A revamped blog

Time for a revamped blog! Two years ago I started my blog "The journey that counts" at blogger.com. The total amount of posts since then? 4. That is what you get with a mild affliction of perfectionism and too little time. Together they form a fertile ground for some serious procrastination.

But there were other, more technical, reasons for not blogging (although some of them may have become invalid since my initial posting in 2009). For example, blogger.com requires you to use HTML to write the posts or the built-in WYSIWYG editor. I do not like either of these options: HTML requires me to focus too much on its syntax and the WYSIWYG editor appeared to be too much of a black box. It was also difficult to include pretty-printed source code, which is a big drawback for a programming related blog. But to be honest, none of the technical reasons were real showstoppers.

Last September I started a new job in web development and it has been an exciting time. So many new experiences (and knowledge) to write about. The perfectionism is still there as is the lack of time - being a proud father and having a 3 hours daily commute does not help. But the urge to write about my life and work as a software developer is also still there. Therefore I decided to create my own blog site using (some of) my newly developed skills. You are looking at the results.

I did not want to create a personal blog website from scratch. There are several frameworks and libraries for that. The framework should be easy to use, extendible and preferably written in Python. I am a Django developer but Django seemed like overkill for the simple static website I had in mind. After a short internet search, I decided to use blogofile.

For the look and feel I wanted to create my own CSS but I am software developer primarily and not an artist. After a short internet search, again, for a free CSS theme, I settled for the Emplode theme. I had to make some modifications to get it to work with blogofile but everything was doable.

The next step was to find a server to host my blog. I did not want to host it from home for the simple reason that I do not want to have a computer running day-in day-out. There are lots of providers with seemingly suitable offerings and the German proverb "Die Qual der Wahl" (in English, "The torment of the choice") appeared to be really appropriate. In the end I settled for an VPS running Ubuntu 10.04.

I also considered the use of just a webhost but a VPS offers so much more. One of its advantages is the availability of version control, which makes it so easy to update my website. Of course, a VPS is more work to maintain and I had to read op on SSH, public and private keys, Apache2 etc. But that is knowledge that always comes in handy.

The final step was to select a domain name. Easy, right? In the end I went through several names (and domain registrations :) before I settled for journeythatcounts.nl. The blog can be found at blog.journeythatcounts.nl.

The weblog is not yet finished. I still have to transfer the posts on my previous blog, fix the highlighting of the current tabs at the top of the page, integrate Disqus for comments etc. But I thought it is better to have a functional website out than to have to perfect one out (which will probably never happen). The most important thing is that I have setup my own blog on my own website and I learned a lot from that.


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