Restarting kizu.ru

Hi there! That was a long way and I think I’m some­where near the end —I’m re­launch­ing my site. I can’t re­mem­ber how many ver­sions of it were there when it was en­tirely in Russ­ian, but that would be the sec­ond ver­sion of my site in English.

Oh, did I say I’m near the end? I lied. You know what is the main fea­ture of this ver­sion? It’s rough. It’s ter­ri­bly, aw­fully draft, it's bro­ken and smelling. Don’t look at the source —you won’t find there any­thing bet­ter than ugly, barely work­ing code. Re­ally, I’m not jok­ing. Why is it so? I de­cided to fight my per­fec­tion­ism. I tended to pol­ish, re­fine and then pol­ish again my site be­fore; I tried to show only the bestestest code I wrote. But now, this ver­sion —it is so far from any­thing I would like be­fore. And that’s awesome.

The Goal

So, why did I rewrote the whole site from scratch? Why do I think that it’s su­pe­rior to the pre­vi­ous vari­ants even in it’s deeply rough form?

That’s easy. I set the goal for my­self: make a site that would be easy to up­date. That’s it —all other ver­sions with all en­gines I tried for them weren’t handy for me. I had a lot of things to do for up­dat­ing and fill­ing the site or chang­ing any parts of it. And I wanted to just write, write a lot. I have a lot of ideas for posts and things to pub­lish at my site, but I’m lazy. Any pre­vi­ous ver­sion was like a wall for me, the wall I could­n’t make my­self to jump over.

How­ever, af­ter a lot of pro­to­types, dif­fer­ent en­gines and rewrit­ing the whole thing sev­eral times, I came up with the so­lu­tion that would fit me and would make up­dat­ing my site a plea­sure. And here it is. All the ba­sic fea­tures that I wanted are com­plete, so I can't wait any­more and launch it. But why is it plea­sure to up­date the site now?

GitHub & Jekyll

I could praise and praise GitHub —all the work those peo­ple do is worth a bunch of ar­ti­cles. But I’ll men­tion just one thing now.

GitHub gives you a way to host sta­tic sites —GitHub Pages. You could take your repo, throw some sta­tic files in it and af­ter a few sim­ple ac­tions you could look at your own sta­tic site ei­ther at GitHub, or at your own do­main if you’d set it up.

But there is more: other than just host­ing plain dull sta­tic files, GitHub al­lows you to au­to­gen­er­ate them for you —us­ing Jekyll.

You could eas­ily make a ba­sic blog us­ing Jekyll —it has every­thing you’d need for it: cat­e­gories, tags, perma­links, gen­er­at­ing feeds, etc. And as it’s a gen­er­a­tor, every page is gen­er­ated just once, on your push to the repo, so it makes it nice for per­for­mance and server load —users would get just plain htmls. A lot of peo­ple cho­sen the GitHub as a host­ing for their blogs.

I’ve cho­sen too. I’ve al­ways had a lot of de­mands for a sta­tic gen­er­a­tors —I write in two lan­guages, have a lot of ex­per­i­ments em­bed­ded in posts and a lot of other stuff. Jekyll uses Liq­uid tem­plat­ing en­gine. It’s rather sim­ple, but with some guts you could do com­plex things with it. I’ve dig it a bit and made a lot of small im­prove­ments for my blog —there would be at least sev­eral ar­ti­cles on that. And maybe some­day I’ll re­fine and rewrite all those things to a state of a stand­alone pro­ject that could be used as a boil­er­plate for a sim­ple nice and pow­er­ful blog with all in­ter­est­ing fea­tures in­cluded. So, wait for up­dates —there would be some.

Prose.io

Ok, so I’m us­ing GitHub, so I can just push the changes to it and they’ll go live. But GitHub have a nice API — so there are some web apps that al­ready use it and do a great job with it. One of them is prose.io —and it works re­ally well, I think I’ll write an ar­ti­cle or two on it some­day. I re­ally liked it.

Write an ar­ti­cle”

How much times did I say “I’ll write an ar­ti­cle on that” al­ready? The point is I came with that New Year’s Res­o­lu­tion: to write at least one ar­ti­cle a week af­ter launch­ing the new site. But every­thing tells me there would be more ar­ti­cles: I have a lot of drafts and ideas to tell and write on.

So, just wait for it! I’ll try to mix ar­ti­cles on the mak­ing of the new ver­sion of site with those I have al­ready ideas for or with just any­thing that would fly there in a front of my eyes.

