About (this site)

This website is built a bit atypically; and while I think this bores a ton of people, hopefully others will find it interesting.

Current

Content

The repo for the site is hosted on GitHub here. It’s a generated static site, a la Jekyll or Octopress. I’m using Frog, for a few reasons:

I used Jekyll previously, but its original author heinously mismanaged GitHub and was a petulant little asshole about his deservedly shameful exit. I’ll follow Julie’s advice and not associate with him or his work if I can help it.

I’ve written before about various other blogging engines and approaches I’ve used over the years, and while I think my preference is for a self-hosted out-of-the-box system like Ghost, its generally not worth the trouble of migrating at this point 😛

I use a few scripts on top of Racket to manage things:

I’m loosely planning on migrating this to a tool I write. There’s some functionality that I’d like to have that I don’t think I’d like to argue for in the upstream branch, nor do I want to hard fork it. Besides, I like the excuse to play in a new stack.

Hosting

Being a static site, it’s comparably easy to host this in S3. I use a full AWS stack of S3, CloudFront, and Route 53. A decent guide to do this is here.

Note that if you want to add HSTS with this stack, it’s a bit more cumbersome than using CloudFlare as I did before, when I was hosting this on a running nginx container. Julia Evans explains the basics of the tech here, and this posts explains how to do it in this stack here. If you’re feeling so empowered, check your site Mozilla Observatory.

Comments were something of A Decision, I ended up using [Discourse][] with [embedded topics][]. The main other contender was [Talk][], as part of [The Coral Project][]. If you’re looking for a solution, you can also look at [Staticman][].

The Discourse instance is hosted on Digital Ocean, because the prices for the compute looked comparable and their interface is just a whole lot nicer.

Styles

The backbone of this aesthetic comes from Best Motherfucking Website, part of a family of sites I mentioned here.

That said, I do add images to most posts, and I’m adding styles/nav back. I am committed to keeping this site pretty simple.

Perf

If you run a site, there’s a good chance you can find something you didn’t know by running it through Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. There’s also Lighthouse.

One of my favorite people in the space of site performance is Ilya Grigorik, so I highly recommend checking out his stuff.

This, as the previous section, is massive overengineering for this pathetic little site, but then you may just smile a bit wider when you look in the mirror in the morning 😄

Accessibility

I’m pretty new to this, but it’s a good idea to run your sites through something like a11y, AChecker, or WAVE. a11y Project has some great resources as well.


Historical

More Pablo used to be More Paul, and it’s had a lot of different iterations. None of this applies anymore, but is worth storytelling value, and/or if you have questions for your own sites.

Content

My first blog was this LiveJournal I started freshman year of college. I can’t remember the login details, and don’t have access to the email addresses that they pointed to. It’s a shame, there were a few “followers-only” posts (and a few private ones) so some of it is Just Lost.

In college while learning computers, WordPress was taking off, so I hosted the original “More Paul” as a WordPress install on a host I can’t remember. Internet Archive caught a few of the pages, though I can’t say I miss them much.

I lost that account on the host after my credit card expired and all their warnings were Spam collected. The experience of the last two blogs might be why, in part, I really appreciate static sites (and how easy it is to git commit && git push them to the cloud).

Hosting

After the above and I switched to static sites, I put my files into a Linode. This worked a bit S3 (push the diff) except it was more like an EC2 instance with raw nginx. It was probably the simplest stack I’ve run.

Two years ago, as containers were blowing up, I thought I’d learn them with this site. The most ridiculous thing I ever did was host this on Google Cloud (my old team!) using Kubernetes. I can’t say I came out of that particularly proficient with these technologies, but it was a fun experience.

If you’re not doing your DNS through Amazon, it’s pretty nice to use CloudFlare, especially for easy SSL. There might be drawbacks to this, however.

Styles

I read the CSS book by the authors way back in 2006, when blue beanies were a thing and “web standards” was still something of a fight (such was my perception, anyways, it might have just been great branding by Zeldman and Meyer and co.). Which is to say, I knew what CSS looked like and float was probably the most advanced property I remembered (that, and that to center something dynamically, was margin: 10px auto;).

So when I was rebuilding the site, I was looking at other sources and more or less losing my mind. Has science gone too far? What is this text-rendering property? vh as a length descriptor?!?

It was all very humbling. I did some more traditional styling, archived here and here. I got those by applying this basic process:

I found this guide (part two here) a pretty great read on these topics, too.

Frog uses Bootstrap by default; I went with Foundation since I knew it better. Now I’m trying to stay off both.

In Conclusion

Use Squarespace.