Ta-da! This is it. What you are actually seeing is the new website.
I started developing it 👨🏻💻 last Saturday, July 14th. By now, July 18th, it is pretty much ready to be published!
First, let me explain why I bothered. Haven’t I already had a website that I spent so many hours developing earlier this year? In fact, a first version of my academic website was launched last February and this is what it looked like.
It was built with Jekyll and hosted on Github based on a template generously made available by the NCSU Libraries.
Although it came with some functionalities I really appreciated, notably the resume page and the presentations with reveal.js, I found myself constantly tweaking its design to make it more to my liking. Meanwhile, the time I spent trying all sorts of different fonts and background color combinations was not time spent enriching it with new content.
To various degrees, we all react to things based upon their appearance. When my father was a kid and didn’t like his meal, he didn’t blame the food directly. He refused to eat because “the plate was bent.” In my refusal to update my website in its previous version,the ancestral “bent plate” hit me too. With this new overhaul, I am already far more satisfied with it, and ready to share it broader and wider than I did with its predecessor. Consequently, that will also make me more proactive in growing it into a place to gradually host all of my projects1.
Jekyll is a popular static website generator compatible and hosted for free on Github pages. What does this mean? In very simple terms, it means that the website is a number of files put together in a folder with a very specific structure. Unlike CMS (Content Management Systems) such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, Jekyll doesn’t have a GUI (Graphical User Interface) back office. Jekyll is based on the idea of editing text files until they are ready to be published. A certain familiarity with the terminal and a few git commands are necessary in order to publish and update a Jekyll website.
Github is a version control management system, adopted by the open source and digital humanities communities who value collaboration and transparency. Github allows teams to work on the same project (i.e. editing the same files) and stores the version history of all the files of a project. If something went wrong, it is easily traced and fixed because all the committed changes are saved. The committed versions of a Github repository are also public, meaning that anyone could copy and contribute to them or fork and replicate them to build something different.
That’s the case with the template of this website. It is based upon al-folio which is an iteration of -folio. On Github people share their expertise and help others improve their own technical skills by implementing and tweaking existing projects.
Among a number of tweaks, which are too numerous to list here, the main two additions to this template are the resume page (vitaæ on the navigation menu) and the reveal.js framework for online presentations listed under decks.
Future customizations and troubleshooting
Due to some compatibility issues with Safari, the links are not highlighted in red as intended. I will have to figure that out at some point. Also, as the website grows, it will probably need more than one way to sort information. Maybe a projects page will be helpful, or a categories archive like this one.
Maybe at a later date, I will write about all of my previous blogs made on various CMS platforms since 2006! ↩