Thoughts of a Serial Tinkerer

All the New Things: This Website

Posted on 16 Nov 2011.

This is the first in a short series I’m calling All the New Things.

It’s a few days before my birthday, which seems like a good time to reflect on the past year and some of the changes that I’ve seen. Over the next few days, I’ll write a few posts on some of the more significant changes I’ve noticed this year in my life.

This Website

It seems appropriate to start with talking about this site as one of the many new things I’ve done this year. This website is brand new as of just yesterday.

For the last year or two my eponymous website has been just a single, simple flat HTML document that I threw together in about 15 minutes after I discovered my old web host had suffered some sort of catastrophic loss and all of my website files were gone.

I have recently been feeling the desire to start blogging again, so I began to think about rebuilding my website. I’ve been working with Drupal for years now but wanted something simpler. I wanted the freedom to be able to customize any page however I’d like if I wanted to, and I didn’t want to have to spend days hassling with installing and configuring Drupal modules and covering all my bases with a custom Drupal theme. I wanted simple, fast, easy.

Lucky for me, some of my coworkers at Treehouse Agency mentioned Jekyll, a static ‘blog’ generator built in Ruby by Tom Preston-Werner from Github.

To write posts, I would just write simple text files in Markdown (or HTML), create some simple layout templates, run the Jekyll program, and have a website.

It turned out to not be quite so easy, but that’s because I started exploring the various plugins that people have created and released for Jekyll and then decided to customize some for myself. But it was still quite easy.

So here it is, my new website with a blog (obviously). It is quite fast and currently doesn’t use any images for the design – it’s all CSS.

The site is based off the HTML5 Mobile Boilerplate and is responsive so it is more easily viewed on mobile devices.

It uses two webfonts from Google: Cabin, for the headers and titles; and, Droid Sans Mono for code.

In the coming weeks I’ll be adding an archive of the talks I’ve given at various conferences, as well as a project portfolio.

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