A New Look
I confess that this site has been neglected for far too long. Yesterday I
thought that it deserved some attention and tried to improve its design a bit. I
like clean, hassle-free designs. The previous looks of this site was my attempt
at that. It was rushed though. The fonts were not thoroughly chosen, and it
didn’t look good on mobile devices. This time around, I decided to get a
stronger inspiration from people that know what they’re doing. I first started
to look at themes for Jekyll, as it is the generator that is currently
powering this site. Eventually I came around at Poole, a sort of helper
for Jekyll. Poole currently supports two official themes: Hyde and
Lanyon. I like Hyde’s fonts, but not its sidebar, so I adapted its CSS
stylesheet to suit my tastes, using what Poole calls the
masthead to have the
site name and main navigation links. I’m pretty satisfied with the end result,
and it is now finally readable on mobile devices. Let’s hope this provides me
with extra motivation to push new content more frequently.
A Fresh Start with Jekyll
I’ve been meaning to do a revamp of my old site, and took that as a chance to
try Jekyll. The decisions to use Jekyll over Wordpress, which I’ve
been relying upon over the past 3 years, revolve around the following:
- Flexibility. It can easily be deployed in any machine. The fact that the
whole site is only composed of static pages avoids the maintenance of extra
software on the server side and allows me to focus simply on the content.
- Control. I have full control over the content: how the pages are
displayed, how the content is linked, how the titles, urls and everything is
formatted. I’m not saying I wouldn’t be able to do this with a plaform like
Wordpress, but with Jekyll everything is explicit.
- Enhances a familiar workflow. Writing with Jekyll is closer to a workflow
that I’m used to as a software developer. I can keep all content versioned in
a local git repository and push to a remote repository when I’m ready to
publish. Moreover, I can write the posts using Markdown directly on
Emacs, using a familiar syntax and avoiding HTML.
- Simplicity. Having only static files makes scaling easier and improves
It’s surprisingly easy to get started with Jekyll. Having already ruby and rvm
in my system, I just needed to install the gem, setup the initial project
structure as described in its wiki and start working on the site design and
initial structure. Since Jekyll supports direct regeneration, I don’t need to
restart the local server to see my changes in the browser. To support syntax
highlighting, I installed Pygments (which is the same software GitHub uses
for syntax highlighting) and had it generate its css.
I wanted to keep the site design as simple as possible. Lacking proper design
skills, I grabbed a few ideas from Tom Preston-Werner, a few fonts from
Google Web Fonts and came up with the current state, which I have only
tested in Chrome and Safari, but whose simplicity of the CSS makes me believe
that it should be consistent across different browsers.
Since obviously Jekyll doesn’t support comments out of the box, I signed up for
Disqus and had it set up on my posts’ page. This was also surprisingly
What about the old posts?
Even though there are various ways to import posts from my old blog to the
new platform, I figured I would have a tough time with formatting issues. So,
for now, I’m keeping everything under the /old/ subdirectory. This also
means that the RSS feed URL has also changed, so grab the new one here.