« Le Bricoleur » | Hendrik Erz

Abstract: If you have visited this page in the past, you might’ve noticed some hiccups over the past weeks. The reason is that the CMS which runs this site has been completely locked up, so I searched for an alternative, which I found, only to be pointed towards a fork of that very CMS which remains Open Source a few days later. In this article, I give you a small update of what happened, why it happened, and I also go over a few changes and additions to the site itself.

I’m a guy who likes to play around with technology. As my grandfather used to call me: le bricoleur (“the bodger”). Thus, I also like to play around with my websites, my apps, my computer, and I cannot even begin to recount the times I bricked our home computer back in the 90s (sorry, paps). This website is no exception. I have come a long way from my first, crude, self-built blog (have a look; the images have thankfully been forever lost to the void), but one thing never changed: I like to experiment with things.

You may have noticed that already on my old page where I collected my publications: Instead of just copying and pasting these from Zotero like a normal human being I queried their API and even allowed you to change the citation style being used. Or, just look at this page itself: It’s completely self-built, and I’m still experimenting with everything. For example, have you noticed that the font used here has changed several times since November 2020, when I started to fill this page with content?

Anyways, I wanted to tell you what was happening over the past several weeks. The short version is this: In April 2021, the guys from October CMS decided it was a cool idea to move from an Open Source CMS system to a paid platform and demand $9 per month from any user. As I cannot fool around with a closed-source system (and, besides, why should I pay for a CMS?), that’s pretty much a deal-breaker for me. Thus, after fiddling around with alternatives, I decided to move to Jekyll a week later and moved my stuff to the new system. However, as fate dictated, Luke Towers, one of the creators of October CMS, found my Tweet shortly thereafter and told me that they’ve decided to fork1 October CMS. Unsurprisingly, they named it Winter CMS. Since I’m still convinced that Winter CMS is the single best thing out there, I didn’t have to think too long, before I trashed the Jekyll installation again and moved the old October CMS backup back into place (always keep a backup, children!).

Today, I finally found the time (a.k.a.: I did this instead of learning for my exam next week) to finally migrate the October CMS files over to Winter CMS. Since both systems are still pretty much aligned, there’s hardly any difference (except now I have a shiny new logo in the backend). But while switching from October to Jekyll to Winter, I did do some clean up. The stylesheets are now written in SASS instead of LESS, I moved some code around and polished the whole thing. And exchanged the font, as you might’ve noticed.

So, what has changed exactly?

Well, first, I changed the font. This is because I’ve had a chat with my mother (a learned typesetter) the other day, and she mentioned that serif fonts are not really ideal for display text and are better suited for printed text. So she recommended I use a sans-serif font even for long texts. Thus, I ditched Cardo (which I used before) again and switched to Source Sans Pro. And, what can I say – dislike your parents as much as you want, but if they tell you something while also being experienced in it, you better listen.

Secondly, the list of publications has moved. Instead of being on their own page, I decided to add my CV and put the publications there. This is following a discussion among the PhD students of the IAS, since we were talking about how to improve your visibility online, and having a CV was a pretty good idea from a colleague. The list of publications has been further improved in that it’s now cached. This means that the page will load much faster. And it also means if you have some idea of code and URL-parameters, you can still adapt the citation style, even though the dropdown has been gone. See it as an easter egg due to excessive lazyness on my site to disable that code.

And finally, I have also taken the time (a.k.a.: procrastinated instead of learning for my exam next week) to create an initial list of resources which I’ve been advertising in my social media image for almost a year now. Have a look! That list is likely going to grow over time (also because the list of HowTo articles is dynamic). That list is a result of years of bodging. I hope that all of this helps some of you folks. So much for this week, see you next week, probably for another “How I Work” article!

See you after my exam next week (for which I should be learning instead of writing this).

  1. To fork means to take some code, copy everything, and develop it independently. Basically copying over a folder of stuff and work on it independently. Imagine a pitchfork, but without you being stabbed by it. 

Suggested Citation

Erz, Hendrik (2021). “« Le Bricoleur »”. hendrik-erz.de, 28 May 2021, https://www.hendrik-erz.de/post/le-bricoleur.

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