I’ve made the decision to migrate my blog and course websites off of Wordpress and toward static frameworks such as Jekyll, which I’m using here. There were many reasons to do this, beginning with Alex Gil’s call for digital humanities practitioners to think more carefully about the architecture of our scholarship, and to consider how our platform choices manifest in other geographic and computing environments. So in part my transition is a conscious decision toward more minimal computing in my website design. That the Jekyll site loads much more quickly than Wordpress is an added bonus.

More practically, Wordpress has felt like an increasingly insecure platform and I find myself spending more and more time researching and maintaining plugins for security purposes. And finally, my writing has moved more and more toward Markdown for the sake of simplicity and because it facilitates literate programming in R, which I use more and more for my research and teaching. I loved the idea of writing in Markdown, committing the new file to Github, and my site updating immediately. I know there are ways to do this through Wordpress as well, but that requires adding even more infrastructure than I was previously using. This solution is (for me) simpler and cleaner.

There are a few lingering matters I haven’t entirely worked out for myself or the site. I don’t currently have comments here, though I am researching various methods for adding comments to a Jekyll site. I’m trying to avoid the Disqus route, though that would help me bring the comments from the old Wordpress site here. I hope to figure this out soon. There’s certainly a part of me that wonders if comments are really necessary for a personal research website. Most of the conversation around my post of late has unfolded through social media and in response posts, rather than through the comments themselves.

Second, my current Jekyll platform does not support tags or categories for posts. Again, I’m not sure either are necessary for a personal research website to which I add a few times a year. It may be that tags and categories were a feature I used mostly because they were baked into the platform, rather than features I truly needed to make my blog navigable. I suppose time will tell on this one.

I think that’s it. If there’s something out of place here do let me know. I’m sure there are a few remaining issues from the migration, though I tried to examine each post and clean up any strange formatting, etc. The URL structures should have transferred, even though they were based on my Wordpress categories. Future posts will have simpler URLs but the legacy posts should still reflect their old URLS. But if you spot one that doesn’t please pass it on, as I would hate for links and references from elsewhere to not work here.