July 22, 2019
My very first blog ran on a cheap Dell PC tower I bought used. I installed Ubuntu on it, set up SSH, and stuck it under my desk. Free web hosting! I ran a very basic Django app on Cherokee Web Server, with posts saved to SQLite. I didn't really know anything about web design, but I was pretty happy with just the basics, and I loved that it was almost entirely Python.
Years later, I discovered Flask. It was perfect, because I really didn't need much on the backend. I started using Google App Engine, which was very convenient. I was able to very quickly and easily spin up new web apps. Some apps used AngularJS, some used Angular (the sequel to AngularJS). A couple used React, including my most recent blog which I titled "Le New Blog" (it was supposed to be a temporary name, but after two years that's the name it's retiring with).
I've never really tried to advertise any blogging I've done. It was just me writing myself notes about things I had done and learned along the way. At first, I was learning things at an incredibly rapid pace. After about five years of professional web development, I began to feel some disenchantment about building web apps. I wanted to challenge myself in other ways.
So the web apps that were still running haven't been getting any updates. I didn't much like the thought of trying to upgrade npm dependencies, get my apps to be compliant with new versions of libraries, etc.
I do, however, want to keep writing. And I started to get some ideas for how I might accomplish that. After listening to the New Rustacean podcast, I was intrigued that there was this very different way to construct a website entirely in Markdown (and Rust). The author built the entire site for the show notes using rustdoc. This layout looked like it could work for a simple blog site, and I was very fond of the idea of having that Rust style on my own site. Since my sites have always just been a collection of Markdown text, a static site generator like this is perfect.
I didn't end up using rustdoc because I wasn't planning on incorporating that much Rust code into my posts - though there will definitely be some! Instead, I followed the example of the Rust Book and used mdBook. As far as style goes, it's very similar! But it's a little more lightweight to manage the site (or book) since it's entirely Markdown.
Coming soon: random musings about programming (likely often having to do with Rust)!