As noted on the “Home” page, this web site is hosting a collection of random notes that I’m leaving for myself, which other people may also find useful. These will probably all be technical documents.
Over the past few years I have found myself writing dozens of little Markdown documents, both at work and for my personal projects. I find myself running into two problems with this:
I didn’t have a single place to store these documents, and as a result, when I needed to go back and look something up I would forget which computer, Keybase folder, Quiver notebook,
git repo, USB stick, or other location a particular document was stored in when I wrote it.
When somebody needed one of my documents, I had to either hand them the Markdown file and watch them scratch their heads, or use something like Marked 2 to render them into a PDF which is easier to read, which cannot be easily edited (which can be important in some cases), but which cannot be updated without generating a new PDF.
Recently I had asked a question in a Slack channel, and somebody answered it by pointing me to a web page they had written which explained how to do what I was trying to accomplish. The contents of the page probably saved me 2-3 hours at the time, but a few things struck me about it:
The site was a whole collection of technical write-ups, which was something I had thought about doing several times over the years, but I never did because I didn’t really want to have to go back and convert my Markdown docs into HTML.
The site was hosted on GitHub, using a service called GitHub Pages, which I hadn’t known even existed.
The HTML for the site was generated using a program called Jekyll, which converts Markdown into HTML, and in the process applies a “theme” to make the pages adopt a consistent appearance without my having to manually copy a bunch of formatting codes around (whether it was HTML attributes, CSS files, inline entity codes, or some other random technical thing.)
I had previously tried to host web pages as Markdown files, and while it sorta worked, something about the process didn’t “feel right” at the time.
So I started looking into Jekyll. I spent some time walking through their Step by Step Tutorial, and then started tweaking things to understand how the pieces all fit together. After a few hours I felt like I understood the basics, and it occurred to me that Jekyll might be a way to finally start moving all of my Markdown docs into a single place, so I registered the “
jms1.info” domain and started working on the framework of the site you’re seeing now.
I’ve never really gotten into the whole “blogging” thing, mostly because most of the “blogs” I’ve seen tend to focus on the authors’ personal lives. I tend to be a private person, and I have very little interest in talking about my personal life online, so I always figured “blogging” wasn’t for me.
However, it seems to me that at a technical level, a “blog” is just a collection of documents with certain metadata - dates, authors, tags, and so forth - along with a web interface to make it easy to find and read them. It occurred to me that the only difference between what I’ve always thought of as a “blog”, and a collection of documents, is the nature of the content.
So another part of what I’m doing with this site is seeing if I can coerce a blogging system into acting as a documentation repo.