Creating a Blog

I broke down and started to work on a blog again. There are many good reasons not to write a blog: it costs a lot of time, works as a very potent guild inducer during periods with fewer updates, and renders it trivial to make oneself look stupid to the entire internet. On the other hand, I find writing also to be challenging and a lot of fun, so here we go.

Choosing a Blogging Software

More difficult than the decisions if to write a blog was how to write a blog. The number of blogging tools available is huge. Choosing the right one was harder than I thought.


My first blog a few years ago was based on WordPress. It was fairly easy to set up, comfortable to use, but not without downsides: First of all, it requires PHP and a SQL-database to be installed on the server. Well, this isn’t bad per se, but leaves me with a bit of an uncomfortable feeling for no specific reason (maybe it reminds me of all the bad software I’ve written using those tools).

Much worse, however, were the constant updates of WordPress versions. Didn’t update your blog for a month? That’s fine, unless you prefer software without multiple – known and exploitable – security problems. Furthermore, installed plugins happened to not be compatible with newly updated versions, making the whole process even more unpleasant. WordPress is an okay solution, it’s just nothing I want for my blog right now.


The next thing I tried was Emacs’ org-mode. I’ve been depending org-mode for years. I’m using it for everything from taking notes, over birthday reminders, and up to handling my todos and keeping track of e-mails to be answered. Exporters exist to publish org-mode files as HTML pages, so org-mode looked like a natural choice to me. Unfortunately, the adaptions necessary to shoehorning a note-taking and todo managing system into a blogging software took more time than I had expected. I have no doubt that a few more hours of fiddling would have resulted in something usable (the emacs ecosystem is amazing), yet that was more than I was willing to spend that day. Instead, I kept looking for alternatives.


Long story short, I settled with Hakyll. It is easy to use, very well documented and even written in Haskell, a beautiful language I’m still trying to wrap my head around. At first, I tried to make things work together with org-mode. Patching pandoc to read .org files proved very time consuming, so I’ll stick to markdown syntax for now.

Making it look nice

I’ve always wanted to acquire some basic knowledge of bootstrap; building this blog is the perfect opportunity to do so. Some adaptions were done, making use of colors taken from the solarized color scheme. More customizations will follow.

The header picture, in case anyone was be wondering, was taken on Sylt.

I hope you like the result of my experiments.