This, my personal website, has gone through several iterations over the years. Back in 2010 when I first registered this domain name it was primarily a portfolio site of my game development endeavors. Much of the site, and the existing blog at that time, were powered by MovableType on the back-end which I had already been using extensively for my other websites. Ever since college I had planned to update this site to something more modern, but the ease of use of the old MovableType, and the bloated resource requirements of most modern frameworks had led me to think I'd just need to write my own from scratch (my usual plan in such situations). Recently the updated PHP version on my hosting provider finally got new enough that it broke MovableType, which brings us to this iteration now somewhat powered by Ghost. As a programmer I miss the ease with which I could edit the raw html templates within MovableType, but as the source code of Ghost is fully accessible we'll get there in time. Ghost provides a really nice editor for making blog posts but it suffers from the usual resource bloat of modern web development. There's no reason to need a full Node.js instance running on your web hosting server to dynamically generate these web pages whenever someone accesses your site (after all the website only changes as frequently as I make a post). And while the developers over at Ghost have slowly realized this (it was the major issue I had with their pitch when they started on Kickstarter back in 2013) their grand solution at the present is to integrate with some other 3rd-party code base and let that other project generate the static html pages. In my desire to simply write posts without needing to code up something from scratch (the whole reason I initially went down the road of using Ghost) this 3rd-party approach sounded fine. Unfortunately, it turns out that these various 3rd-parties only have access to the post details and have to "render" out the pages using their own themes/CSS. This completely defeated all the effort I had spent getting the default Ghost theme to look somewhat how I wanted it to. What I really wanted was to simply have the site look the way it does when served up dynamically by Ghost but from a static set of files. So here I am having just written my own tool to statically generate all the static html files from my local Ghost instance to quickly push to the site. It still needs some work, but this should allow me to start updating the world as to my progress.
This website however is only one of the many ways in which I am starting over. As most readers of this site likely know I quit my full-time employment at MITRE April 16th, 2021 to move up to my property in Maine and build a house. At some point I'll edit together some videos of the whole process but in the mean time I'm planning to put up some simple pictures of my progress along with short-ish blog posts in order to allow my friends and family to know what I'm up to without needing to wait until I find the time to edit together everything I've been filming. So if you're reading this, welcome to my new site! My posts will likely be sporadic until I have a more permanent solar setup in place but I do expect that to be ready by the end of June (2021). Wow, end of June is coming soon. So exciting!
[Update] And now I remember why I had stopped transitioning to Ghost in the past. Despite all it's great features they still haven't implemented a basic search capability, a way for folks to leave comments, nor a convenient way to view past posts once there are more than 10... I guess this is why we can't have nice things. Looks like I have a lot of work to do to get this site to a more functional configuration. If anyone would like to suggest decent looking frameworks that don't rely on a full Node.js or equivalent resources feel free to send those suggestions to suggestions[at]marktroutt.com