The how and why of this website, both for your enjoyment and my future forgetfulness.
— Joseph Schmitt1
This website was compiled by Jekyll, an open-source static-site generator. What is a ”static-site generator” you ask? The Jekyll team gives a pretty good definition:
It [Jekyll] takes a template directory containing raw text files in various formats, runs it through a converter (like Markdown) and our Liquid renderer, and spits out a complete, ready-to-publish static website suitable for serving with your favorite web server.
There are a number of benefits to using static websites. Primarily relating to speed and security, and manageability (all of your posts are actual files, not packed in a SQL database). Another clear benefit for me is that I can keep all my code on OneDrive, which remains synced across all my devices.
There are of course drawbacks, for example, I have to re-generate and re-deploy the static files every time I want to update something (this, however, can be automated).
The internet provides numerous articles and opinions on both sides. Ultimately, the decision falls on what your particular use-case is. For my purposes, Jekyll was the perfect fit.
My Jekyll setup
Currently, I use the following plugins:
e-mail protect: obfuscates my e-mail address so bots can’t scrape it.
jekyll-figure: allows me to create
<figure>elements in my documents and put anything inside: pictures, SVGs, PDFs, etc. It can even create a very flexible
figcaptionelement which can contain more Markdown.
Because this website is just a bunch of static files, it can be hosted anywhere. I store the files in my OneDrive, and simply publish Jekyll’s
_site folder to the internet using the wonderful (and free) Netlify. They take care of everything: SSL, CDN, and all the other boring back-end server stuff.
Or lack thereof.
There’s not much to this website in-terms of design. It works. I took heavy insipiration from Instapaper in-regards to layout and legibility.
The body typeface is Lyon, and the headings and navigation are set in Neue Haas Unica Pro. Any code will be served in whatever the default monospace typeface your operating system uses.
Joe Schmitt’s colophon is a great read. He uses Kirby, a flat-file CMS. Not exactly the same as Jekyll, but it’s a fantastic CMS nonetheless, and I highly recommend it if you feel Jekyll is too “hands on”, or if you are looking for something more client-friendly but don’t want the overhead of Wordpress or similar CMSs. ↩