Sunday 21 May 2023

Wikis (again)

 Earlier today I read a mastodon post about how someone had upgraded their personal website to a different static site generator, a topic about which I am woefully ignorant, although I can immediately see the value.

It may seem strange, despite having been a computer fiddler since Algol W was trendy, I don't run my own website.

I have my blogs and my wiki of interesting links, but I don't have my very own server. 

Even though there are occasions where it might have been useful (and I admit to in the past having instances of Dspace and Omeka running on a machine under my desk - purely for test and evaluation your honour).

And the reason is very simple. Having once managed a content management system based web site, I'm acutely aware of the sheer amount of work required to keep things patched and secure. If you're into that sort of thing, that's great, but I've always felt that dealing with system internals is like dealing with waste water systems - you do it if you have to, but on the whole it's better to get someone else to do it.

And so it is with my links wiki.

The web view is boringly simple, nothing flash.

And that's because of one of the superpowers of a wiki - creating simple content is quick. I actually use Notepad as a simple text editor to write the text, markup and all, and then paste it into the wiki page editor and do a validation.

And because there's no complicated design or web wiggling, I can concentrate purely on the content rather than worry about the HTML or the page appearance, making page editing and updating pretty trivial.  

Trivial,  because it's been separated from the furniture, the stuff that web designers and implementers do to make a site look both consistent and nice.

It's interesting that the Zola static site generator takes a similar approach, where you generate some very simple furniture  - actually it can be as simple or as complex as you want, and then add content, with the content being written in markdown, something which simplifies content creation.

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