Finally a New Homepage

Yamagi • 24.05.2018 08:21

15 years ago, in summer 2003, I decided that I was in desperate need of homepage. Not that I content publish, but everyone had one. The Internet was shiny and new (okay, not that new) and ugly Web 1.0 homepage were the latest craze… So I registered yamagi.org, some cheap and dubious webspace and put a simple CMS on it. I don’t even remember how it was called. Something with simple and PHP, of course. It was likely written in (ugly) PHP 4 and using some kind of MySQL database as datastore.

In retrospective it wasn’t that bad. In fact that CMS taught me a lot about the inner workings of the web. I did my first steps in template design, in HTML and even CSS. For about two or three years I was happy with it, before I started to reach it’s limits. In the meantime I had graduated from school, was at my compulsory community service and had a lot of freetime. I had taken my first steps with Linux, FreeBSD, the shell, discovered Vim, etc. It was only logical to throw that CMS out and rewrite the whole page by hand. Not in normal HTML, no. But in XHTML because it was called the future. Another part of the future that never came.

And that was it. Life took it’s course, I had less and less time and started a lot of other ventures. Yamagi.org stood as it was. Between sometimes in 2005 and 2018 I put a little effort in it, just some new content here and some smaller fixes there. A few weeks ago, I just had done another Yamagi Quake II release and updated the page for it, I realized that the whole thing looks like an artifact from another century. And no matter how you look on it, it was far beyond repair.

The new yamagi.org is much sophisticated than the old one. I didn’t just write a new page. At first I looked into existing static page generators like Jekyll only to decide that most or even all of them are too fat and too bloated for my purpose. After that I started to write my own generator, about 600 lines of Python. The content - like this post - is given in Markdown and rendered with Mistune into HTML. The HTML is inserted into templates, providing the page container, the design, etc.

The generator itself was easy, it took me only 3 evenings. The problem were the templates. Webdesign had evolved a lot and I was forced to start over at the basics. I read a lot about HTML5, modern CSS and even Javascript. I experimented, got down some roads just to throw it away and took another path… It was a nice experiences and made a lot of things regading modern web sites and browsers clearer. And this here is the result of my effords: The new, completely redisgned yamagi.org. Let’s see if it’ll stay for the next 12 or 13 years.