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Site reboot

Posted on April 29, 2013
Tags: metablog

After a long hiatus, I’ve decided to revamp my personal website, and this blog along with it.

I’m not sure when I first slapped up a website on this domain. It must be been 2003 at the latest, though. At the time, I was a graduate student in Philosophy and my little head was filled with Classical Greek and Aristotle, with little room for html. I believe the site consisted of a bunch of hastily assembled html files, probably versioned by sending them occasionally to my own email account. I wish I’d kept the files, even though I’m sure they would make me cringe now. Later, I added a WordPress blog that I used for teaching purposes. I probably also started using PHP at some point to glue page fragments together so that I wouldn’t have to copy and paste too much.

When I left graduate school in 2008 with the ambition of writing code for a living, the first thing I did as a learning exercise was to rewrite the site using Django, the Python web framework. This version of the site had a custom blog and a place for me to post links. The code wasn’t especially good, but it wasn’t bad as a beginner effort, and I think it may even have helped me to land my first job.

Fast forward to 2013. I wanted to redo my website partly just for the fun of it, and partly because much of the content was embarrassingly out of date. But I had also realized in the meantime that a dynamic website was probably overkill for me, and that a static website would be extremely simple to host and maintain. I also wanted to start blogging again, and I thought a static website written in markdown would be the easiest way to let me spend even more of my day in Emacs than I was already spending.

Since I’ve been especially interested in Haskell lately, I chose Hakyll , a static website generator written in Haskell, for this iteration of the site. It’s been a delight. Hakyll’s documentation is excellent, and the maintainer is extremely responsive on the mailing list. Indeed, he was so responsive that I managed to overcome my shyness and have my first ever (admittedly very modest) pull request on github accepted on the project. If you want to see how easy the entire thing was, the code for the site is here.

So enjoy, and perhaps now that I have a shiny new site I’ll be tempted to write more often.