Hi¬†there! That was a¬†long way and¬†I think I‚Äôm somewhere near the end¬†‚ÄĒ I‚Äôm relaunching my¬†site. I¬†can‚Äôt remember how many versions¬†of¬†it were there¬†when it¬†was entirely in¬†Russian, but that would be¬†the second version of¬†my¬†site in¬†English.

Oh, did¬†I say I‚Äôm near the end? I¬†lied. You know what is¬†the main feature of¬†this version? It‚Äôs rough. It‚Äôs terribly, awfully draft, it’s broken and smelling. Don‚Äôt look at¬†the source¬†‚ÄĒ you won‚Äôt find there anything better than ugly, barely working code. Really, I‚Äôm not joking. Why is¬†it¬†so? I¬†decided to¬†fight my¬†perfectionism. I¬†tended to¬†polish, refine and then polish again my¬†site before; I¬†tried to¬†show only the bestestest code¬†I wrote. But now, this version¬†‚ÄĒ it is¬†so¬†far from anything¬†I would like before. And that‚Äôs awesome.

he Goal

So, why did I rewrote the whole site from scratch? Why do I think that it’s superior to the previous variants even in it’s deeply rough form?

That‚Äôs easy. I¬†set the goal for myself: make a¬†site that would be¬†easy to¬†update. That‚Äôs it¬†‚ÄĒ all other versions with all engines¬†I tried for them weren‚Äôt handy for¬†me. I had a¬†lot of¬†things to¬†do¬†for updating and filling the site or¬†changing any parts of¬†it. And I¬†wanted to¬†just write, write a¬†lot. I¬†have a¬†lot of¬†ideas for posts and things to¬†publish at¬†my¬†site, but I‚Äôm lazy. Any previous version was like a¬†wall for¬†me, the wall¬†I couldn‚Äôt make myself to¬†jump over.

However, after a¬†lot of¬†prototypes, different engines and rewriting the whole thing several times, I¬†came up¬†with the solution that would fit me¬†and would make updating my¬†site a¬†pleasure. And here it¬†is. All the basic features that I wanted are complete, so I can’t wait anymore and launch it. But why is it pleasure to update the site now?

itHub & Jekyll

I¬†could praise and praise GitHub¬†‚ÄĒ all the work those people do¬†is¬†worth a¬†bunch of¬†articles. But I‚Äôll mention just one thing now.

GitHub gives you a¬†way to¬†host static sites¬†‚ÄĒ GitHub Pages. You could take your repo, throw some static files in¬†it¬†and after a¬†few simple actions you could look at¬†your own static site either at¬†GitHub, or¬†at¬†your own domain if¬†you‚Äôd set it¬†up.

But there is¬†more: other than just hosting plain dull static files, GitHub allows you to¬†autogenerate them for you¬†‚ÄĒ using Jekyll.

You could easily make a¬†basic¬†blog using Jekyll¬†‚ÄĒ it¬†has everything you‚Äôd need for¬†it: categories, tags, permalinks, generating feeds, etc. And as¬†it‚Äôs a generator, every page is¬†generated just once, on¬†your push to¬†the repo, so¬†it¬†makes it¬†nice for performance and server load¬†‚ÄĒ users would get just plain htmls. A¬†lot of¬†people chosen the GitHub as¬†a¬†hosting for their blogs.

I‚Äôve chosen too. I‚Äôve always had a¬†lot of¬†demands for a¬†static generators¬†‚ÄĒ I¬†write in¬†two languages, have a¬†lot of¬†experiments embedded in¬†posts and a¬†lot of¬†other stuff. Jekyll uses Liquid templating engine. It‚Äôs rather simple, but with some guts you could do complex things with¬†it. I‚Äôve dig it¬†a¬†bit and made a¬†lot of¬†small improvements for my¬†blog¬†‚ÄĒ there would be¬†at¬†least several articles on¬†that. And maybe someday I‚Äôll refine and rewrite all those things to¬†a¬†state of¬†a¬†standalone project that could be¬†used as¬†a¬†boilerplate for a¬†simple nice and powerful blog with all interesting features included. So, wait for updates¬†‚ÄĒ there would be¬†some.

Ok, so¬†I‚Äôm using GitHub, so¬†I can just push the changes to¬†it¬†and they‚Äôll go¬†live. But GitHub have a¬†nice API¬†‚ÄĒ so¬†there are some web apps that already use it¬†and do¬†a¬†great job with¬†it. One of¬†them¬†is¬†‚ÄĒ and it¬†works really well, I¬†think I‚Äôll write an¬†article or¬†two on¬†it¬†someday. I¬†really liked¬†it.

‚ÄúWrite an¬†article‚ÄĚ

How much times did¬†I say ‚ÄúI‚Äôll write an¬†article on¬†that‚ÄĚ already? The point is¬†I came with that New Year‚Äôs Resolution: to¬†write at¬†least one article a¬†week after launching the¬†new site. But everything tells me¬†there would be¬†more articles: I¬†have a¬†lot of¬†drafts and ideas to¬†tell and write¬†on.

