– the blog –

New Blogging Platform and Other Stuff

Upon this static site generator, I shall build my blog.

Greetings, fair viewers, it has been a while. Now that I am once again unemployed and have copious amounts of free time, I have decided to try and blog again. Previously, with the micro-blogging of Twitter and the photo/video sharing on Instagram, it really felt like I was mostly covered with sharing little tidbits into my life with people. Also, with a full-time job and biking 12-18 hours a week, it became increasingly hard to find the mental energy to really dedicate to writing. And, if I am being perfectly honest, we're subscribed to at least three streaming services right now and I would hate to miss out on all the excellent shows that are out. Seriously, go check out "The Orville: New Horizons" and "For All Mankind", if you are even remotely into science fiction.

So, with a bit of free time on my hands, I went through my various websites and upgraded all of their libraries/packages/code to be up to date with current and (supposedly) more secure versions. During that process, I got mildly infuriated about how much effort I was putting into updating my CMS/blog just to be more secure without gaining any really useful features. It's been years since I started using it and basic search features were still not available in the admin panel. Features that were in ExpressionEngine–the CMS that I wrote a long, long time ago–had in its very first version. Bleargh.

And then I started thinking about how I usually write (in a text editor or notes app) and just accepted that I was not enjoying the writing experience in that CMS at all. So, I tossed it to the curb. Unwilling to use a hosted platform like for snobbish reasons, I posted a tweet and someone responded that Eleventy might be worth a look.

I dragged my heels a little bit as I was hesitant to learn Yet One More Thing in technology, as it feels like my brain is already crammed full of knowledge about web development. Eventually I took a couple hours to play with it and once I got the hang of things, found it to be a pretty compelling choice. Basic templating, combined with fast loading static files, and each entry its own file. Simple, fast, and not terribly hard to build a blog on. You can see the current iteration up on GitHub.

Rebuilding the blog and design took a couple hours, tweaking a few things for serving and deployment took a couple more hours, and then finally I wrote a quick script to output all of my current blog entries into the new files. Probably, all told, about 10 hours of work. Easy peasy, relatively. And with GitHub's built in ability to add/edit your repo on the web, pretty simple to create content from anywhere.