January countdown - 7
5 February 2024
7. Time, what even is it? I extended January for the purposes of this project by a few days to finish a bit more of what I started. Today it's out with the old & in with the new. Zine, the static site generator that I had used to make this site is gone, & with it the last Ruby code I had running in production anywhere.
I'm a little unhappy about Ruby, but not unhappy with how far I got with the January thing, these are all side projects to make my life easier during the rest of the year after all, & every little bit helps.
It's always hard to know if there's anyone out in the void I shout into with this blog. Occasionally I throw out code into the void. I hope that's sometimes been useful to some of you. I certainly plan to keep on doing that.
RubyGems provides download numbers for gems. I don't know how skewed by mirrors & bots of various kinds those numbers are, but supposedly quite a few people downloaded, & who knows, maybe sometimes also even used Zine. Zine had 24,506 downloads when I last looked. Twenty-four thousand downloads, & one day short of seven years' service. Thank you, all of you. It was fun, & it has been an honour.
It's time to call it a day now though. From buying the Pickaxe book back in 2000, in a bookshop that's long since closed down, to now in an altogether different city, it's been a wild ride. Completely unprofitable, but still, usually fun. It's a different world now, & I'm a different guy.
Any way, the code's still there. I might come back to it, who knows, I've changed my mind before.
But for now: In with the new. I've been playing around with Python alternatives to Zine, after messing around with a few I landed on Pelican, the Python equivalent of Jekyll in terms of static site generator market share I suppose. Apart from a langauge change, which is not nothing, I have a blog I don't have to think about the inner workings of quite so often. I also looked at using Flask – Python's Sinatra, more or less – which is good, & I might use that in future for something, along with Frozen Flask, which is less good. I'll be avoiding that one.
Pelican does have a neat plugin feature that I do plan on exploring. Otherwise it's mostly ok, there are sockets errors & its not quite YAML front matter is annoying, but neither feels fatal.
I even got to waste a few days & make myself look like an idiot in the process. All part of the fun. Turns out PyCharm de-escapes things like ampersands before displaying them in the editor for some reason, & Safari does the same thing when showing the source of a page. Why? I spent a weekend & lodged a bogus bug report looking for why ampersands weren't being escaped by Pelican when all the code made it look like they should have been. (Hint: they were.) Persistence is part of the art of programming, for certain.
I'll publish the config & theme for the site once they've been battle tested & they've been cleaned up a bit. For now, welcome Pelican. Welcome, Python. So long Ruby, I barely knew you.