h. james harkins, composer


New school year, new website

On the eve of the 2015-2016 school year, I decided that my website wasn’t representing my work cleanly and clearly enough: strange color choices, busy backgrounds and weak layout. Also, the content had fallen far out of date. Time to do something about it.

Part of the reason is that the old site went the PHP + MySQL route. To update the content for my home-grown scripts, I needed to update database tables manually in my web provider’s MySQL administrator page. My blog also depended on a web-based interface. I didn’t really like either of them, so I stopped using them.

In the meantime, I’ve switched very nearly all of my writing over to plaintext-based markup approaches:

WYSIWYG running in a browser was becoming less and less appealing to me.

I had also been hearing recently about static site generators as an alternative to maintaining website content in a database. The idea is that plain text files define layouts in templates, content in Markdown files, and various configuration files and plug-ins to mash them together into a directory layout of plain HTML files, to drop onto any web server. That sounded more congenial. It turned out not to be the utopia I hoped, but I borrowed enough of the concept to hack together a new set of PHP scripts, which read the content from Markdown files. To add a news item, for instance, all I do is write the Markdown and drop the file into the right directory. Simple!

The site is obviously still in progress. When I open new sections, I’ll announce them here.

back to index...

CC-BY-SA 4.0 by H. James Harkins (2015): Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike

Acknowledgment to the php-markdown library © 2004-2015 Michel Fortin.

The Dream Orphans font is used according to its noncommercial license.

The Vera Humana 95 font is distributed apparently without a license.