Thomas Britton

Artist/Coder, Austin, TX

tmbritton.com redesigned in Jekyll!

Sometime around performing the 50th core/plugin update on my Wordpress blog I began to grow weary. Then I stopped updating my website. Before doing any writing or coding or anything there were always maintenance issues to address. Wordpress was great for learning some PHP. It was certainly a great springboard for what I do nowadays in Drupal, but I figured there must be a better way for me to run a website.

First of all, as a web developer why would I ever want to see a rich text editor? I want to be able to update my site using nothing but the command line. And now I can. I redesigned the website in Jekyll.

Now, I'm sure I don't need to tell you what a static-site generator is, or the speed and maintenance advantages to running a website this way. If you've somehow found my site you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel and must have read an article about this stuff before. But anyway:

Advantages of a Static Site

  • Security: I don't have to worry about updating plugins or core software to prevent Jacko Nexus from hacking my face.
  • Performance: No server-side processing. A monolithic framework such as Drupal simply can't run under any load without some crazy-ass reverse-proxy like Varnish. Not that my site gets any traffic, but still, I'm sure as shit not gonna configure Varnish for a blog.
  • Deployment: It's as simple as rsync. I could have gone as far as to host it on Github Pages, but it was easy enough just to put it in the same Dreamhost account as the old Wordpress site. No messing with DNS this way.

Things that will need Work-arounds

  • Comments: I went with Disqus. There's no particular reason I chose Discus, it just seems to be the most popular javascript-driven commenting system. This kinda violates the whole "own your own data" principle, but this site is so bereft of activity that the forms are mostly decoration.
  • Search: If I get around to it, I can use Apache Solr or Elasticsearch for search on this site. They're both free-standing search servers that are accessible via simple GET request.

Planned Features

  • Art Gallery: I gotta build a gallery system. Shouldn't be too hard. Jekyll can handle post types, so it'll just be a matter of setting up another template. I figure I'll steal Pinterest's layout for the gallery section since I stole Medium's for the blog.

  • More Code: I'm gonna write about code a lot more with this incarnation of the site. I do far more coding than art these days.

So check back, I'll have an RSS feed going eventually so you'll never miss an amazing post.

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