Noel Rappin Writes Here

The New Noel Rappin Dot Com

Posted on April 11, 2020 me metablogging hugo


The New Noel Rappin Dot Com

About, oh, eight or nine years ago, I decided I needed a personal website. On the theory that I didn’t want to become a full-time personal website wrangler, I decided to put the site on Squarespace.

Squarespace was a great service, and a very well thought out set of tools but over time, it’s become less well suited for my (admittedly minimal) needs:

  • Squarespace costs some money. When I started this site, it was at least theoretically a portal to self-published books. I can’t even pretend it’s that now. (My self-published income over the last two years is about $50).
  • Although the Squarespace tools are cool, they don’t really fit in with my Markdown/ia Writer/Drafts/Ulysses work flow. In particular, it was much more of a pain to blog than it should be, and that friction certainly didn’t make me any more likely to blog.

So it had been on my to-do list for some time to try and update the site with some other tool, with a loose deadline of before my next Squarespace payment, and sort of aligned with the next book launch. And then I kept putting it off.

And then Brian Hogan came out with a book on Hugo and it seemed… not that complicated? So I decided to try it.

Turns out I kind of like Hugo in an “I can get it to do what I want pretty quickly” kind of way, and I put this all together in a few days. It’s not exactly where I want to be, but I think it’s more than good enough to be public, so, hi!

On the off chance this will be useful to somebody in the future, here’s what I did:

  • Ran through the example’s in Brian’s book – which is excellent – but with an eye toward modifying it to what I’d need for my site. Happily Brian’s example is in the close ballpark to what this site is, so it was a nice on-ramp.
  • Then I started to adapt it to what I wanted. I converted the list of videos and podcasts to data and then to nicer pages. Also the list of books.
  • I imported my Squarespace blog with a short Ruby script to parse the RSS feed and unwind it into Markdown and Hugo formatted pages. I’m mostly sure that old links will still work, if for some odd reason you have a link to a blog post and it doesn’t work, let me know.
  • While I was in the neighborhood, I also imported a blog I wrote for a while under the name “10 Print Hello”, which I still love as the name of a programming blog. I also pulled in all the stuff I wrote on Medium in the last few years. Some of that formatting is probably still a little wonky. (On the other hand, I have spared you some other blogs from the mid 2000s that are largely baseball and Veronica Mars recaps)
  • I threw in Bulma as a CSS framework, and made everything look kind of OK without a custom theme. I’m quite limited as a CSS designer, so there are some definite rough spots that I hope to clean up at some point.
  • Then I did some clean up, made a home page, made sure I had a decent Drafts-to-blog workflow, and here we are…

There’s still some stuff to do: site search is a little flakey, the contact form is missing, probably some of the blog post formatting is off. But I’ll get to that, too.

I’m hoping this will mean more blogging because it’ll be easier, and also because it’ll be a shiny new thing for a while…


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