الحمدلله

Posted on November 12, 2017 in Blog

الحمدلله، this is my first blog post.

I have been trying to setup a blog for a long time now. Especially, as a means to practice my writing skills and also to keep a research journal/diary for the duration of my PhD.

Over the years I have made a number of attempts to start my own blog, but failed to continue it after few weeks. Well, it never really worked out for me. I tried to keep a wordpress blog, but it just didn't suit my preferences. It was very distracting, with all the settings and fiddling to do. Later on I started off with tumblr but still I was unable to keep up with it. Formatting my blogs on tumblr was a sheer pain.

Very recently at the CRC PG Forum at the OU, there were numerous suggestions to keep a blog. Many of them suggested Medium or even Wordpress. But, I am not really fond of them anyways. So, I ventured on to find a cms or toolset that would suit my needs.

The simplicity of the static blog generators appealed to me. I have seen numerous people use Jekyll, based on Ruby. While comparing different static site generators I stumbled upon Pelican based on Python. I immediately had an aha! moment since I was more comfortable with Python than Ruby.

Next up, I had to find a suitable place to host my site. I was thinking of Redhat's OpenShift, since I had used their platform before. However, they had recently changed their offers substantially so thought of finding another suitable one. Github pages does a good job on hosting static pages especially providing easy setup for numerous services. But, I wasn't comfortable having my files all publicly available so Gitlab Pages was a nice choice. If I wanted to have some private pages, I could do that as well.

Next, I went on to setup the latest Pelican on Python 3 rather than forking the gitlab-pages example site, since it was using python 2. It took me a bit of tinkering to setup Pelican on Gitlab Pages for Python 3.

Hopefully, in the near future I can write another post on how to setup Pelican for Python 3 using Gitlab Pages.

Currently, I am using the default theme for pelican, probably, when I get some free time I would try to beautify it a bit. There's a handy list of pelican themes, I would have to find a suitable one for me from the list.

The best thing about Pelican on Gitlab is I can simply use vim to write my blog posts rather than some fancy WYSIWYG editor and then use git to update the site. Awesome!, isn't it?

There are few other things to edit as well, probably once I have some more articles, I can populate the links tab below to show some of the tags. I would also need to come up with a search functionality within the site, along with some copyright notice. Probably, I should setup google analytics as well.

I hope الله will give بركة on this work and if possible help my peers who are pursuing their PhD wherever they may be.