I’ve missed blogging.

As much as I enjoy using Twitter, Google+, Reddit, Hacker News et al, nothing quite comes close to being able to devote an entire page to a thought, knowing the content is actually mine rather than the product of another social news machine.

So the bloggy thing is back.


No more comments

The web has moved on since I started johnstoblog nearly 10 years ago. As much as I like allowing people to engage directly with content, I felt uneasy about assuming control over it. Embedded Disqus or Google+ frames are clever, but you surrender too much and the user experience is horrible. So, no comments on blog posts (for the moment anyway).

Anything and everything…

I’ve not been a level designer for years, so now there’ll be a bit of anything.

…any time and every time!

This is me reserving the right to 6 months of not a peep.

A fresh design

This was a great opportunity to refresh my entire website. Content-wise, it’s basically the same as it was. I’ve spruced up the design a bit…

…and behind the scenes I’ve absolutely ripped out the innards.

All mine!

I was tempted to leave my site as-is and just start a blog on Medium or even just use Google+, but after my experience with Posterous it just seemed prudent to do it all myself.

Especially in the fast-moving world of the internet, you can really never know when the platform you and your friends rely on is going to collapse beneath your feet (although I’m pretty sure Medium et al will stand the test of time longer than most.)

This way’s also more fun.

Hullo Hugo

No one should have noticed, but the previous incarnation (circa 2012) was written in Python using simple templates on Flask and served via nginx. The version before that was written in PHP with Smarty templates and SQLite. The version before that was a terrifying mix of PHP, XML files, MySQL and Apache.

Now it’s dead simple, thanks to Hugo - hai to static site generation!

The process has been largely straightforward. The trickiest part has been reworking articles into Markdown, something I really wanted to do yonks ago. The old blog entries were a bit of a headache but not something a bit of scripting couldn’t convert fairly reliably.

I really quite like Hugo. Not only is it written in Go (which I’ve having a bit of an affair with lately), but it’s also not too opinionated, and has a bunch of handy tricks up its sleeve. The “3 min read” thing at the top of each article is one such trick.

There have been some niggles, the biggest being the switch from an incrementing blog ID to human-readable slugs. Hugo generates redirect HTML to handle this, but I’ve just set up my web server to do proper 301 redirects instead. Aside from a couple of bugs I fixed here and there, it all worked pretty smoothly.

…and that’s not all!

Actually, I think that is all.