The old site, circa 2005, from the Wayback Machine

It’s time for a change of scenery around here. Actually, it’s more than time – the old site design was from 2005. It had lots of nested tables and wasn’t mobile-friendly at all (hey, there was no mobile in 2005!). But I was ahead of my time in one respect: it was a statically-generated site way before static sites were cool.

The old site was built with a tool called Website META Language (or WML), which I’d first heard about in the late 90s to give you some idea of its age. It had a bunch of different backends that would make “passes” over your files and do different things – one could expand includes, another could evaluate Perl code, for example – giving you lots of features. But it’s showing its age and I thought it was time to make a change.

The new site is built with Hugo, a modern static site generator. Because of the way the old site worked, I originally thought I first needed to find a new static site generator, and then I needed to update the design to something more modern by hand. While I certainly could do that with Hugo, Hugo has some native support for themes, with tons of open-source themes available. So for now I’m using the hello-friend-ng theme.

The old site just had a bunch of standalone pages, in a few different categories. There were blog entries, but they were only shown on the very front page, and even then they were just snippets pulled from my LiveJournal page (I told you it was from 2005).

For the new site, I converted several of the more popular and still relevant pages to blog-style posts, since Hugo makes that type of page really easy. And I can add permalinks to make any well-known URLs still work (like the milk bet, by far the most popular page on the site). I think this will make it more likely that I’ll update the site more frequently, but I suppose time will tell.