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Hello World!

It's been a long time coming, but I've finally gotten around to getting a blog set up! Getting started on blogging been on my to-do list for many years by now, but things never quite lined up. Lack of time or energy, nothing to write about, life demanding attention elsewhere — it was always something. This has changed in the past several months though, and so here we are!

There’s more posts in the pipeline, but for now I’ll talk a little about how the blog is set up.

It’s built with the static site generator Zola, which is similar to Jekyll and Hugo, but is written in Rust (as opposed to Ruby and Go, respectively). The original plan was to use Hugo, but it doesn’t support custom syntax themes (or if it does, I couldn’t figure out how), and so I switched to Zola which makes this very easy; just point it to a .tmTheme file like is used by TextMate and Sublime Text in its config.toml file and boom, code blocks have custom highlighting.

As for why I chose a static site generator over something like WordPress or Ghost, mainly I wanted something simple and extremely low maintenance. In the past I’ve been responsible for Wordpress blogs and did not find the experience particularly enjoyable… the ecosystem surrounding Wordpress is amazing, but it had me putting more energy than I’d like into keeping out the relentless stream of bots poking at the seemingly endless list of vulnerabilities in Wordpress and its plugins in hopes of being able to inject ads or invisible links to assimilate the blog into their armies of linkfarm zombie blogs.

While managed hosting mostly fixes these issues, the other reason for going static generator route is the greater degree control it affords and how it keeps content relatively disentangled from the platform. Lots of packages can read Markdown files, which makes moving to another generator simple. There’s no export step, so migrating is mainly copying a bunch of text files over and maybe making some easily automatable tweaks to the frontmatter sections at their tops.

The page theme used is a fork of nodep, a theme designed to be extremely lightweight that I ran across while searching Github for Zola themes. The fork is called nodep-x and it’s a work in progress.

For the syntax highlighting theme, I’ve selected Railscasts Extended, which is based on the Railscasts TextMate theme used by Ryan Bates in his Ruby on Rails focused screencast Railscasts (aaand now I’m feeling old). This theme has been what my editors have been configured with for over a decade at this point, mainly because I find it easy on the eyes and it’s been ported to just about everything.

The hosting for all of this is provided by Netlify. Github Pages would’ve worked fine too probably, but Netlify has some extra features for the same price (free).

Anyway, that’s about it for this blog’s first post. If you’d like to follow along, a link to my Atom/RSS feed as well as my Mastodon profile can be found on the main page. Until next time!