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Website Changes

Abstract/TL;DR

I’m changing my site. Everything should go on working, but comments will disappear for a while.

Details

I’m changing both the server my site runs on, and the way it’s built. I’ve been using WordPress for the blog since I started it in 2006 (before that I used LiveJournal, and at some point I imported those posts, so the earliest entries go back to 2002). Just recently, though, I started having a problem with it.

Everything was still running OK, but I couldn’t post to it from external sources. So I couldn’t use MarsEdit, which is my preferred way to post, or the Micro.blog app for status updates, or even services like IFTTT, which has been adding notes and ratings for all the films I’ve watched over the last few months, from Letterboxd.

I’m sure I could have tracked down the cause and fixed it. But then there’s also the fact that I recently got round to upgrading to WordPress 51. I had avoided that because I didn’t like the new editor when I tried it out before. I don’t know quite why, but eventually I bit the bullet and upgraded.

And I hate it. I never really cared for the online editing experience at the best of times, which is part of the reason I preferred using MarsEdit. But I just have a visceral bad reaction to the new editor.

Add to that that static sites are a) much faster to serve and b) what “all the cool kids” are using nowadays. I started to look into moving to a static site.

The two big players here are Jekyll and Hugo. I’ve used Jekyll before, when I was at SAHSU. The documentation for the RIF2 is hosted at GitHub Pages, and that uses Jekyll, so it’s worth having a local implementation for testing, which I did.

But as a programmer, there can be times when you want to change the tools you use. Jekyll is written in Ruby; Hugo is in Go. I don’t know either of those, and while I like learning new languages, that wasn’t the purpose of this exercise.

In short, I wanted something that is written in Python, and I found it in Nikola.3 For reasons too boring to explain, I had trouble with it on my existing server, so I’ve set up a new one at Linode. I’ll be switching over to it later today. You shouldn’t see any changes, except:

  • All the comments on the blog will disappear. They’re not lost, and I plan to get them back, but I need to find the best way to do that. For now, comment via Twitter or Micro.blog.
  • The Atom feed may be broken. I’ll try to get that fixed. The RSS feed should still be fine, and at the same location as before. Anything that uses it should carry on working without any fuss.
  • If you follow me via WordPress.com (Hi Andrew), sorry. That’s going away. Try my RSS feed instead. Or Twitter; all posts automatically get Tweeted to my timeline.

  1. Which may have in part caused the problem. 

  2. Rapid Inquiry Facility. 

  3. Named after Nikola Tesla. 

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