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PROJECT RETROSPECTIVE: STORYSITE 2022

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I have a number of "static" microsites, in the sense that they're just plain old HTML with a minimum of Javascript supporting their operations. The oldest one is the Journal Entries site, which has been a Markdown archive of my vast and adult space opera since 1995 or so... which is quite a long time! It's had a number of generations since then; the first version had a simple perl-to-html converter, the output of which I would hand-edit, along with the index page. In 1995, Markdown didn't exist, so I was using an ad-hoc definition that I colloquially referred to as "Usenet emphasis mode," since it was more or less the same syntax I used when posting the stories to the text-only Usenet forums.

It's next life was in Emacs Muse, with a lispy header (semicolons in the first column) to describe the content, and now it's Zola Markdown in its current form, which is simply that every story has its own Markdown file with a TOML-based header to describe the story's metadata: title, publication date, order in the series, and so forth.

I was looking for a replacement tool when I found Zola. I've been growing steadily disillusioned with the quality of Python3's backward compatibility, and the breakdown I experienced trying to get Python3.10 to run the generator made me insane. I considered Hugo, but settled on Zola, if only because it's written in Rust rather than Go, and I'm a partisan about those two languages.

The Python to Zola distinction is huge; generating the site went from two minutes to nine seconds, and there's auto-reloading when in development mode.

I'm preparing another, more technical, document for many of the things that I learned while I was doing the conversion, but I wanted to capture some process notes here, if only for myself.

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