April 2021 Update

Matthew Tunstall

| 3 minutes


It has been a while since I last posted a significant update. If you are returning to the site you will notice the biggest difference, no more WordPress. I finally gave up on WordPress. I was never happy with it since the introduction of the block editor. I had been considering the move to a static site for a while and had experimented with a few different site generators. I settled on Sphinx as it meets my needs and that is what generates the site today. This allows me to develop the site off-line on my PC and then upload a build of the site when I’m ready. I can also track my changes with Git. It’s a work flow that I’m happier with.

There is no-longer the option to comment on the site. There haven’t been many comments in recent years anyway so I doubt this will be a great loss.

The next change is less obvious. I changed web hosting providers. This site had been hosted by 34SP.com for almost 20 years and they are a reliable and helpful hosting provider. My reason for switching was cost. A “Professional” hosting service was costing me £7.95/month or £95.40 per year. I wasn’t using all the features of the service and the gradually increasing cost had me looking around for alternatives.

Mythic-Beasts.com are now hosting the site. The Web 25 package with Shell access is £4.80/month or £48.00 per year. A substantial saving of £47.40 per year. Now it may be that I need to move to a bigger plan in the future but there are options to do that. But for the time being the saving will be worth the move. My other reason for choosing Mythic-Beasts.com was that they provide server hosting options too. I’ve considered and rejected these options in the past but every now and again I think I would like to play around with one. The Raspberry Pi options they offer are interesting at an affordable price. 34SP.com didn’t offer anything in the same sort of price range.

The Import

Importing the old site was a big challenge than began back in January. The sites database contents dated from the days before WordPress when it was still b2/cafelog. Over the years different post formatting methods had been added/removed/adjusted. What I finally exported was all there but some of it was a mess. It required a few custom written Python scripts to adjust the bulk of the header formatting for use with Sphinx. There was then the very long process (weeks of a few hours per night) of manually working through all of the archive post by post fixing links, re-adding images and correcting formatting and comments. It’s probably still not perfect but it’s significantly better than it was.

The Future

In the near future I’m going to work on finishing the look and feel of the site. There are a few things I still need to fix that are part of my theme development work.

I’ve been accumulating a lot of notes on various topics which I want to write up and publish at some point. It is for this less blog like content that drove the switch to a static site. What it will probably mean is that I end up writing more content off-line and then bulk publishing in a bigger update.

Stay tuned for more.

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IRC Move

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