Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

From Blogsphere to a Static Site (Part 0) - Requirements

Readers of this blog might have noticed, that blog layout and blog URLs have changed (a while ago). This blog now serves static HTML pages using a nginx web server (get used to nginx, it's coming in Connections Pink too). I will document the steps and code I used to get there. Step 0 is: define the requirements and evaluate the resulting constraints:
  • Export of all Blogsphere content to HTML, including the conversion of entries written in RichText
  • No export of configuration or layout required
  • New site structure that shows articles in year and month folders
  • Modular templating system with includes for repeated pieces (e.g. header, footer, sidebar)
  • Summary pages for year, month and categories
  • Summary page for article series
  • Existing comments to become part of the html page
  • Repeatability: export must be able to repeat, but not overwrite a page that hasn't actually changed
  • Storage of exported pages in a file structure as JSON files
  • Rendering of static site from Notes or from JSON directory
  • Redirection file, so old links get a proper redirection to the new URL
  • Have a comment database for new comments
  • No pagination for any of the summary pages (I might change my mind on that one)
  • Cleanup messy HTML automatically, fix syntax and URLs to posts and images
  • Optimized HTML, CSS and JS for speedy delivery
I had a look at Jekyll, which is the templating engine GitHub is using. I would have allowed me to just commit a new file and Github would render for me. Unfortunately Jekyll fell short of the article series and category overview pages.Finally I settled on the following toolset:
  • Some customizations in Blogsphere:
    • a view listing all objects, with images first, stories later
    • a view with documents containing richtext and a form overwrite to isolate the rendered html
    • The new URL as entry field for an article, and an agent to prepopulate it
    • A dropdown list, extensible, with the name of the article series
  • a redirection mapping file for nginx (generated by my Java application)
  • A custom Java command line application that does export and rendering. Using a set of modules:
    • Apache Maven: Dependency management for Java projects
    • Google gson: Processing of JSON from and to Java objects
    • Joda time: Time handling for Java
    • Mustache for Java: logic less template system. Available for tons of languages, so if I change the hard part - rendering - will continue to work
    • Google Guava: Core Java library from people way smarter than me. Especially the collection and cache stuff (Guava is also inside VoP)
    • Apache Commons: More core Java, mostly needed for the HTTP client and dependency of mustache
    • Apache HTTP components: using Domino's RichText to HTML capabilities to get some form of html
    • Jsoup: Parser for "real-world HTML" (ready: messy)
  • Some command line-fu to update the entries and commit to git (there's a backup of my blog at GitHub.io)
Stay tuned for more details

Posted by on 12 April 2017 | Comments (0) | categories: Blog


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