There are some things I think of as bowties (though relevant, I’m not talking about these bowties).
Sometimes I think I should learn how to tie a bowtie. My only reward though would be that I was wearing a bowtie.— Zach Sanderson (@zachsanderson) November 13, 2011
That’s kind of how I feel about Wordpress. There’s nothing wrong with Wordpress. It’d been running my blog for some time. I kept thinking I should dig into it more, but then I’d be learning more about something I don’t really care about.
One thing that always seemed out of place for me was that I was using Wordpress/PHP to serve up static writing. I think I had 4 comments over about 6 or 7 years of Wordpress hosting. The fact that my server was recreating pages regularly (at least if anyone visited) was unnecessary. I kind of missed the good ol’ days where I’d hand code my blog, frames and all. This was during the Bloglines/pre-Google Reader era; I ended up handcoding an RSS feed.
Jekyll basically takes me back to that except the somewhat dynamic aspects, like generating an RSS feed (do people still use those?), are handled locally in my Jekyll build process. Jekyll’s one of those things that I was wanting the benefits of and unknowingly consuming from other people’s sites for some time. When I took the Jekyll course online, I was just nodding my head the whole time. It all made sense.
I sat on that Wordpress 2014 theme, or whatever it occasionally updated to, forever. When I’d consider writing something, I’d open up my site and feel embarrassed. I also wanted more control over how I was presenting. My site was best set up for longer-form writing. Something that, if I did it, took forever to get out. Sometimes I wanted to just throw up some photos I took or document some project I’ve been working on. Wordpress would let me do that, but for my brain, Jekyll makes a ton more sense and allows me more control and speed. Control by itself would be a scary thing because I could spend forever making it “perfect”, but in Jekyll, once my approach is set, I’m finding it easy to add on or shift the approach.
Although I technically have a projects page, it’s currently just a list of posts about projects. In the future, I’m going to set up that feed so that I can have project posts that are like parents and their child posts will be updates that show up in the feed but also tie into the original project post.
Besides being a more natural fit in how project/idea progress works, it will also allow me to talk about projects sooner. I could potentially post about a project/idea that doesn’t even have anything to show but can start being talked about.
I currently have the same setup for photos. It’s just a feed of posts that I create for each Flickr album that I upload. A lot of the time though, my Flickr feeds aren’t really the main things I want to be highlighting. If I’m looking to pick up a photo gig, it would be better to point someone to a portfolio rather than 30 pictures of my cat.
I plan on building out the main photos page to focus a little more on portfolio-esque stuff and still allow for some of the feed stuff like Flickr and Instagram.
The way I currently have things setup, most content is being treated as a “post” but I have those separated into words, pictures and projects. This existing separation allows me to create further compartmentalization. For example: I’d like to easily track books I’ve read and training/courses I’ve completed.
Going along with my philosophy on this site, these feeds will be for my benefit. I know how the internet works so of course I understand that other people could potentially look at them. But I’m going to put what I want to see. I’ll probably get more of a kick out of reading them a year later than anyone else will.
I currently am hosting on A Small Orange. It works just fine but I’d like to streamline the updating portion. Right now I’m just moving files via FTP, but I may look into Github Pages.
- Posting philosophy
- Jekyll setup for featured posts on home page
- Responsive images attempts