Hello, fellow readers. In this post I want to introduce you to the new website, including some technical details for reference.
The old website
While Ghost is a wonderful blogging platform and I have even did some work on the engine, at the moment, it is difficult to update from one version to the next one; every time I wanted to write a post, which was a rare event, I always found out that I needed to do a Ghost update, which is somehow time consuming. Obviously, after all the update I did not want to write the post anymore (I still have other things to do, a wife and a life away from the keyboard).
Moreover, both website and blog did not share the same theme. I tried to make the same theme for both the website and the blog but due to the nature of the static site and the blog I had to duplicate a lot of files. The result can be seen on the ghostmatt theme repository. Ghostmatt is actually now available (unfinished) under the MIT license and therefore can be used in your Ghost blogs. It has even some nice jQuery plugins like my custom version coinbox for cryptocurrency donations.
Root, the revolution
The new website is actually the 20th (or even more, I lost the count) iteration of my web space and I guess it is something I will keep for a while since I finally managed to have a website that is fully customizable, easy to maintain and easy to blog with.
It's codename is Root, which has been chosen actually because it is going to be the very top in the hierarchy of my websites (the sub ones about AnimaRender and IvyGen are going to be moved under the github.io domain, which is actually where they belong) and also because it is really Kick-Ass Awesome, much like the character form the series Person Of Interest. These where actually my inspirations for the name.
Jekyll, static blogs and websites
As you can see the whole website is now a bunch of static files which are served form my Rack server with no database nor server processing. This decision has actually been made to provide the visitor the maximum achievable performance and response time.
Thanks to Jekyll, a static website generator maintaining a website of this kind id really simple. Every time I want to write a new post or change a page I just need to fiddle with some markdown f iles which are then automatically processed by Jekyll applying layouts and common page elements, all done with minimun site downtime.
The theme is actually a customized bootstrap theme made from a palette inspired by the Tron Legacy movie colors. Unfortunately I cannot find that palette anymore.
Thanks to SASS I am now able to control every bit of the theme with just a bunch of variables.
The new art gallery
The art gallery has always been broken on the old site. I actually host all of my art on deviantART and there are no gallery solution providing tight integration with that so I had to develop a custom way to provide a nice image gallery experience here on my website, while keeping the images only in one place.
The new gallery simply reads my gallery MediaRSS from deviantART to provide a nice grid with a lightbox made with the wonderfult Magnific Popup. To read the RSS and parse it I used the great deviantART-API by James Alexander Lee.
The whole gallery is anyway going to be expanded in the near future with the possibility to buy additional image-related content, share images on social networks and downloading which needs to be done only on deviantART at the moment.
Due to the nature of some images I also added a simple disclaimer to prevent the user eyes from imags which can be seen as offending (even if they are not in my opinion).
In the end, I set up a simple contact form here which can be used to write to me to ask about almost anything. I will try to respons as soon as possible.
Well, this is actually how I made the beast called Root which empowers my website. As any other piece of software, anyway, it is far from definitive, may contain bugs and maybe it does not fit some tastes. I am always open to suggestions and improvements so I have set up a issue tracker on GitHub where you can give help on fine-tuning the website.
Enjoy yor stay here at the new Mattias Cibien Website.