The long way to a new website

It took me practically forever, but after a long time I managed to get a new website up and running. I had multiple new design ideas over the past few years, and even had a quite complex design for a business version of my website done by MARTES NEW MEDIA, but eventually I decided that I would not need a business website at all. About a week ago I started tinkering with the website agian, and decided to work one something new.

I heard about static site generators a while back already, but never came around to look more into them. So I started with a recommendation from Ocramius, namely what he uses as well, Sculpin. At first it seemed to work quite well, and I started to write up a nice layout with Bootstrap 3 and CSS. After that, I tried to set up all the different templates I would need, but quickly ran into a lot of bugs, some of which I could solve with workarounds, but others which were real showstoppers.

So I looked around on the web a little, and found out about a few more popular static site generators, the major ones being Jekyll, Hugo and Pelican. Well, I tried working with all of them and a few others, but eventually I always ran into one bug or another which made me really hate each one. Of course I asked Google a lot for workarounds and solutions, but all of those generators have a maintenance which makes most serious developers cry.

Eventually I gave up on that and concluded that if I want something working from A to Z, I'd have to write it myself. So I started writing a really small 200-line script, which generated my blog and the few static pages really nicely (and without bugs!). Since I'm a perfectionist though, I decided to write the entire thing down in a nice library, which I could eventually re-use if I'd want to. The code of the site generator is public, although it's currently combined with the repository of my website on GitHub. You are allowed to fork it though if you like to use it for your own website. If interest would be large enough, I may even consider making the site generator its own composer package.

As I didn't want the website to be completely static, I also added Disqus as a commenting platform. It was a little tricky to get my comments exported from my old system (let alone the articles, which I had to convert to markdown and then clean up manually), but I managed to link everything up properly.

Another change I decided was to finally have my website ran completely through HTTPS. I already had a few other domains of mine set-up for that through Let's Encrypt, but my old website had some hard-coded parts which made it impossible to run on HTTPS.

Last but not least, don't consider this the final version of the new website. I only wanted to bring it up so that no new comments get added to the old comment system. I will eventually add a few more static pages with more information about myself. But then, most of your are probably just interested in development topics, of which I may post more frequently in the foreseeable future.

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