I have had a blog in some form or another for a very long time. In the way back of the beginning times I had one on LiveJournal (long since purged), and had one for a while here on my personal domain, and then moved to Blogspot.
I never particularly liked any of those options. The Blogspot one is the most recent, longest surviving, and the only one still with recoverable data, but I was never happy with the interface or the layout, and hated that I was restricted in the layout and HTML I could use (to protect me from myself, or to protect me from other users of the platform). It also did a poor job of being a personal web space because of the lack of anything not-blog. As a result of never liking it much, I avoided interacting with it, and so it was easily forgotten, and didn’t get updated often.
I have thought a couple of times of putting up Wordpress or something like that in order to get more control, but the few times I have had to deal with Content Management Systems in my work life has left me scarred and bitter, so no thank you.
Enter Static Site Generators. At some point I might do a more how-to-like posting about the particular one I’m using, but in short they are a tool that takes a bunch of articles written in plain text or with some simple markup (like reStructuredText or Markdown), applies that to some structure defined by a bunch of templates, and spits out an entire web site which can be uploaded somewhere. I mostly use RST, and so top of this post looks like this:
Blog Relaunch ============= :date: 2022-12-28 20:11:00 :tags: meta :slug: blog-relaunch :category: Blog :author: Matthew Pounsett :status: published :summary: Moving my blog home from Blogspot will hopefully be a way to refresh my excitement about writing, and resume making regular updates. I have had a blog in some form or another for a very long time. In the way back of the beginning times I had one on `LiveJournal`_ (long since purged), and had one for a while here on my personal domain, and then moved to `Blogspot`_, and now back here. .. _LiveJournal: https://livejournal.com/ .. _Blogspot: https://mpounsett.blogspot.com/
The attraction to this is that it’s fairly simple to manage compared to a CMS, allows for easy version control of content, and all without requiring me to run databases or manage plugins, or really any specialized software on the host where the web-site lives. On the down side it has a steeper learning curve than a CMS, and probably isn’t accessible to anyone not comfortable with working on the command line, or with some simple scripting. I am very comfortable with these things though, and so it seems like all up-side to me.
I’m hoping to be able to leave the Blogspot articles up (and therefore not break any old links) but redirect traffic here, to their new canonical home. This is not easy though, which is a problem tightly tied to the reasons I don’t like using Blogspot.
So, over the course of the coming weeks I will be exporting and converting articles from Blogspot and adding them here, and hopefully adding redirects from the old Blogspot versions. As articles appear here they will show up as “old” articles as if they have always been here, so you’ll probably only notice if you go looking. They require some massaging to convert them from the Blogspot XML export into something I can use here, so I’ll be getting to them slowly, probably.
At the same time I plan to resume publishing relatively frequent (frequent for me) articles about whatever’s on my mind, now that it will be easier to do that. I’m also going to be participating in #100DaysToOffload, which is a “challenge”, of sorts, to post at least 100 times in a year. I have a bit of a backlog of ideas, so should be able to make a pretty decent start.