Old Blog, New Digs

April 6, 2019



Over 6 years ago, I embarked in the sometimes frustrating, but fun, endeavor of making a blog that was my own; before the heyday of Medium, and after the glory days of Wix and Freewebs. It was my first time hosting my “own” website, navigating the unfortunate complexities of domain registration, web hosting, and web design. At that time, I stuck with a classic Wordpress approach. An approach that brought some nice cogs for customization, but occasional fretting about updating plugins, reviewing spam comments, and difficulties in custom styling.

I will suggest to someone new to the world of the blogging that you initially put some time into working in a content management system (CMS), like Wordpress. There’s definitely some tricks to the trade that it brought me, though I have trouble highlighting if it brought me much more understanding outside of the early days I had with Freewebs, Neopets, and Myspace custom html. Ultimately, Wordpress was always going to be a stepping stone for me. And now, it was on to static site generation.

Hugo


The website with the sleek and simple Hugo design.

Almost a year ago, I finally got around to updating the website. As you can see, outside of a handful of pages and some aging blog posts; not much had been done. So I turned to Hugo for a better template. Since 2013, the world had shifted into what I consider a more “hipster” try-out-my-method scene of static website generation. With GitHub and the world of unlimited customization, it’s definitely become the new thing to have your own website with some slick design and even for it to tie in with simple markup language, like Markdown.

Hugo was great! It did everything for me. Kept things fairly simple and generated the entire website I had to post to the server. But why change? Why in less than a year? Honestly, a mixure of boredom, lack of support in making it better (Hugo doesn’t seem as in favor anymore), and something new that caught my eye. Well, “new” is always relative, and we’ll see if this blog post ages as well as the others. 😉

Jekyll and Tufte


The new big thing: my Jekyll website.

Jekyll has a strong support network with numerous answers to my constant questions on StackOverflow. It also has quite the interesting plugin support for LaTeX, which is a language I’ve definitely explored a bit more after my graduate studies. It uses a variant of Markdown called Kramdown, as well.

I got incredibly pumped when I found this Git repo by Clay Harmon called “Tufte-Jekyll” and took a look at the example website. I’ve always been impressed by the interactive feel of Genius.com, where you can click a lyric and find some suggestion on the true meaning. Tufte-Jekyll does a good job of making that margin and footnote feel come to life in a way that I can utilize.

Note that the theme hasn’t really been touched in 3 years as of April 2019, so it may require some hand-holding and some band-aids here and there, but I’m excited for the future of this blog! And hopefully you are too!

Some notes on getting started with Jekyll

(1) I found this Jekyll tutorial quite helpful.
(2) Blog post on setting up Google Analytics
(3) At one point, I had an error pop-up. This helped me.
(4) A solid cheatsheet for Jekyll
(5) Another helpful blog post

Old Blog, New Digs - April 6, 2019 - richard latham