About the site
This site has been through several incarnations. It’s always been a static site, but the choice of generator has changed several times.
The first version, which I posted in late 2012, was built with Octopress. Maintaining a working Ruby setup for Octopress was a lot of hassle, so a year or so later I switched to the Python-based Pelican. That worked fairly well, but the AGPL and licensing issues always loomed overhead. In 2016, I experimented with writing my own site generator (called Hot Chocolate), but I just spent a lot of time reinventing wheels.
The current version is back to Ruby and Jekyll, but wrapped in Docker to simplify the day-to-day build process. What you see today is powered by:
- Jekyll, for building the HTML
- Sass, for building the CSS and stylesheets
- nginx, an HTTP server
- Cloudflare, a CDN/caching layer
- Docker, which wraps the local build process and nginx on my server
- Travis CI, which builds and publishes the site
- Linode, who provide the Linux server where I run nginx (referral link)
- Let’s Encrypt for SSL/TLS certificates
and all the site source code is on GitHub.
Between the Wayback Machine and my screenshots, I’ve put together a short visual history of what the site used to look like. Feast your eyes on my evolving skills in mediocre web design.
This is what the current homepage looks like:
Late 2014: The first red stripe
Unsatisfied with the bubbly menu in the previous design, I did another version of the site that added a red stripe across the top. I’ve tweaked this design quite a bit since the first version — the stripe became a less orangey red, I kept reducing the vertical height, and switched to a serif font — but the basic idea has remained the same.
At some point I added the speckled background to the header, which I’ve really liked, but it falls back to a solid red stripe if the image doesn’t load.
Early 2014: What is that sidebar?
The site went through another redesign and two font changes in 2014, as well as a sidebar that aged badly. If I’d put anything more useful there it might have worked, but it just had the links that had been in the header. This only lasted a few months before I moved the sidebar back into the header, and then redesigned the site again.
2013: A big name design
The first major redesign introduced the red-and-white that’s been a common theme ever since, along with a name in the header that seems ridiculously large to me today.
Late 2012: Octopress
The original site was a lightly modified version of the default Octopress theme, with a blue tint that didn’t last. I’m pretty sure I had a red version of this theme, but neither the Wayback Machine nor my screenshots provide any evidence that it existed.