Welcome to the Refreshed HeyDingus.net
Hey there! Since you’re reading these words, that means that, as was foretold, I’ve launched version 2.0 of HeyDingus.net. 🎉 And if everything has gone according to plan, you should hardly even notice that the site has changed. But changed it has — and drastically at that. In fact, the backend is hosted on a whole new (less expensive) platform; every single post and page has been rewritten; the font has changed and its formatting adjusted; my publishing workflow is terrifically simpler; it’s easier to read on mobile devices; in short, everything has changed.
It may be easier to explain what hasn’t changed.
- The URLs should all be the same or redirect automatically to their new homes.
- The general format of the site is the same, with menu-level access to Archives, ongoing projects, my Now posts, and About page.
- The color scheme is still rocking that six colors goodness.
- The Twitter feed will still tweet out each new post, and the RSS feed still works.1
- Everything is still written in Markdown.
- And you can still read everything I’ve ever published.
It took many sleepless nights over the course of a month to get it in a shippable state — which is to say, looking almost exactly like the old site without any (I hope) broken links.
Shouldn’t you have just spent the time writing new posts rather than fiddling?
So…why did you do an overhaul instead?
Good question. The short answer is that when Squarespace announced a price increase, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I wasn’t thrilled about paying more for a product that I wasn’t truly happy with, and that I felt was as much a roadblock in my writing process as it was a gateway to publishing online.
The long answer is that I’ve yearned for finer control over the look and feel of my site since the very beginning. And I finally found a blogging platform that makes publishing as easy as saving a text file — that’s the dream! I’m actually excited about publishing again now that I’ve removed the song and dance I had to do to get my Markdown text onto Squarespace. Plus, I was eager to jump into learning a bit about CSS and HTML. That process has been a really fun challenge (and hopefully useful for future endeavors). And I wanted to. But yes, I should have just spent the time writing.
I’ll write more soon about what I had to do to transition the site from Squarespace to Blot.
Some Nifty Tidbits
- Since every post’s source of truth is now just a text file in Dropbox on my devices, making corrections for typos or updates is as easy as reopening the document in my favorite text editor and saving the changes.
- I’ve spent time trying to make sure that every image has Alt Text to make it a better reading experience for folks using screen readers. And I could finally style image captions differently than regular body text.
- Every image should now have a hyperlinked “⌘” symbol in the caption to view the full-size original version.
- My tagging structure has been cleaned up quite a bit. I tend to struggle with applying all the “right” tags to a post, so I’ve cut them down to just the handful that I think are actually useful collections — rather than trying to apply a tag for every topic a post covered.
- (And here’s my favorite bit) You can add “.md” to the end of any URL to see the Markdown-styled plain text that I wrote it in. Check it out with this very page: https://heydingus.net/blog/2022/10/welcome-to-the-refreshed-heydingus-net.md
What’s left to do?
I haven’t gotten the site quite how I want it yet. But I needed to get it out into the world lest I spend several more weeks witting CSS and HTML rather than blog posts. Here’s what to look forward to:
- Landing pages for projects like 7 Things and Now, which will explain what they’re about and then list each post. Those menu links just point to generic tag pages at the moment.
- A more readable Archives page. I’m waffling between its current condensed style, and something that is more spacious and temporally aware (grouped by month).
- Splitting up the About page into smaller parts, rather than the wall of text it’s been since the beginning.
Thank you and stay tuned
I don’t know how many of you out there are still visiting this site after its extended hiatus this summer, but I appreciate you. I encourage you to explore the site, and let me know if you find anything weird. But more importantly, you can look forward to more on HeyDingus going forward. Thanks for reading.