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Revamping the site

Revamping the site

Welcome back to my new and drastically improved website! In the last few weeks I worked to improve all aspects of the site for my own benefit mostly, but also for yours! So what you see here is all new: new design and new deployment technology. Only the content hasn't changed.

New Technology

Okay, I didn't blog as much as I wanted to in the past. There were numerous reasons, but lack of content wasn't the dominating one. The biggest problem was that the old django site didn't allow to quickly write down and preview a blog post in Vim. There was always a mental barrier to get started writing my thoughts down.

So I switched from Django to Blogofile which is basically a fancy static web site generator written in Python. So instead of generating the HTML on the fly on the server it is generated offline and then uploaded to the server. This has a number of advantages like enhanced security, quicker deployment and serving of the site. It also means I have the whole site under version control at all time and can carry it around with me wherever I go.

The disadvantages is that there is no longer any dynamic behaviour on the server site possible, so no fancy session support or contact forms. I have some ideas how this could be monkey patched into this, but for the moment I can live without that. I also believe that there is quite a lot possible with using javascript, so I might not need server site scripts at all.

The site is basically at the same functionality level than the Django site I used before. Especially code and LaTeX integration are top notch (for me). We still have no comments, but I hope to get Disqus Integration rolling sometime soonish.

New Layout

I was a bit sick of my old layout. It was ugly. The reason it was ugly is that I have no skill with CSS and HTML. Yep, I know the technical parts of it, but I am not a good designer, have no eyes for fonts, colors and so on. So I decided to spend some bucks and support a freelancing designer.

I personally find the dark black-yellow design gorgeous. And kubasto knows his trade: He included some javascript snippets to integrate with twitter, facebook and what not. I had some work to do to convert his code from PHP back to Mako Templates, but I think I have ironed out the most awful bugs by now.

What's next?

I revamped the blog for a reason: I finally want to do what I promised to do when I started this thing. I also need a page for some of my personal projects (e.g. UltiSnips) and as I am currently revamping a lot of topics from statistics, machine learning and computer science I want to provide short blog posts with explanations and code for others (and myself in a few years) to follow and learn from. Let's hope I deliver this time!

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