JURTA    

Jekyll

Initially, my site was already in plain text files converted to HTML with my own home-grown static site generator - basically just a set of scripts, e.g. regenerate.pl to update static files, degenerate.pl to remove generated markup, and some image viewer scripts igaview.pl, jurta.js, jurta_iga.js.

But in 2008 I migrated the site to Drupal 6, because I enjoyed using Drupal. This is what I wrote about Drupal at that time:

Like Emacs, Drupal is the advanced, extensible, customizable, self-documenting system. “Customizable” means that you can easily alter its behavior in simple ways. “Extensible” means that you can go beyond simple customization and easily create new modules (like packages in Emacs) and implement new functionality using a set of predefined hooks and well-thought-out core API. The unfortunate fact of using PHP as its implementation language doesn’t diminish the excellence of Drupal as a system.

But over time Drupal became a burden. With every new release of a minor version (about every month) with fixes of security vulnerabilities it required upgrading the site. Often automatic upgrades failed for various reasons that required manual intervention to fix the problems. After a few upgrades this process became too boring and disappointing, and my excitement about Drupal vanished. Also I tried to upgrade the major version from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, but the whole process took so much time, so that eventually I asked myself “Why should I do this?” and abandoned the attempt. All these problems is what is called technical debt - implied cost of additional maintenance. More complexity, more moving parts, more maintenance.

Here’s a list of directories that contained the backups of the database and site root directory that was required to backup before every upgrade. The name of directories is the same as the date of the upgrade. Every upgrade took about 1 hour :(

20081214 20081224 20090125 20090128 20090207 20090215 20090222 20090423 20090501 20090702 20090723 20090808 20090901 20090929 20091027 20100102 20100116 20100207 20100210 20100306 20100315 20100417 20100518 20100520 20100709 20140622

I regret the time spent needlessly for such meaningless activity.

So now I had to move the site content back to plain text files and use a static site generator again, this time not my own (that was quite limited in functionality), but a well-maintained generator with a lot of available features Jekyll.

The clear benefit of the static site generators is the easiness with which I can push content to the repository and forget about the nightmare of handling databases, caching, upgrades, etc.