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Back to the Future of Web Blog Directories

·802 words·4 mins
Table of Contents #

Recently™, I came across the relatively new project It immediately reminded me of the golden age of web directories such as Lycos, Yahoo! or DMOZ. As the author writes

This isn’t an attempt to collect every blog, but it’s also bigger than a personal list.

At a time of ever-decreasing twitter feed quality and and toxicity increasing at the same rate, reading blogs from a curated list sounds intriguing. Up to now, my personal blog roll has been rather small1, but maybe it’s the right time to shift time from toxic media to more healthy reading2 by adding some diverse blogs to the reading diet. While there are well-known blogs like included in the list (comprising 1127 entries at the time I am writing this), you can find more obscure, personal, and beautifully designed entries

This is everything on the site, handily coloured according to what the page looks like, which may or may not be helpful. Stylish though, eh.
Aegir archive

Also, in the about / FAQ was an entry on how to start blogging. And basically that’s what triggered me to start this site.

Tech Stuff #

After some early and half-assed attempts at blogging, trying out Posterous (which I really liked at the time), playing around with Tumblr and Wordpress, I stumbled across static site generators such as Jekyll and Hugo, and some authors who used them to run their blogs. At that time, I bookmarked this for later use. Which is now.

Done #

I cannot say exactly why I chose Hugo over Jekyll. For a small blog, the one major advantage of Hugo over Jekyll, speed, maybe is not that relevant3, but once I settled for the Congo theme, that was that.

While I am not developing software anymore in my current role, I still have a strong interest in tech driven both personally and through my job. Therefore, all the crucial tools such as homebrew, git and VS Code were already at my hand. I just needed to install Hugo to get up and running (locally), which was straightforward. I have to say though that, while getting a dummy site up and running locally really took no longer than 10 minutes, it took me much longer than that to get the site’s structure and look and feel closer to what I wanted. Once I had familiarized with Hugo’s structure, and the form and content started to shape up, I added a remote repository and an Azure Static Web App, and that’s where we are at now.

Todos #

This is a list of tweaks and items I have marked for customization, adding or changing layouts or other functions of the theme and this blog. When I get around to it.

☑️ in addition to article title and date, show a next / previous label on post links4
☑️ include a Read more link after article summaries4. Since the article headline is not formatted as a link, I felt that, at least for short posts, it might be at best ambiguous to site visitors whether there is more to the post than just the abstract.
☑️ increase number of recent entries on list pages4
☑️ allow markdown in post titles. I just needed to add markdownify to the title formatting. Because in one post (actually, this one), I used markdown in the title
📋 add RSS feed link based on Hugo default
📋 a flickr shortcode to embed photos
📋 a mastodon shortcode to embed posts
💡 a share to mastodon link to share a blog post on mastodon
💡 an odesli/ shortcode to embed a song or album link
🎁 integration of photo galleries, maybe PhotoSwipe for photo-centric posts
🎁 Tufte style sidenotes instead of footnotes. I have seen this in another theme (henry), and would like to use the sidebar space.
💡 activate Azure application insights for the static web app
💡 make this list a pinned post?
💡 configure different fonts, maybe a serif font for headlines or post titles?
💡 add a comment system, e.g. utterance? Depends on the data that application insights delivers. If noone reads this blog, it would not need comments.

  1. vowe and daring fireball are the only ones which I follow regularly, trying not to miss a new entry. Frequent blog reading includes Scott Galloway’s No Mercy / No Malice and PetaPixel↩︎

  2. Yes, reading an actual book also might help. ↩︎

  3. Note that Hugo’s speediness allows for real-time WYSIWYG in the browser while writing markdown in your editor of choice. I am not sure if that is possible with Jekyll, or what blog size would change this. ↩︎

  4. maybe this should not be marked completed. For now, I simply overwrote the appropriate values in the theme files, but controlling this with a theme parameter would of course be better. ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