moved to pelican

Here's what happened:

My phone started acting up. The lock button turned into a 'maybe turn the phone off' button. The unlock button turned into a 'maybe turn the phone off, or open the camera?' button. I impulse-purchased a new phone, and the old one magically fixed itself. New phone went into a box and my SIM remained micro-sized for a little longer.

I moved to Switzerland, got a nano SIM, started dual-wielding phones. New phone for new SIM, old phone for everything else. I migrated my apps to new phone (this was surprisingly tricky and there's an entire story in there about me conveniently being in the USA to receive a single text message, but it's a tangent), so I got a new Signal fingerprint. (Then my old phone bricked itself, as they do.)

I went to put my new Signal fingerprint on my lovely SSLy Github-pages website and noticed it was broken. For how long this was the case I don't know. I think it was a Jekyll update? Who knows. The time had come. I'd been thinking of leaving gh-pages for a while, so this was a good excuse.

Reasons for wanting to leave:

  • using plugins with Jekyll and gh-pages is mildly painful
  • the solution, and/or Jekyll itself was increasingly frustratingly slow
  • gh-pages was too mysterious

and the new reason:

  • website was mysteriously broken

These are probably fixable, I am sure. Maybe my solution isn't the best, but it's mine. I decided to: move from Jekyll to Pelican and host my site myself. By the time you're reading this, I'll have achieved that second part. At the time I'm writing it, I haven't even started.

Why did I do this?

  • Jekyll uses Ruby, Pelican uses Python, I know Python a lot better than Ruby
  • I never knew Jekyll very well, so there were no temptingly sunk costs to care about
  • I saw a site using Pelican during an impressionable moment
  • self-hosting (in a VPS, let's not be unreasonable) affords a level of control that I apparently want

So, this site now looks rather different. That's because another thing happened: I realised that I'm not a front-end web developer, or designer, or basically a person who has touched HTML since she was making Pokémon fansites as a ten-year-old. But I'd also like my site to look good. The old version, [which I should screenshot for posterity] was my first adventure into CSS and was unsurprisingly minimalist. I got some compliments on the design of it (yay!) but it was very hand-crafted and it looked it.

Now I am balancing competing desires: a site which looks good (and works well), and a site which is my creation. The solution for now is to use an existing Pelican theme, made by someone who presumably knows a lot more about websiting than I do, and modify it to my own purposes. Apparently the one I picked was intended to look like Medium so now after several hours of mucking around I have a Medium blog with no features. Excellent.

I'm modifying the theme (see my fork) and I will continue to do so until I get distracted by something else.

This post brought to you by an internet outage at the AirBnB I currently live in.