So, just wait for it! I’ll try to mix articles on the making of the new version of site with those I have already ideas for or with just anything that would fly there in a front of my eyes.

I’m not sure about the format of the blog/site, because everything could easily change, but I’m sure it would be fun.

arkup & Design

As¬†I¬†already mentioned¬†‚ÄĒ right now there is¬†only basement for the site that gives me¬†an¬†easy way to¬†write a¬†new article, change any previous one or¬†just play with anything. Everything else is¬†unfinished.

Markup is in a state of an early prototype, there is almost nothing interesting here. Well, some nice touches are there hopefully, but they are covered with layers of trash. Bad selectors, no continuous code style (the styles are generated from Stylus actually), a lot of copy-and-pasting, extra code and other bad things. Don’t read my CSS. All the things that are nice I’ll mention in all the new shiny posts, so you could just subscribe to the RSS or follow updates in my mastodon.

Design, on the other hand, is almost stable. Yeah, there would be changes and a lot of them, but the whole concept is there.

  1. The Font. I¬†spend a¬†lot of¬†attention to¬†it. There is¬†a¬†lot of the¬†Font: I‚Äôve chosen a¬†big one for body, big enough for¬†me¬†at¬†least. If¬†it¬†seems too big for you¬†‚ÄĒ you could reduce it¬†using your browser or¬†just sit farther from the display. I¬†think it‚Äôs better to¬†please those who are not that good at¬†looking at¬†small letters than those with eagle eyes.

    Also, the font is¬†serif. The sad part is¬†that my¬†blog is¬†both on¬†English and on¬†Russian¬†‚ÄĒ and there are very few good free fonts with cyrillic subset. And a¬†little more paid ones. I‚Äôve chosen to¬†pay. The font¬†is ‚Äú21¬†cent‚ÄĚ by¬†Letterhead Studio. Don‚Äôt know why, but¬†I really like this font. I¬†bought it¬†from¬†‚ÄĒ it‚Äôs nice they have it ‚Äôcause almost all other paid font providers are somewhat greedy¬†‚ÄĒ I¬†don‚Äôt think paying monthly fee for a¬†font is¬†nice.

    The whole font story is really tough and long. You can guess if it would translate into an article someday.

  2. Minimalism. I‚Äôve already mentioned it¬†at¬†the birdsite¬†‚ÄĒ it‚Äôs very hard to¬†make a¬†minimalistic textual site and not fall into cloning great iA‚Äôs¬†site. Some of¬†the iterations¬†I did for my¬†site were dangerously close to¬†that one. Maybe that‚Äôs not that bad after all, but I‚Äôve stopped and tried to¬†find what to¬†do¬†to¬†make my¬†site somehow stand out of¬†similar ones. Minimalistic text-only sites are¬†a¬†trend, so¬†it¬†would be¬†nice if¬†my¬†site would be¬†recognisable in¬†some way. Of¬†course, it‚Äôs not finished, but¬†I hope the shape can be¬†seen.

  3. Visual features. I‚Äôll certainly write more posts on¬†that, so¬†only briefly now: look at¬†the gamma and colors. I¬†tried to¬†reduce number of¬†plain black and gray colors (and plain white too), using a¬†small tint to¬†everything. Also look at¬†the header and footer (on¬†desktop)¬†‚ÄĒ I¬†know, it‚Äôs not a¬†new effect, but¬†I¬†kinda liked it¬†and wanted to¬†use it¬†there as¬†it¬†perfectly fits into theme. And look at¬†the links¬†‚ÄĒ the colors, the visited ones and especially look at¬†the¬†small thingy that can be¬†visible on¬†the underline that appears on hover.

pen Source

Despite the rough trashy code inside, the code of¬†this site is¬†on¬†GitHub. Yeah, it‚Äôs needed for all this Jekyll magic to¬†work, but there is¬†also another thing: the power of¬†open source. Anyone could go¬†and fix all those awful mistakes I¬†do while writing the posts in¬†English (in¬†a¬†verrry bad English I guess, sorry!)¬†‚ÄĒ now it‚Äôs very easy. Every article on¬†site have two links at¬†the bottom: one for creating an¬†issue on¬†GitHub straight away¬†‚ÄĒ so¬†you can point me¬†to¬†any errors or¬†add something to¬†the post, and if¬†you‚Äôre that generous, there is¬†a¬†link to¬†the article at¬†¬†‚ÄĒ so¬†you could go¬†and fix¬†it.

Those actions would be very fast as long as you have GitHub account, so I hope you would use it. Thank you in advance!

This whole idea on going open source for articles is great, so there would be a lot of articles on that coming.

hat’s it or tl;dr

Ok, so¬†you can see the first post from a¬†list of¬†all those I‚Äôll write¬†‚ÄĒ with a¬†new site under them. It‚Äôs drafty, broken in¬†a¬†lot of¬†ways and smells inside, but that would change someday. Everything would be¬†better and better and I‚Äôll try to¬†cover all the changes I¬†do either in¬†articles, or¬†just on mastodon.

So, thank you for reading this lengthy post (or scrolling till the end at least). Follow the updates, send pull requests and stay tuned!

Let me know what you think about this article on Mastodon!