Hello World

After nearly a year of neglect, this blog is undergoing a major redesign. It is more of a rebirth in many ways, really. I am more-or-less starting fresh with a new layout, a new approach, and new content.

The original version of this site was actually an afterthought. Years ago, I wrote my dissertation in markdown and converted it into a pdf using pandoc. One benefit of writing it in a plain text markup was that it enabled me to leverage pandoc to produce versions of my thesis in various formats—html included. Consequently, once my dissertation was finished, pubslishing it on the web was a nearly effortless process.

Originally, this blog cosisted of some hand-written html documents to serve as a landing page for my thesis. Around this time I had also started accumulating syllabi and course materials for the classes I was teaching. These were all produced with pandoc as well, so I added them ad-hoc to the collage of contents on this site.

This all worked well enough until my blogging ambitions grew. I wanted this site to be the authoritative hub for my class matierials, publications, and creative projects, serving also as a digital resume. This would require a more versatile approach to managing the content for this site. At first I resisted using a static site generator to do the heavy lifting for me. I wanted to write my own.

My goal was to make my contents available in a variety of formats through various protocols. At the time I was interested in writing my own bespoke solution to achieve this. I went through numerous iterations of the same idea in several programming languages, and while I learned a lot along the way, I ultimately gave up on trying to code my own solution. I am at best a hobbyist when it comes to programming. At my skill level and with the limited amount of time and energy available to invest in a tool I intend to rely on, it was too unwieldy of an undertaking.

I have finally settled on Hugo. It is a fast, actively developed, relatively simple solution, and after playing with it for a couple weeks, it seems flexible enough for whatever I might get up to with this blog. My own SSG attempts all used John Macfarlane’s djot markup, which I much prefer, but I am content to use markdown in the meantime.

At this point, I am working to get all the salvageable content from my old blog moved over to this new design. Apart from that, I am pretty much ready to write. I have a layout I have been working on for a while that should accommodate all my typographic needs for now, and Hugo is pretty easy to customize.

So, hello again, world!