Posted by Jacob Williams on 2022-03-19. Comments? Email me at

In the past I've used a few different blogging platforms, but wasn't satisfied, for a few reasons:

  1. Being a software developer, I want to use tools like git and my favorite text editor to manage pages.
  2. Customizing the theme in a way that looks exactly the way you want and doesn't break stuff can be very time-consuming.
  3. Pages are encouraged to fit a certain mold; experimentation with varying formats and embedding interactive code is discouraged.

For a while, I used the static site generator Hugo, which fixed the first issue. But:

  1. Upgrades are a headache that can randomly break things.
  2. There didn't seem to be good documentation on how to develop themes, so again, customization was very time-consuming.
  3. Although there's more freedom to do what you want with individual pages, you're still incentivized to keep things pretty homogenous so that every page will fit well with the theme.

The first two are problematic because I often go weeks or months without updating the site. The tool has a learning curve, and I wasn't using it often enough to retain what I learned; every nontrivial adjustment I needed to make would send me digging through the docs again. The third problem is just inherent in trying to have a site with a consistent aesthetic and UI.

I decided my priorities were (a) minimizing the number of things that could get in my way when I wanted to update the site and (b) having maximum flexibility for experimenting on each new page. In return, I was willing to sacrifice consistency and lose some automation.

So now, this site is maintained as just a bunch of HTML files in a git repo. I have a few scripts to help with some things, like updating the sitemap, but they're not critical. Increasingly I think of the site as more a collection of documents than a unified entity. When I want a new page, I copy-paste from an old one or a template, and adjust it according to my whims. If the style evolves over time, or even makes radical jumps occasionally, that's OK; the fact that older pages will continue to reflect my older aesthetic sensibilities is just part of the fun.