Everything Old... Is New Again

Jim O'Halloran • July 27, 2021


Welcome to the new Jimohalloran.com! I decided it's time to fire up the ol' blog again because there's a few things I wanted to write about and share. And in the process of re-starting it again it got a complete re-design and facelift. More on that in a second.

I first started this blog a long time ago. The state of the art blogging tool back then was Movable Type. Which was written in perl, and had a dynamic backend that generated a static front end. Whenever I put up a new post, or someone made a comment on a MT site the system would regenerate all of the affected pages. This was pretty neat, but later WordPress came along. WP was written in PHP ( which at the time I was really getting into), and was completely dynamic. MT was great, but regenerating all those static pages was a drag. Like a lot of people at the time, my MT blog got converted to Wordpress. History tells us that WP was not without a bevvy of problems though, and after a while as life got busy, and my blogging interest waned, you can probably guess what happened to the old WP site.

When WP "broke", I just took it down. I had every intention of fixing it quickly and putting it back up again. I retained a database dump for the old WP site, but 8 years passed, and I never put it back online.

These days the cool kids like their static site generators, and for a quick, simple, maintenance free environment I kind of liked the idea too. Especially since I wanted to "own" the content on my own domain, so a hosted solution like Medium was out. Over the years I've become really comfortable maintaining content in markdown, and gotten to know Laravel/Blade pretty well. So Tighten Co's Jigsaw seemed like a good fit. I liked the idea of having the entire site and content in a Git repo under my control. I wrote a super quick and dirty script to extract all of my old posts from my WP database dump and run them through the PHP Leagues HTML to Markdown parser and write out individual post files. I then spent a couple of afternoons going through and removing all the old posts that weren't worth putting back online.

Now that Jigsaw was emitting my blog as a completely static site, I could use S3/CloudFront to host it "serverless" and maintenance free. This also gave me an excuse to look at using BitBucket Pipelines to deploy to S3 and invalidate CloudFont automatically. So now I can write markdown in my favorite IDE, commit it and push it to BitBucket, and hey presto post goes online!

So, this site has come full circle, from static site (MT), to Wordpress (dynamic), and finally back to a static site again. If you hang around in this business long enough everything old is the hot new thing.