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New blog, powered by Hugo

If you’re seeing this post, it means I have flipped the switch and started using Hugo as the engine for my blog. You may remember I almost turned off the blog, and I have indeed made the blog read-only in June, as Typo was misbehaving and I could not be bothered to fix it.

A few months ago I decided to make the blog read-only and disabled comments, it actually meant replacing the whole app with the output of the caching layer in Rails. Not great but it worked out for a while. In the meantime I have been thinking of what else I could do to make it easier to maintain the blog. At the moment, the best option I can think of is this: a static blog engine with Disqus for the commenting, which is not my favourite but could not find a better alternative.

Hugo works out fairly well, and I’ve settled on a modified version of the Strata theme. Some of the improvements I’ve made (and I’m making) I’ll send upstream, others might not so easily make it. I’m a bit surprised that Hugo does not, by default, try minimizing or merging the Javascript resources, so I might invest some time on that at some later point.

While I made sure that all the permalinks would match with what I had before, there are obvious things that changed place, such as the RSS feeds, and the monthly archives don’t exist anymore (did anybody ever use them?) plus I’m missing a CSE to search the blog. On the other hand I’m also missing ads, so your mileage may vary on whether this is an improvement or not.

As for comments, I think this is important to state outright, because I know someone will start complaining about the fact I settled on a closed, non-free service such as Disqus. I don’t like it either but it’s the best option I found in the short run. I do hope I’ll manage to get a better replacement at some point in the future, but the open-source alternatives I found appear to be the trend-du-jour.

Isso appears to be the most mature alternative, but it uses SQLite to store the comments, because «comments are not bigdata» completely ignoring the fact that SQLite is horrible for parallel accesses, which means the app is likely not going to keep up with a spam attack. The alternative from Hugo’s author relies instead on MongoDB and NodeJS, which is for a different reason horrible. I did see one written in PHP, but using XML files written directly, with the default instructions suggesting changing a directory to 777.

I particularly don’t like the fact that Disqus only allows getting a backup copy of the comments out up to a limit that they don’t disclose, with their instructions essentially suggesting that you should try requesting a backup, and if nothing mails you back twice, then you’re too big. Not a great trust I can put on that.

So anyway hopefully I’ll manage to write more interesting stuff soon, for now I hope I didn’t break too many links. There are also a few posts that likely have broken text due to having to convert all the two thousand posts written in Textile to Markdown with Pandoc and it not being completely accurate. If you see anything wrong, please just leave a comment and I’ll pick it up from there.

About the background picture: it might be worth noting, the picture I’m using is mine and I took it from my Air France flight to Shanghai, in September. Yes, the guy who was so afraid of flying is now traveling around the globe for work. Ironic?

Comments 12
  1. I’m glad to see you finally found a good basement for your blog. Even if I don’t read you at every single update, I still like your writing style and how do you consider the world.I was afraid of flying before I did my first trip, partially because I have a phobia from high places. But after that trip, I changed my mind a little bit so it works now without issues. But I still fear on high places…

  2. I know most of your content is in Textile format. Have you tried Textpattern? The CMS that Textile was originally written for. I recently dropped the Nikola static site generator in favor of WordPress, mostly because I wanted to be able to schedule posts and own comments on-site. I’m seriously moving again and this time to Textpattern. WordPress is a total mess and Textpattern seem to be the better option in every way [except responsive images].As for Isso, it doesn’t look like you have to use SQLite with Isso. I found a comment saying “Hopefully DB-independend SQL” in their source code, and the syntax does indeed look like it should work just fine with MariaDB or just about any SQL capable database engine. Can’t find any traces online of anyone actually having set it up with another database engine, though.Lastly, there doesn’t seem to be any hierarchical way at all to navigate to older blog posts anymore. No archive page and no pagination of the blog’s homepage. That leaves just the tag pages for moving through your archives, and readers will have to guess at what tags are available as there is no list page for those either. Maybe add a sitemap page laying out the structure of the site would make it more accessible? Sitemaps doesn’t have to be hidden away in page footers either.Wow, this turned out to be a complete mess of a comment. In any case: welcome back to blogging; I hope you’ll keep it up.

  3. I have now converted all the textile content to Markdown (or at least tried to, some of it didn’t convert properly, so I’m still going through some checks to make sure it works correctly) so I should have more options. I have not looked at Textpattern, though I did look at WordPress and that felt way too much of a mess because of all the plugins behind it 🙁 Isso could be made to work, but I don’t have the time to fork another webapp for now, but at least it gives me some leeway.There are indeed a few things missing; though there is an archive page, it’s just not linked anywhere. I need to restore that and a CSE box to search the blog, as otherwise it’s almost impossible to find what you’re looking for. I’m also told that the IE-conditional comments are broken (these come from the upstream theme I’m using) so I suppose I’ll have more changes to share publicly.

  4. That’s an interesting thing to know. I have assumed for many years that my fear of flying was similarly due to my fear of heights, though that one is also non-conventional. In particular, I have no problem walking up a mountain, but I do get dizzy if I look down the stairs at the second floor of anything.My current theory is that when I was a child I was made to ride a “flight simulator” in a theme park, and I’m fairly sure I felt nauseous pretty soon, and pressed the cancel button to get out. Though I never had nausea in a flight even during turbulence, I’d expect that to be a factor.

  5. I’m not producing theories 🙂 Before I had my first flight, I fighted my way to use our ladder to reach things like lightbulbs in the lamp on the ceiling (I’m kinda short), literally step by step. It lasted for few weeks… I am not sure it helped me or not to tolerate the flight.

  6. Note that Disqus allows anonymous comments and handle spam for you. That’s great compared to a service that you have to maintain yourself. I think it should fit with most librists, except those that don’t want to use Javascript. On my blog, I load Disqus only when the user clicks on a link. This also enables me to respect the stupid EU law about cookies (no analytics).

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  9. I think disqus is the best option for blogs and info websites. You can easily control comments and prevent spammers.

  10. There are without a doubt a couple of things missing; however there is a document page, it’s quite recently not connected anyplace. I have to reestablish that and a CSE box to look through the blog, as generally it’s practically difficult to discover what you’re searching for. I’m likewise informed that the IE-restrictive remarks are broken (these originated from the upstream topic I’m utilizing) Cheap Flights so I assume I’ll have more changes to share openly. I have not taken a gander at Textpattern, however I looked at WordPress and that felt an abundant excess of a wreck in view of all the modules behind it 🙁 Isso could be made to work, yet I don’t have room schedule-wise to fork another webapp for the present, yet at any rate it gives me some breathing space.

  11. I’m happy to see you at long last found a decent cellar for your blog. Regardless of the possibility that I don’t read you at each and every update.I still like your written work style and how would you consider the world.I feared flying before I did my first excursion, somewhat in light of the fact that I have a fear from high places. In any case, after that excursion, I altered my opinion a smidgen so it works now without issues. Yet, regardless I fear on high online air tickets

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