"This Page is Designed to Last"?

Or at least, this is my attempt at it

This is my attempt to follow Jeff Huang's Manifesto for Preserving Content on the Web with a few changes and compromises.

  1. Use github pages - github will in all likelyhood outlive me, at the very least it will outlive my meagre staying power and dwindling attention at keeping a custom domain, server or anything else running. They're even going to preserve a snapshot in the artic for a thousand years. Hence all that stuff on server logs isn't really possible, so I'm just using simple, privacy-aware goatcounter for now.
  2. Use a flat a structure - Instead of a single index.html, I'm limiting myself to one level of subdirectories, each containing a index.html and the top level /index.html links to all of those single pages. As much as I like the idea of just one index.html, even Jeff Huang's homepage has links to subdirectories, listings of his conference papers. So I'm just index.html just isn't practical for me... then again, just one page would make me really think about what's worth including on that page.

So what's worth including?

On that note, I'm not so deluded to think I'm writing anything worth preservation, but I generally agree with the principle that cool urls don't change and that we shouldn't just leave pages to decay slower over time. There's a great effort to archive newspapers, but the desire for interactive charts and graphs means that the Guardian's 2011 AV referendum page and the UK 2010 election map are already broken and the Telegraph's AV map uses the (at time of writing) soon to be deprecated flash.

That's nice, you're so self aware

Snark aside, I'm actually hoping it'll change the way I write, by including the versions of software I'm using that I'm writing about, including timestamp information and linking to archive.org and exact github commits, I've already noticed how much of my previous posts contain links to dead documentation or code. Which I'd rather not have to spend time fixing.

I also like being lazy and doing nothing

The guidelines fit in well with my wishes to be as lazy as possible in doing any maintainence work, before this I was using hugo, but the new version caused backwards incompatability with the theme I was using annnd, "ah screw it I'll just use html". I also switched to simple dark text on light background over my previous "cool" hugo theme. Because even if I think it's cool, it looks like it's better for everyone else to use dark text on a light background

So what's doing nothing?

Ah, I'm glad you asked, it's an incredibly easy process of manually writing html in vim with emmet-vim, handling code syntax highlighting using the Pygments command line, validating those files using Tidy and serving them up using python -m http.server before pushing to github. So er, perhaps a bit more involved than I initially described.