One day I thought of making a website

And by a website, I mean proper, no-cms, self-coded sites. I thought of making a website plenty of times, actually. And I tried to do it plenty enough of times. Once or twice, I even got proper hosting for it and let it run on a server for a while, before forgetting about it and letting the expiration date rolled. Designing and coding it can be a mess. But mostly it was the content I just can’t pull off. Oh, I love to design websites. And to further torture myself with tangoing with the codes that can make them. But as for content, I already have a blog I can barely keep updated. I’m too insecure to post in social media, even. What’s another site for?

A couple of days ago I got around to an idea to make a website that’s less a blog, more a repository for my thoughts. Each entry is just a short thought, with extra metadata like the exact time in which the thought occurred, what music I was listening to, what I was doing then. The idea stems from that I used to like to write long elaborate post to my journal. As my life gets busier, it gets harder to spare the time and consciousness to write more long elaborate posts. And yet, my thoughts are still pretty long-ish, and I don’t want to be constrained by things like Twitter’s 140 characters limit.

I also decided, from the start, that I’m not going to muck around the coding each and every time I have to update it, since it’s supposed to be updated up to three, four times a day, maybe more. And because it’s going to mostly run on my computer, until I finally have the guts to release a public version, I’m not going to tangle myself with server-side magic. So I browsed around for this cool new thing people has been making the last decade, static site generator.

The most famous one at the moment is probably Jekyll. But since it used Ruby, which I’m not familiar with, and doesn’t properly support Windows, I passed. The first thing I tried was pelican, a generator made in Python (which I’m familiar with). It was nice, and it was running, but when I was going to the designing part, pelican was kinda picky about its metadata. It wants so many things implemented in every one of its template (feeds, tags, paginations, etc) and it’s just not practical for me to design around all those things, and then mess around again to implement new metadatas, when all I want is just a simple website for my own eyes.

Next I looked around for something more customizable. I remembered running onto Metalsmith a while ago. It consists entirely of plug-ins and runs on Javascript, which I’m familiar with. More or less. It’s cool, but its documentation is kind of lacking. And I thought, I’m not going to spend more hours just figuring out what something does, no.

And then I tried Hugo. It looks pretty sweet. And though it runs on a language I’ve never heard of before I ran into this, its documentation is well-made and I thought it’ll be simple enough to learn.

As it ended up, well, it was pretty simple, really. Relatively. I still have to go back and forth between my text editor and the documentation, but it works well. Its installation is so easy, I had to spent a pretty long time browsing around because it couldn’t possibly be that simple. I still spent a couple of hours mucking around the code and learning a bit of Go, but, well, that’s much better than what could have happened, I think.

Still, you’d thought I should have ran away and never came back when I actually spent bleeding hours just trying to figure out how its flipping date format work. Sure, using weird codes for date format means you always need a cheatsheet, but at least it makes sense, unlike this jumble of arbitrary numbers.

Well. What’s done is done. The hours I’ve used and wasted are hours used and wasted. I have a site running and deployed on my computer and I do indeed use it. And update it all the time. It’s nice to have something finished and useful, for once.



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