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:
- Allowed me to publish blog posts of a, mostly, personal nature. The primary audience of these were family, friends and colleagues.
- Gave me an excuse to hone my PHP skills by being a practical project.
- Provided a place to archive, document and share some of my software projects.
Those requirements are now all out-dated because, respectively:
- I can use Facebook for these "posts" and reach the full audience rather than just those that want to browse my site.
- I have recovered from my interest in PHP.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- I'd like to be able to work both off-line and on my tablet/phone while away from home.
- I'd like my content to be portable, and better suited to version control than my previous SQLite3-stored data.
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.