Hello, World!

by Evan Straw on November 1, 2019

Any previous visitors to my site may remember a message I had posted on the about page: "More content will be added in the future, I'm just really lazy." Well, 4 years later, I finally followed through on that. I decided to rebuild the entire website from the ground up this time, however. Hopefully, it should be a lot better to maintain in the long run.

Why remake the site?

I remade the site because as time went on, my ideas about what a good website should look like changed - a lot. I used to be about a ton of flashy CSS and Javascript animations and stuff like that; the background of the old site was an animated scrolling gradient that used several times more than its fair share of CPU. These days, I'm of the opinion that websites should be primarily content-focused in their presentation, and that plain HTML+CSS are more than enough to get that job done. They're semantic, cross-platform, and, if you use them correctly, clean and easy to parse. So many websites today give you a small amount of content surrounded by heaps of cruft that make the content hard to consume in the first place, and sometimes near impossible to consume on anything other but a certain browser on a certain operating system. You'll notice there are exactly zero Javascript frameworks, external fonts, tracker scripts, social media buttons, or anything of the sort on my site, and I plan to keep it that way.

The primary thing that sparked my interest in remaking the site, however, was the discovery of a project called Haunt, made by David Thompson. It's a static site generator that allows you to define a basic template for your website in Scheme, write your posts in a plain-text or simple markup format, and then generate static HTML which can then be served. It's a really great tool, and it produced the website you are now reading.

Why use something like Haunt? That sounds complicated.

Certainly, it's more complicated than just writing straight HTML, but it will save me a lot of time and effort in the long run. What you define in Scheme isn't the whole site, but rather a template or skeleton of each page, which posts are filled into when the site is generated. This means that I can leave the Scheme code alone when I want to add more content to the site, and just write up another post in Markdown, which makes it really simple for me.

What do you plan to have on this site?

I'm not 100% sure! At time of writing, I plan to introduce a blog (the first post of which you are currently reading) where I'll write various posts about projects I've done, or opinions/rants I have, or whatever I feel like putting out there. As I start to enter the "real world," and need to have some kind of public or professional presence, I may add a copy of my resumé and an "about me" page at some point. More content is to come though, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading.