New Site

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So, about a month ago, I redesigned my site and moved it to Jekyll. The impetus for this was that after a WordPress update, my site basically broke: top-level pages (e.g. would work, but not, say, and I couldn’t find the cause. Also, WordPress is slow as fuck on my server, and I was tired of having to use a GUI (and a slow one at that) to update my site. I’m a command-line guy, so why not edit my site on the command line?

So I spent about a couple of weeks, starting on around September 26, doing pretty much nothing but going to class and working on the new site, finally getting it up on October 5, I think. Most of that time was spent working on the site navigation plugin, closely followed by the Liquid templates, since I was wanting to replicate most of the functionality from my old WordPress site, which proved to take a rather large amount of coding. I also added some new functionality, like subpage listings and tables of contents in the sidebar on pages (see Projects and AppBackup for examples). Currently missing are blog archives and comments (I’m wanting to use jskomment or make my own comment system using TrailBehind’s Comment Widget and a minimalistic PHP backend). I really don’t want to use a third-party hosted comment system like Disqus because I don’t want the comments to be dependent on a third party which could go out of business or otherwise lose or remove them.

This was my first real experience with Ruby, which is a rather interesting language, and with responsive design (try visiting my site on your smartphone, or just resize the window (or press Ctrl-Shift-M if you’re running Firefox 16 or later to open Responsive Design View) to see the mobile version), so all of this was a really good learning exercise as well.

As for the design itself, well, I didn’t really have a specific plan for it, but I kind of just had a rough idea in my head of what I wanted and just made it as I went along. I ended up rewriting the stylesheets using Stylus, which I chose mainly because I liked the syntax better than that of LESS and SASS (and transparent mixins in particular). This was actually my first experience using a CSS preprocessor, and I must say it’s much more pleasant than writing plain CSS, although I was surprised at the huge difference in the sizes of the Stylus sheets (653 lines total, including blanks) and the compiled CSS files (1,619 lines total). (The largest stylesheet by far is screen, with the Stylus version being 258 lines long and the compiled version being 1,082 lines long. This may be due in part to some inefficient loops and stuff. I should probably turn on GZIP compression in lighttpd to make up for it.)

Oh, and speaking of lighttpd, I did move my site over to lighttpd. I was using Cherokee since mid- or late 2010 because I got fed up with Apache’s config format and out of laziness, but of course I now find configuring lighttpd in Vim easier than having to use a buggy Web interface (having the page jump up to the top every time I click out of a text box is really annoying). I did look at nginx a lot, but the ability to properly add custom CSS to directory listings (as opposed to using a sub_filter hack) sold me on lighttpd (silly reason, I know). I kind of feel like I might like nginx’s config format better, though, but for now I’ve already put a lot of work into my lighttpd configuration. (It’s 333 lines long right now, including blanks. I have a lot of old stuff as well as some other things in there.)

Also, the day after I launched my new site, my awesome Web host upgraded me to a VPS with double the RAM (512 MB) and four times the disk space (24 GB) compared to what I had before. They had promised this upgrade last year to everyone (including me) who moved over to their new IP address block within the first 30 days, but you had to ask for it, and I never did, but then my dom0, cerberus, gave out , and they decided to just upgrade everyone on cerberus who was eligible. So when I logged into my server on the 6th, I noticed that it had rebooted recently, but then I noticed in my Byobu status line that my RAM usage was at about 495 MB, then checked my disk size, and I was really happy when I realized that I had finally gotten the upgrade.

And I’m also happy with my new domain name,, and with having as my new home page URL.

So I’m pretty happy with my new site, and in a couple of days, I’ll take the You’ve Been Owned campaign off so you can enjoy the design a bit more (if you like it, which I hope you do). I do want to start blogging more, and hopefully with my new setup, I’ll feel like doing so more often.