what is happening?!


What is happening?! If you have been on my website more than once, you might be confused now. So am I! Things look different for sure.

My website is almost ancient for the Web standards. I registered its first domain graziotin.net1, according to ICANN, more than 15 years ago Created: 2005-04-18 14:46:08 UTC. My website changed domains several times over the years; these are the ones that I remember:

I can’t even exclude that there have been more. I am not linking to them because I do not control them anymore.

You can’t even tell that my website is that old, because the first post you can find here is from nine years ago. When I was younger, I did not have proper backups. I lost many posts in the first years. And then some more. And again. The last time it happened was in 20112. In hindsight, it’s ok. 15 years ago I was a kid, almost a child. I probably do not want much of that content to be visible here anymore3.

My website has changed its looks dozens of times, too. This is the first theme I could recover from the Internet Archive. Not just themes, my website has survived entire Internet eras, too. I remember how fun and refreshing it was to develop a Web 2.0 theme. Remember the Web 2.0 style? Big buttons, sprites, and round corners? Remember using <TABLE> to design a website structure? Yeah, I ‘member.

It was not just about design fads. Blogs used to be THE way to express ourselves, our digital, public diary. Posts about feelings, link exchanges, pingbacks, commenting in the blogosphere. Simpler times. I miss them sometimes, especially the communities.

Anyway. While I nowadays use my website to dump what I find useful, something did survive all these 15 years. Wordpress. Wordpress has been omnipresent in my life as programmer, nerd, hacker, and computer scientist. I am almost positive that the first time I installed it, Wordpress was at its 1.5 version, barely a full release. It was so fast and innovative! Wordpress also gave me a job, several jobs, actually. I used to know it so well, people would pay me to develop in-house weird functionality. Wordpress has also been the piece of software I have used for the longest time, 15 years. Not even Microsoft Word could beat it.

Here is the thing: I can’t stand Wordpress anymore. I do not want to spend more time dealing with Wordpress-related technical debt as the one I spend to actually manage servers. What about resource usage? Why the hell do we have to rent virtual machines with 2 GB of RAM, Redis/Memcache, litespeed and its cache, tuned MariaDB, and whatnot. For small websites just to have acceptable loading times? Oh no, I am not even talking about sustaining peak traffic. To have welcoming loading speeds for the very few ones. And, maybe, to at least try to stay relevant in search engines? Then Gutenberg came. And it broke most of my posts and pages. Because there was even more technical debt, accumulated from shortcodes and includes from a cascade of themes and plugins I use or used to use. Even worse, it made my writing process slower. Copy-pasting from certain sources does not fit well with the blocks paradigm. Most of the times I saw my website down or displaying issues, it was Wordpress-related.

I am not accusing Wordpress, it is a wonderful piece of free software. It’s just that it outgrew me and my way of working. I needed something new.

First, the system. Well, as I am a researcher now, nothing beats jumping on a 3-year-old hype train. I went full Jekyll. It took me a couple of hours to learn 90% of its functionalities. My website is now all HTML (a lot), CSS (just a little), and JavaScript (very little). But, I am also not losing my mind in writing all of it. Lovely system. Importing and converting my old stuff was not even much of a drag.

On the design. I was thirsty of minimalism. Not an extreme one; I wanted to strike some balance. As you might have guessed from my intro, I also feel nostalgic. I wanted to be a bit retro. Not Matrix-green-rotating-skulls retro. Fake retro, like the good hipster I have never admitted being. I still want my website to function well. I randomly stumbled upon no-style-please and, just like that, I simply stole it and thanked the good riggraz for it. Seriously dude, your theme is gorgeous. The choice for a font was easy. Retro, yet cool and readable. From one of my favorite editors, iA Writer, their four in-house fonts are just incredible, and you can even use them for free. What else? A couple jekyll plugins to bring some more fake into the fake retro, jekyll-feed and jekyll-seo-tag to handle search engines, jekyll-archives to keep bare-bone compatibility with Wordpress categories and tags (especially the existing links to them), jekyll-redirect-from because I am too lazy to write regular expressions to convert Wordpress permalinks to reduce broken links, and jekyll-loading-lazy because it’s 2020 and nobody wants to wait for pictures to load anymore. I might add my low cost CDN and properly sized images one day. There is not even a search system in place anymore. Maybe, one day. Oh, and I did not bring in comments. Only e-mails4.

I am looking forward to writing my stuff in Markdown, as much of my life has been with Markdown lately. It feels a bit weird to write this post with Sublime Text, but I might as well take out Vim at this point. A new cycle begins. Will it last? I do change themes quite often, but boy if I enjoy slowing and dumbing things down.

So long, Wordpress!

  1. Still in use today, for things other than Web hosting. 

  2. Now I have paranoid levels of backups in place. I promise

  3. In case you are a student of mine: I know that you know how to recover these posts. I promise you, it’s just typical cringing stuff any teenager would write. 

  4. I used to hate e-mails and was an early evangelist of real-time, asynchronous communication. Guess what, 2020 is also the year I am going back to synchronous communication and take things slower

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