Minimalist website

One thing you can notice when you load my blog is the simplicity of its design. No fancy colors, sharing links, useless pictures, giant menu… I decided to start with something basic and add features when I would feel the need.

The programming of the blog itself is minimalist. If you know a little about it, you can lookup the source of this page and notice how the code is kept to the essential. I now use JavaScript for statistics, comments and spam protection, but kept it to the very minimum. This is both lighter for me to maintain and for the visitor to load. It is also more ethical because I use minimum non-free software. My server does not need PHP to run. It also consume less energy. Server failures are far less likely. Loading is faster, as I'm simply serving pure HTML and CSS with few images.

How do I do it?

This section contains details for the ones who understand basics about web programming. Just skip it if you don't understand!

I'm writing my posts from my cellphone or my laptop using Markdown format, so basically just writing plain text files. When I'm done, I send them on my server using git. On the server, I have Pelican installed. This is a Python tool that allows me to compile the text files into HTML using the minimalist theme I have created. The comment system is based on isso. When I'm done all I have to do is push my updates to a git repository on my server and everything is automatically updated.

For non-technicals this process may look harder than using a WordPress-like blog, but for me it isn't. I have complete control over the process. I am not prisoner of the tool I choose and could easily migrate. No need to struggle with buggy upgrades, security holes, non-ergonomic admin… I am free to use any tool I like to edit the posts. This mean I can make my working environment minimalist –  and you bet I did!

Complexity is not a proof of knowledge, it’s rather a sign of agitation. From mastery comes simplicity. It requires time to learn, imagine and design. You can observe the same mechanism when you declutter your place. Minimalist itself is – by nature – simple. Embracing the philosophy, however, requires efforts, thoughts, a little bit of work…

What do you think about this blog? Do you miss some features or do you enjoy being able to focus on the content itself? Feel free to share your opinion on twitter or on the comment form below.