In the spring of 2015 I moved my blog from Squarespace to a simple, cheap, static site that was pretty much pure HTML. It was initially a cathartic experience to exercise basic web layout muscles to recreate Squarespace’s design without its added bloat, and it gave me an easy template with which to write new blog posts for the next 16 months. However, adding a new blog post was just difficult enough that it started to become a pain, and if nothing else, I had to copy around a bunch of header and footer markup that I wished could be templated. It was time to modernize just a little bit.
I’ve enjoyed working with Flask recently for dead-simple web stuff in Python, and so I set out to finally reorganize this site a little bit. My main goals were not too different from those of Casey Liss: Write posts in Markdown, achieve basic RSS functionality, but otherwise stick to a simple architecture. But unlike him, I didn’t set out to build a full engine. Rather, I pretty much just wanted to write posts in Markdown and have some Flask extension render them to a page for me. I don’t think I’ve added enough unique code to call it an engine.
The reorganization is complete. Now I can easily write content in Markdown, provide it with some metadata and a token to mark the homepage preview, and everything else is automatic. The big new feature is that I now offer (basic) RSS support. Better yet, to write a new post, I only have to write one Markdown file where besides the content of the post, I define a title, date and image. It’s neat, it’s static, it’s exactly what I need. Hopefully the reduced friction will encourage me to write more.
I enjoyed using DigitalOcean to host my previous website, but now that I have a clearer idea of what I need the site to be, I can just host it on Heroku now and save a few dollars a month. It feels good to be with the times.