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Luciano Laratelli

I rewrote this site (again [again {again (again

I rewrote my site again.

A two-panel comic titled 'Developer's side projects'. The first panel has the developer sitting at their computer, saying 'I think I will start a blog...' The second panel says 'looks like I will have to develop a blogging platform from scratch first.'

It has gone through at least five or six lives: first it was a Hugo site, then it was a Jekyll site (or maybe Jekyll was first), then I wrote it as a reagent SPA, then I wrote it as a server-rendered custom Clojure thing (first with Kit, then another rewrite with some lessons learned from Biff). This latest (and, dear god, hopefully the last) is with eleventy.

It's hard to retrace all of my motivations for these rewrites. The initial iterations used static site generators because I didn't know how to make a website from HTML and CSS. I did the SPA because a) Clojure and b) my friend Kiran had written his blog in a similar fashion. Then I switched to Kit because of the slowness of SPAs and general difficulties authoring posts. That was bad, too, though, so I rewrote again with a stripped-down version of Biff. That was fine, but when I went to add NamedTab, I found it not to my tastes again. It took me way too long to get a simple one-page site up!

I've been following Zach Leatherman, the creator and maintainer of eleventy, on Mastodon for some time. I liked what I was seeing, loved the documentation, so I figured I'd give it a go. After four or five hours of pleasant work spread out over about a week, the new site is ready! You're reading this post on it, in fact. I still have a few things to do (cleaning up the image pipeline, holding the CSS stuff correctly) but I like where it's at.

This switch simplified the deployment story for this site a lot. In the most recent iteration, publishing a new post meant:

  1. Writing the post in org-mode
  2. Exporting it to markdown
  3. Committing and pushing to GitHub
  4. CI runs to build a Docker image that gets deployed to

This takes between a minute and 45 seconds and three minutes. You may notice that it is also overkill for what amounts to a dumb pipe serving up some HTML and CSS.

Now it's: write blog post in either org-mode (then export it to markdown) or in markdown[1]. Then, just deploy to sourcehut pages:

source ${HOME}/.nvm/ && nvm use --reinstall-packages-from=current
source ${HOME}/.nvm/ && nvm use && yarn install

npx @11ty/eleventy

tar -C _site -cvz . > site.tar.gz

hut pages publish -d site.tar.gz

just install
just process
just tar
just publish

It's simpler, is nearly instant, and is a lot more flexible.

One downside is that sourcehut disallows tracking scripts, so I can no longer use plausible on this site. That is entirely a vanity thing that I may be able to live without. For the meantime, the convenience of this deployment strategy outweighs my desire for seeing my 17 visitors a month on a slick dashboard.

  1. Some things (e.g. images) are just easier in markdown than trying to wrangle ox-hugo. ↩︎

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