If you're reading this, then that means I have succeeded in creating a blog system for my beautiful website. (And also, that Gitar a pretty "presentable" thing is, as of now)
You know it: This means that from this day, I too, will be participating in the creation of the written word. This is coloquially named "blogging".
For the weekly readers this might sound like a joke, because I've been "blogging" for a while now. But this is first permanent blog post, so I'm still saying I started now.
This is one of those meta-posts. I'll be talking about my way of doing stuff, why I didn't just fire up WordPress, and some other things that might be relevant.
But before I forget: I am Maarten. Welcome!
Why a blog
This is not particulary to do something social or something, but more to share some things with the world in a personal way, to yell about how ruined (applied) informatics is in today's world, …
Not to mention that it's also very pleasant to do! Some kind of creative hobby, turning thoughts into a readable format, writing the backend code of the system (and maintaining it), … Maybe I can enrich somebody with what I write. Eventually, it's all about trying to make the world a better place, then why not try to do it via my blog?
This is also a subproject of my personal website. Apart from Gitar, a blog is a total must-have for a self-respecting website, isn't it? However, I opted to build my own system, instead of downloading an existing system (and having to deal with all the hooks to just get it working). Either other solutions are too big, or too simplistic. I wanted a blog with:
- Built-in support for blog posts in multiple languages (more on this later)
- A simple system to reply to something, with a low barrier (so now obligatory account registration or something)
- Django support (or worst case, super-easy to hook it up with that)
- Ability to write posts in Orgmode syntax, and render them with Django's template system
And I couldn't find one. So I made it myself.
Yay! The technical mumbo jumbo!
The framework I use to make this all happen, is Django. The best creation for web development since the development of Nginx, if you ask me.
The blog system uses a nice amount of Django's features. You can review the (Free/Libre!) code yourself in the Gitar repository.
Blog posts are written in Org files, instead of directly in HTML5. This allows for pretty and readable posts, and using Pandoc, are easily translated to HTML-code. It goes without saying that everything is encoded in UTF-8.
I use the GLAND-P-stack, a made-up system stack by me: GNU, Linux, Arch, Nginx, Django, and PostgreSQL. It's the best stack in existence, and I'll never admit that I might be wrong on that.
Difference from other blogs
Euh, I'm totally not advertising my blog here, if it may seem so to you. I apologize for that, should that be the case.
So eum… It's not Wordpress or Blogspot, so that's more than 50% of all blogs with which I have absolutely nothing in common.
Everything is self-hosted; pictures, text, stylesheets, fonts, … So no crappy addons or trackers from Google, Facebook or "asocial" buttons. They often load tonnes of JS, slow everything down, they're ugly (or at least, you have no control over how they look), they invade your privacy, …
Eventually, this results in an irritating reading experience. I also loathe advertisements, which explains why there are so few of them, can't you tell? I'm pretty sure you like this a lot more than on other websites 🤓
I've also decided to offer my blog in 3 different languages: English, French, and Dutch.
English is pretty much the lingua franca on the Internet, but that's partly because the Internet has much of its roots in American universities. I'm not going to break that in some "Everything American sucks"-policy, but I'd rather have more blogs being written in more than just one language. Some scarring of this can be seen in ASCII-encoding of bytes, which works well enough for Anglo-saxon languages (English, and even then you can't really spell "café" properly), but in other (Latin) languages, you quickly run into problems with umlauts, tremas, … UTF-8 solves this problem for the biggest part, with the added bonus of emoji. 🙌
It's also a pretty unique thing to have more than one language on a blog. I understand 3 languages. If I just use one of that to communicate with others, that's a pretty large waste of my abilities.// Hence, in order to reach as much people as possible, it's vital that as much people as possible are able to understand you. With a trilingual blog, I already break a major language barrier, and I can reach almost all Belgians in their native language.
Which brings me to my apology for the German speaking Belgians. I simply do not understand it well enough to write something decent in that language. However, I will totally accept translations and corrections in any language with a pull request on the appropriate mailing lists. If you don't know what that means, then you can also do it via mail. Note: I will (maybe) sometimes try to write something in German or Spanish, as a way of educating myself, with no guarantees about grammar and vocabulary correctness. If you find a mistake, you can always let me know. Naturally, I will mention you on my blog post with the appropriate comment, as a way of saying thank you.
Remember that this was about differences to other blogs? Well, not a lot of pictures, it really is mostly just tekst. It's a blog, not a photobook. I may occasionally put a picture in a post for illustrating purposes, or because I feel like doing so.
Text is simply a lot easier to load than pictures. And everybody loves fast websites!
Nothing, really. That's it for now. Tadaa.
There isn't really any conclusion or so, just an informative blog post for now.
Before I forget, I should mention that all my blog posts are licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0, so as far as I'm concerned, you can share, copy, learn, do anything with my work. Enrich yourself, and fly now, my pretties.