I’m not sure about the for­mat of the blog/​site, be­cause every­thing could eas­ily change, but I’m sure it would be fun.

Markup & Design

As I al­ready men­tioned —right now there is only base­ment for the site that gives me an easy way to write a new ar­ti­cle, change any pre­vi­ous one or just play with any­thing. Every­thing else is un­fin­ished.

Markup is in a state of an early pro­to­type, there is al­most noth­ing in­ter­est­ing here. Well, some nice touches are there hope­fully, but they are cov­ered with lay­ers of trash. Bad se­lec­tors, no con­tin­u­ous code style (the styles are gen­er­ated from Sty­lus ac­tu­ally), a lot of copy-and-past­ing, ex­tra code and other bad things. Don’t read my CSS. All the things that are nice I’ll men­tion in all the new shiny posts, so you could just sub­scribe to the RSS or fol­low up­dates in my twit­ter.

De­sign, on the other hand, is al­most sta­ble. Yeah, there would be changes and a lot of them, but the whole con­cept is there.

  1. The Font. I spend a lot of at­ten­tion to it. There is a lot of the Font: I’ve cho­sen a big one for body, big enough for me at least. If it seems too big for you —you could re­duce it us­ing your browser or just sit far­ther from the dis­play. I think it’s bet­ter to please those who are not that good at look­ing at small let­ters than those with ea­gle eyes.

    Also, the font is serif. The sad part is that my blog is both on Eng­lish and on Russ­ian —and there are very few good free fonts with cyril­lic sub­set. And a lit­tle more paid ones. I’ve cho­sen to pay. The font is 21 cent by Let­ter­head Stu­dio. Don’t know why, but I re­ally like this font. I bought it from my­fonts.net —it’s nice they have it ’cause al­most all other paid font providers are some­what greedy —I don’t think pay­ing monthly fee for a font is nice.

    The whole font story is re­ally tough and long. You can guess if it would trans­late into an ar­ti­cle someday.

  2. Min­i­mal­ism. I’ve al­ready men­tioned it at twit­ter —it’s very hard to make a min­i­mal­is­tic tex­tual site and not fall into cloning great iA’s site. Some of the it­er­a­tions I did for my site were dan­ger­ously close to that one. Maybe that’s not that bad af­ter all, but I’ve stopped and tried to find what to do to make my site some­how stand out of sim­i­lar ones. Min­i­mal­is­tic text-only sites are a trend, so it would be nice if my site would be recog­nis­able in some way. Of course, it’s not fin­ished, but I hope the shape can be seen.

  3. Vi­sual fea­tures. I’ll cer­tainly write more posts on that, so only briefly now: look at the gamma and col­ors. I tried to re­duce num­ber of plain black and gray col­ors (and plain white too), us­ing a small tint to every­thing. Also look at the header and footer (on desk­top) —I know, it’s not a new ef­fect, but I kinda liked it and wanted to use it there as it per­fectly fits into theme. And look at the links —the col­ors, the vis­ited ones and es­pe­cially look at the small thingy that can be vis­i­ble on the un­der­line that ap­pears on hover.

Open Source

De­spite the rough trashy code in­side, the code of this site is on GitHub. Yeah, it’s needed for all this Jekyll magic to work, but there is also an­other thing: the power of open source. Any­one could go and fix all those aw­ful mis­takes I do while writ­ing the posts in Eng­lish (in a ver­rry bad Eng­lish I guess, sorry!) —now it’s very easy. Every ar­ti­cle on site have two links at the bot­tom: one for cre­at­ing an is­sue on GitHub straight away —so you can point me to any er­rors or add some­thing to the post, and if you’re that gen­er­ous, there is a link to the ar­ti­cle at prose.io —so you could go and fix it.

Those ac­tions would be very fast as long as you have GitHub ac­count, so I hope you would use it. Thank you in ad­vance!

This whole idea on go­ing open source for ar­ti­cles is great, so there would be a lot of ar­ti­cles on that coming.

That’s it or tl;dr

Ok, so you can see the first post from a list of all those I’ll write —with a new site un­der them. It’s drafty, bro­ken in a lot of ways and smells in­side, but that would change some­day. Every­thing would be bet­ter and bet­ter and I’ll try to cover all the changes I do ei­ther in ar­ti­cles, or just in twitter.

So, thank you for read­ing this lengthy post (or scrolling till the end at least). Fol­low the up­dates, send pull re­quests and stay tuned!