23 Jul 2017
Jekyll Migration Complete
It took a while, but the migration of all the old Blosxom blog entries to Jekyll is finally complete. Overall, it wasn’t a terrible process – at least, it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it was going to be – but there were some hiccups and I’m still not entirely happy with the new layout, compared to the old one.
The old site might have looked like garbage on mobile, but I was pretty happy with it on desktop; this new template, while quite pretty, isn’t all the way to my liking so I’m planning to continue tweaking it.
Things I learned in the process:
HTML is still just as much of a pain as it was ten years ago (or twenty years ago); all the new tools and frameworks have basically been offset by an increase in demands placed on pages, such that creating one with a modern “easy to use” framework (e.g. Bootstrap) is still just as nerdy a task as it’s always been. There’s probably a lesson here.
Blog comments seem to be dead. I don’t know if I’ll re-enable comments on the new iteration of this blog; it doesn’t seem like many people use them anymore, and there’s a significant overhead involved in spam control, or you have to farm out the whole thing to a service like Disqus.
Jekyll and static generation tools are cool. I already knew this to some extent, because I’d been a fan of Blosxom and its ilk for a while now, but I’m glad to see that people have really run with the concept.
Git is amazing. I use Git heavily in my day job, as do many people today, but primarily in its intended role as a VCS for software development. It also works pretty admirably (for something never designed that way) as a content-management system back-end. And a poor-man’s backup system. And a collaborative editing system for documentation. And… lots of other things.
Hosting has gotten cheaper. The cost of putting content online has, as one would hope given the gains in the underlying technology, fallen dramatically. You can pretty easily make a site that will withstand high-demand conditions (the “Slashdot effect” or similar), either for free or for just the cost of the domain, by combining a static site generator with free GitHub Pages hosting and managing the content via Git. That’s not what I’m doing, because I’m still hosting via the SDF, but I could if I wanted to and it wouldn’t cost a thing. That’s pretty neat.
Blogging is dying; long live blogging. On one hand, “blogs” qua blogs don’t seem to be in vogue anymore, and the decline of RSS readers and integration has made traditional blogs like this one less accessible and harder to follow for casual readers. This is unfortunate, and I hope the pendulum will swing back eventually. On the other hand, there are still a lot of people writing, and a lot of content being put online, even if the people who wanted to be ‘professional bloggers’ have moved to YouTube or other commercial platforms in search of ad revenue.
Microblogging sucks and Twitter is a dumpster fire. Really, it’s awful. Except as a way to get the attention of corporate customer-service faster than anything except a fax machine; that I have to admit Twitter is pretty great at. But the ultra-short-form “blogging” style invented by Twitter doesn’t seem to encourage critical thinking or analysis, and I’ve come to believe it’s basically toxic as a mode of communication for non-trivial topics or ideas.
Anyway, my intention is to continue posting things here when the mood strikes, for as long as it’s both technically feasible and personally amusing; hopefully that’s a good long time. And if Jekyll gives me as many years of service as Blosxom did, I shouldn’t have to learn a new back-end system for a while.