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Building a Minimalist Blog


I like minimalism, both in software and in UX. With that in mind, on this blog I am avoiding unnecessary frills in styling and dynamic features that a simple blog can live without.

I am writing this post in a custom markup format (currently named "KRF", although that, like everything else, could easily change at some point), which I have been using for the last four years for university homework assignments, and which I recently finished extending to generate well-formed HTML in addition to LaTeX source. While I wouldn't recommend that a typical blogger, even one who wanted to set everything up themself, create a custom markup (you can get most of the marginal utility of KRF by writing in plain HTML), it was convenient for me because I already had it set up and extending it to handle the blog required no more work than creating a template for posts in plain HTML would have.

Which brings me to my other minimalism-related point: while existing themes (think Wordpress, Jekyll, etc.) do look nice — I even use an off-the-shelf Wordpress theme on a different blog, albeit a relatively simple one — they also look very clearly off-the-shelf. And there's nothing wrong with that if that's your thing, but I personally appreciate simple, customized solutions that do everything they need to well and don't waste space on superfluous features.

To the extent that it makes a difference, every time I publish this site, I re-generate all of the HTML files using the newest version of KRF, meaning that tiny changes in how the text is displayed may crop up if workarounds that I've used to deal with earlier versions of KRF become unnecessary. This shouldn't affect the content of previous posts in a serious manner, but feel free to let me know (contact information is available on my home page) if anything looks like it has gotten messed up or no longer makes sense.

One thing that I am likely to continuously change about this blog is the CSS styling. I currently like the layout I have — it's very simple, and in my opinion easy to read — but it is common for me to see flaws with sites I've designed and want to fix them, so don't be surprised if the look and feel of this blog changes slightly every once in a while. I am especially likely to replace the plain white background with something that's a little easier on the eyes at night, although a full-on night mode may be some time coming. Design per se is not my specialty, so small details that seem odd should be interpreted with that in mind.

The next thing on the immediate agenda is the inclusion of an RSS feed. I make no promises as to when that will become available, but I will probably publish a post about it when it does, so keep watching this space manually (and by following me on social media where I may cross-post content) until then.