Stewart's Virtual World don't let reality spoil your day

First post!

Welcome to my entirely new little corner of the internet.

A bit more than a year ago I turned off my webserver for what was intended as a temporary period. At the time my home was about to undergo some extensive building works and my "server room" needed to become a bedroom. Roll forward a year, or so, and I realise it is time to start bringing my content back on-line. This is a rare opportunity to rethink what I want from my web presence. Whatever I want, it is different to what I wanted when constructing my previous website.

What I wanted from my previous site

Key requirements were to provide for myself a platform that:

  1. Allowed me to publish blog posts of a, mostly, personal nature. The primary audience of these were family, friends and colleagues.
  2. Gave me an excuse to hone my PHP skills by being a practical project.
  3. Provided a place to archive, document and share some of my software projects.

Those requirements are now all out-dated because, respectively:

  1. I can use Facebook for these "posts" and reach the full audience rather than just those that want to browse my site.
  2. I have recovered from my interest in PHP.
  3. Places like GitHub have far more features for maintaining such content, and these places are where people who care would look.

What I want from my new site

There are lots of considerations, but these are my four biggest wishes for my new site:

  1. I'd like to share knowledge on certain, perhaps esoteric and certainly technical, topics. I wouldn't expect anyone to read my blog posts as a matter of course, but I'd like Google (and friends) to bring interested individuals to particular articles.
  2. I'd like to spend my time on useful projects rather than maintaining my website, and yet I want compete control of the technical details.
  3. I'd like to be able to work both off-line and on my tablet/phone while away from home.
  4. I'd like my content to be portable, and better suited to version control than my previous SQLite3-stored data.

A timely conversation with a former colleague led me to Jekyll and GitHub Pages. Thanks Tjelvar. They look perfectly suited to my needs!

Jekyll

Jekyll is a pretty simple static site generator. You just fill a directory with raw text files in various formats. Jekyll processes these files and spits out a ready-to-publish static website suitable for serving directly onto the world wide web.

You still need to define look-and-feel for you site, but there are pre-prepared themes available for those of us who are too lazy, too design-impaired, or both. The hidden navigation sidebar in the Lanyon theme is unobtrusive, leaving maximum screen space for real content, so I've adopted that as my starting point.

I can't use Jekyll directly on my Android devices, but there are plenty of Markdown editor apps and a few Git clients. I won't name check any of those until I've had the chance to really try them out and make my preferred selections.