Journal - New Year, New Site

June 24, 2017

After too many years building websites with overly-complex content management systems, I’m moving to static website generators. Having tested several, I’ve settled on Hugo, a relatively new and promising application written in Go.

Working with Drupal was never much fun. The first 80% of a Drupal project is usually easy, the next 10% is tough, and the last 10% almost never seems to get done at all. The thousands of features Drupal offers don’t matter for most websites, and the weight of all that cruft was getting in the way. Meanwhile, static website generators offer features that monolithic frameworks can’t match. Meanwhile, the transition to Drupal 8 has fragmented a once vibrant developer community at a time when more interesting options are ready to try.

Advantages

  • Easy: Static sites don’t require runtime interpreters or databases.

  • Inexpensive: Static sites can be hosted on the simplest of Web servers, keeping costs low.

  • Fast: Static sites load fast!

  • Secure: Flat HTML files are inherently secure from cracking (often incorrectly referred to as “hacking” in the corporate echo chamber).

  • Flexible: All files are edited locally, where I have maximum flexibility to customize the development process and automate the boring stuff.

  • Good: Static sites greatly reduce resource requirements resulting in a lower carbon footprint—which may help preserve our fragile biosphere a little longer.

  • Free: (as in “Free Beer”). No need to purchase proprietary products to do what always worked best with GNU tools.

  • Free: (as in “Freedom of Speech”). ‘nuff said.

Primary Tools

Task Tool URL Cost
Text editing vi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vi Priceless
Markup Blackfriday https://github.com/russross/blackfriday Priceless
Graphic manipulation GIMP https://www.gimp.org Priceless
Word processing LibreOffice https://www.libreoffice.org Priceless
Document processing LaTeX https://www.latex-project.org Priceless
Document conversion pandoc https://pandoc.org Priceless
Static site generation Hugo https://gohugo.io Priceless
Frontend Framework Bootstrap http://getbootstrap.com Priceless
Deployment rsync https://www.samba.org/rsync Priceless
Secure transfers ssh https://www.openssh.com Priceless