The idea of a personal website and blog had been floating around in my head for a long long time. Most of this time, I expected the result to be powered by Django / Mezzanine.

Some weeks ago, I finally got to work and set things into motion. The result however was not really satisfying. All functionality was there and the looks kept making me happy, yet the approach felt like overkill for my simple needs.

Some internet research for alternatives opened up a whole world of static site generators that seemed much more appropriate for a site like this. Among these, I’ve chosen Pelican for the following reasons:

  • it is written in familiar language (Python) and uses a familiar template system (jinja2);
  • its extensive collection of themes and plugins;
  • the documentation is elaborate and many fellow bloggers have written helpful posts on how to use and customize Pelican;
  • pelicans are awesome!1

awesome pelican By DickDaniels (Own work), CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

The only big con of this approach is the need to use a 3rd party service for comments.2 The most widely used comment hosting service is Disqus, which I implemented here as well since it’s omnipresence suggest they must do something right. After all:

Fifty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong

None-the-less using a service that I have blocked by Ghostery during most of my browsing time feels somewhat wrong, so this might change in the future.

Why this theme?

The theme I created for Mezzanine consisted of a dark color scheme with a dynamically generated fractal background. After moving to Pelican, I looked at the available themes to see which of these would form the best starting point to re-create this look. However, when I encountered the pure theme, this theme seemed to be almost good enough without further modification. The only drawback was a severe shortage of bananas, but that was easy enough to solve. Bananas improve everything.

  1. Well-chosen names seem to be common among static site generators: Nikola Tesla and Octopuses are awesome as well! [return]
  2. Alternatives do exist like using the Pelican comment system plugin or hosting your own comment service using Isso, yet would take some of the simplicity of a static site generator approach away. [return]