The new redesigned somic.org just went live - if you are reading this in RSS reader and would like to see what it looks like now, you can visit the site at http://somic.org.
One change that you may notice immediately is a new theme. I dropped Cutline and switched to Carrington Text. I feel it helps me achieve better focus on content as opposed to surrounding presentation, and it’s better aligned with my goals for this site. I found Carrington theme by searching Google for “minimalist wordpress theme” - I think you’ll agree it’s quite minimalist, which is exactly what I was after.
But much more importantly, as a part of this facelift, I replaced the underlying technology as well. I no longer run Wordpress that has been powering my blog for nearly 2.5 years. Instead, I switched to Jekyll.
Jekyll is a blogging platform developed by Github for Github Pages. Its key feature is that it doesn’t use a database. All posts and pages are pregenerated from templates and can be served by any web server as a static web site.
There are many advantages to this approach, I think. Ability to edit posts in any editor (vi), ability to use external revision tracking system (git), ability to do bulk edits if necessary (sed/awk), ability to find things faster (grep) - these are just some of them. Very fast page load times are another benefit. And finally, not having to worry about hack attempts is another.
I found Wordpress to be simply too much for my needs. Last several times I upgraded, I didn’t get any significant changes for what I was using. Wordpress is a hugely popular publishing platform for dynamic web sites. But with roughly 2 posts a month and occasional comment here and there, it was never a good fit for me. As a result of a recent uptick in pageviews, I faced a choice of whether to add a caching layer or go pre-generated route (which, if you think about it, is just like caching but on filesystem instead of in memory), and settled on the latter.
Speaking about comments. I don’t have them for now. Because I appreciate time and effort of everyone who added comments in the past, I imported existing comments into the new system. But new posts are going to have no comments for now. If I ever decide I want comments back, I will hook up Disqus or something like this. In the meantime, Twitter is an excellent way to comment on my posts and a sure way to reach me fairly quickly. Alternatively, you can email me - my address is here.
To turn Jekyll into what I wanted for my blog, I had to make several changes. Nothing drastic, only small trivial pieces. I am planning to publish them soon, if anyone is interested.
With this announcement out of the way, I will return to regular programming later this month. Stay tuned!