Four weeks on…

I'm writing this in the mandatory three-minute delay before the washing machine will let me open the door to chuck in the T-shirt that escaped from my laundry. Inconvenient. At least my fingers have escaped the risk of being scalded by five seconds' worth of heated mains water.

In the last month, I've travelled to a new, small country, come home to a new, small country, tinkered too much with an essentially-finished Python web scraper, and not tinkered enough with my barely-begun blog software. So I'm writing this post in the same primitive way as my last post, and in the same primitive way as my first blog back in the 1990s — hand-coded HTML in a Vim session running on my web server.

(My muscle-memory for </p> is alive and well 20 years later, although I keep forgetting I don't need to close paragraph tags with HTML 5.)

I say ‘primitive’ as if it's a bad thing, but hand-coding HTML feels like a good way to challenge some of the assumptions I've developed over two decades of web development. Like — how complex does my CMS really need to be?

To explore this properly, I want to start out with the very basics: a plain-text, flat-file blog written in a lightweight language, managed using a Python back-end and SQLite or MongoDB database. (I used SQLite in my last project, so I'm leaning towards MongoDB for comparison.)

That should give me a bare-bones foundation I can start to build on and experiment with, to work out the minimum functionality I need in order to accomplish what I want.

After that, what excites me most is some of the recent progress in CSS. Today, so much interactivity can be implemented using CSS alone, and that's an enormously appealing idea for someone who's never liked the idea of a web browser as an execution platform.

But anyway. That's been at least three minutes, so — back to my washing. Naturally, I'd like to dedicate this post to Hotpoint, and their…‘uncompromising’ approach to safety. Thanks to them, my fingers will live to type another day.

—G

Moving away from WordPress

That's enough WordPress. I'm a fairly private person, and I wasn't blogging enough. Instead, I'd like to strengthen my development skills by writing my own blog back-end, which in itself will give me something to blog about. Hopefully I'll learn a few new Python bits and pieces along the way, and I'll get to play with some newer CSS too.

For now, mostly because I've just realised I'll have to do it to save this file, here's my favourite trick in Vim: :w !sudo tee %. It uses sudo to obtain elevated permissions in order to write a file that you'd otherwise lack permissions to alter (probably because you forgot to invoke your Vim session using sudo in the first place, as I just did).

I forget where I learned it — either commandlinefu.com or the Vim Tips Wiki — but it's begging to be aliased as ffs. ;-)

And finally, check out the (ahem…‘minimal’) source of this page. Totally valid markup. HTML5 lets you get away with murder.

—G