Blog update!

It is tradition to start every new year with a blog post lamenting why I haven't posted more. Instead, I have decided to kickstart 2020 with a list of the changes I've made to the blog to ensure I write more, why I've made them, and what interesting tools I've found along the way.

A big problem in my blog has always been how difficult it is to actually get something published. As I've mentioned in the past, my blog is powered by a bunch of command-line tools and Bash. This works fine when I want to work from home, but makes it very difficult when I want to blog something spontaneously: writing a post involves SSHing into my server, and there's exactly one computer from which I can do that. Converting an entry to the final HTML is not hard, either, but is friction enough that I need to be really motivated to get into it.

Enter 2020. I am more and more concerned about the state of the modern web, where "the internet" has become a synonym for Facebook, Google, and not much more. At the same time, I realize that I'm part of the problem: I may not be putting content in Facebook, but I'm not really putting content anywhere. The little content I'm putting out is not particularly useful, either. Clearly, something had to change.

And thus, a plan for 2020 was born. In order to simplify blogging, I have now thrown away my custom blog engine and moved to Pelican. I've also embraced Markdown as document format, meaning I no longer have to worry about things looking ugly after I've written them down. All my previous content has been migrated from .html to .md using Pandoc.

On the content generation side, I've also decided to try something new. Rather than wait until inspiration strikes, I'll try to blog weekly about small problems and how I solved them. This will often involve talking about Bash and Python, so I'll have to pay special attention to other topics that could be interesting.

In the meantime, here are some changes you'll notice from the migration:

  • Some entries will look a bit different. My custom footnote CSS no longer works with Markdown, so I'll probably substitute them with regular, boring footnotes.
  • A couple entries with custom html will look weird for a while. It will take a bit to get them looking like before, and I'd rather avoid delaying the update until then.
  • The RSS feed will probably break a little bit. Seeing as the RSS will now be generated by Pelican, I imagine your RSS reader will panic a little bit.

Next in the pipeline: a showcase of my now-almost-defunct blog engine.