Harping on my New Site
As I just spent an entire day working on it yesterday, I think I’ll discuss how my website redesign is going so far today.
I was very upset at how outdated and messy my site has looked for quite some time now. (N/B: It’s still the old version as I write this; the new one is slated to go up on Friday the 1st of May.) I made it using webgen about two years ago, and I never really updated it in any meaningful way. And boy, does it show.
Webgen, of course, is not the problem there. The problem rests squarely on my shoulders; I simply did not update it, and when I did, I didn’t know the system well enough to make it Simple and Clean. I needed a change, and I needed to tear it down anyway, so I went looking for a new Static Site Generator to power my site.
The reason I wanted a static is simple: I have, for most of my life, been using older computers. And even now, as I write this, my internet is so slow that it can’t load facebook reliably… at least not for chatting. I want my site to be viewable, no matter how bad Your connection or hardware is. And dynamic sites just don’t let that happen as well as static ones do.
Also, in regards to server use, it has its most obvious benefits.
Anyway, I tried a bunch out. I don’t know Go, so Hugo had the same problems that I had with Webgen. And Jekyll was just too powerful for my purposes, and its cousin Octopress was too focused on blogging.
This blog runs on Hexo, so I toyed with the idea of making both of my main sites with it… But well, Hexo is good for a blog, but using it for a homepage is nontrivial, unless You want a homepage that is also a blog.
Then, I stumbled across Harp: A little “Static web server” that takes a strict but powerful approach to designing a site and (provided You stick with it) allows You to both run it as a server and compile it down to static source files. It was exactly what I was looking for, although I recognized that I had a lot of work ahead of me: There were no themes built in that I could derive from, aside from a simple one-page welcome screen.
I was gonna do it (almost) from scratch, but I was able to do it right.
Anyway, alongside Harp I’m using:
- Markdown for the actual content, the whole reason to have a site in the first place.
- Jade as a template language, so that I don’t need to keep rewriting the same boilerplate in each file, or manually loop through certain data elements.
- Less and CSS3 to style the site, make it look pretty, and bring everything together.
- HTML5 for when something just won’t work in Jade or Markdown.
- [Javsscript][js]… well, Harp, Jade, Less, and the version of Markdown I am using (marked, I believe) are all written in it, and I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to Murphy’s Law.
I’ll let You know how it goes!