A statement of intent and principles for my new blog-and-website generator, Spect.
Introducing Spect, Part 3
Spect is a Python-based static website generator and blogging engine. The program is still at a way early alpha development stage, but it is working enough to begin using for this website. In the long run, I hope that it becomes practical for others to use it as well, because, clearly what the world needs most is new ways to make blogs.
As of this writing, Spect can generate blog posts like this from MarkDown files, track categories and tags (including sitewide tags, importing tag dictionaries from non-blog sections), upload new content to a server, and generate certain pages. I have a lot more in mind – there is a roadmap at the GitHub repository where I’ll try to post updates. But progress may be slow now that I have the basic framework in place and can get down to writing.
Introducing Introspect, a new blog for a new, weird era. Because there are reasons to write out your thoughts.
Let’s talk about text
The “t” in HTML stands for text. The Web began as a text-based environment. Early websites were ugly and haphazard, and images were distinctly out of place. They were awkwardly aligned. They failed to download properly and left weird display icons in their place. If an image was a link to click on, it had an unsightly blue border around it by default, to signify that it was a link. In a lot of ways, the history of the Web over the past 20 years has reflected the tension between the technology’s text-centered roots and the shift toward a web full of images and, more recently, audiovisual and interactive content.
Why reinvent the wheel for the hundredth time and build a blogging engine from scratch? A discussion in three parts.
Introducing Spect, Part 1
My history of creating websites, 1997 to 2016
I first started to learn a few HTML tags sometime about 20 years ago. Netscape 3 was the hot browser, and I and some friends picked up web design basics, probably by browsing a Yahoo! directory to find some tutorials. My memory is hazy as I think back to those early days of the Web, but I remember them with a lot of affection. I was definitely using GeoCities before it began including advertising in May of 1997. Sometimes I think the internet has never been as good since. One of my main contributions to this era was a page about hating ska and cigars. These seemed like pressing concerns in 1997 and still pretty important today.
Though sometimes I am a little dismayed at the online/digital environment for music, it has occurred to me lately that I have been using the internet to learn about music for a long time, basically for the past 11 years or so. I am actually reasonably well-qualified to offer a historical perspective on music on the web. My current methods of learning about music (among other things, you’ve got your pitchfork and your last.fm and your long list of favorite mp3 blogs ) are the direct descendents o…