.

The Coder's Cause in "Dollars for Docs"

Public records, as a programming challenge, in our Dollars for Docs project.

Chapter 3: Turning PDFs to Text

Dollars for Docs Data Guide: A tutorial on several methods to convert PDFs to spreadsheets.

Chapter 2: Reading Data from Flash Sites

How to read data from Flash-based websites, part of our data-scraping guide for Dollars for Docs.

Chapter 1. Using Google Refine to Clean Messy Data

How to use the Google Refine application to make sense of imperfectly recorded data.

Chapter 4: Scraping Data from HTML

Dollars for Docs Data Guide: A tutorial on scraping HTML from websites.

Chapter 5: Getting Text Out of an Image-Only PDF

Dollars for Docs Data Guide: A tutorial on converting images of tabular data to actual text for a spreadsheet.

Open Source Project: Thinner

Today we're releasing a new open source project called "Thinner."

A Tale of Two Documents

On Oct. 8, we published an interactive comparing separate versions of the same court opinion in a lawsuit brought by a Gitmo detainee. Here's how we did it.

The Rainbow Connection: How We Made Our CDO Connections Graphic

On Wednesday, we launched an interactive news application to help readers understand the cross-owned nature of Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO) in 2006-2007. Here's how we did it.

Pixel Ping: A node.js Stats Tracker

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