Hello World! An introduction to this website.Sun 13 March 2016
A few years ago I registered this domain because I needed a place to host my portfolio site for my university course. Having a portfolio site was required by the University so they evaluate me on my progress during the course.
After finishing my bachelor course at university I ended up working for a start-up as the CTO. Because of the amazing challenge during my daily job this website and my old blog at Blogspot did not get any attention anymore.
For over a half year I had the idea to revive this website since I see that I often end up in some situation which is meaningful enough to share on the web. The things I will write about may cover some web-development related topics, but don't feel surprised if you see a post about my favorite coffee.
Since all this personal talking may not be interesting to you I will explain now what I've used to set up this blog.
Ingredients to create this blog
Static site generator
To create this site I've used a static site generator called Pelican. It's a simple and stable solution which meets my requirements. Pelican is written in Python and allows me to write the articles in the RST format straight from my editor.
It's also very easy to extend using a limited set of plugins. Currently I'm using plugins for minification and processing images.
While I have a background in design and I'm quite capable of turning an idea into some HTML and CSS making a theme is not my favorite kind of activity. That's why I've used the excellent pelican-hyde theme.
You may want to check out the source code. It's fairly small. I'm considering to adjust the theme later on so it looks a little bit more unique.
This site is hosted at TransIP and I'm just using a so-called shared hosting solution. For this website that's just enough. In this way I also do not have to maintain a server which allows me to focus on other activities.
A while ago I started to work more with TransIP. According to me they are one of the few parties in the Netherlands which are innovating by offering decent performing VPS systems for a low price, options for hooking up a large file system to the VPS and their own cloud storage platform called Stack.
Since I like to use services from local providers I've chosen for this solution instead of a static website hosting solution like Amazon S3.
This website is entirely static. So there is no application running which allows people to leave a comment at the page of the article.
For those kind situations Disqus is useful. It's also supported by Pelican by just a single setting in the configuration.
Aside from that Disqus is also a nice Python/Django powered company which is nice to monitor since they are one of the few companies which are dealing with real scalability issues and most of their engineers are quite open in sharing some of their knowledge.
I do not have found a solution for the statistics about my website yet. So I'm limited to the statistics of the hosting provider. In the past I've used Google Analytics for most of my sites, but that was before I became aware of the potential privacy concerns of the visitors.
I often read that people are moving to the self-hosted solution Piwik. However I did not investigate this solution further than just going to the main page of the product. In case you have hands-on experience with this solution feel free to leave a comment with your experiences.
All the content on this website is online available. So there is no need to keep stuff secret. That's why all the code to generate this website is available on GitHub so you can use it as an inspirational source to get your own Pelican powered website running.
By investing just a few hours I was able to set up a fairly decent blog system. Having something running which allows me to put some stories on the internet is satisfying. If you are also planning to set up a simple website then I can recommend this configuration. Even if you are a beginner in web development it should be fairly easy to set up something similar.
If you have any questions or remarks feel free to leave a comment!