Frank Ridderbusch

About things, that are of interest to me (in English and in German).

New Start

So, finally after long period of procrastination I finally managed to update this website.

New Hosting

One step of the update was the move to a new hosting provider. Previously I’ve been with They are primarily an OwnCloud shop. However their “Admin” packages also allowed the additional usage as standard web space for Wordpress or those other typical PHP based web applications. This functionality over the year moved into its own bookable package, not that this would have made any difference for my existing contract. What made their offering particularly interesting was the fact, that they don’t have a contractual period i.e. a year. You can use and pay their services on a monthly basis. You can terminate the contract the last day before the month is up. This is actually pretty nice, if you’re not really sure about your long investment into a web site.

In the end, what prompted me to change the hosting provider once again, was the fact, that I experienced individual hiccups during the year. One moment the MySQL database is accessible, the next moment not and then accessible again. The same with FTP upload transfers, which would time out occasionally. Nothing really serious, but annoying enough to open support tickets. I mean, I’ve been doing quality assurance nearly all my professional life on the operating system level and therefore I know, how difficult the localization of such a sporadic problem can be. Still, I didn’t feel like support was taking me seriously. Another minor issue was the fact that the ability to do backups from the databases in use and the allocated web space and download the backup archives was removed from the Cpanel. Therefore I had to rely on simple FTP mirroring.

Anyway, I felt, it was time to move on. After some digging I found the Server Profis. I choose the Private L 5.0 plan; not that I needed 30Gb of disk space, but because of the fact that they included SSH shell access with this plan. This was particularly useful, since I planed to move to a static site generator und use rsync to transfer the data to the web site.

New Blogging/Site Platform

I’ve been using Wordpress until now. It is still installed on this web site and the old posts are still served through it. Nothing wrong with that, but it always felt some kind of slow, at least compared to an editor on your local desktop system writing a blog post. In particular when you’re a pretty bad typist like me. Saving a post and then noticing, that there is still a typo. With lots of round trips, it just felt slow.

So, since static web site generators seem to be the rage these days, I went looking and found Hugo. Simply perfect. One single binary file to install due to being implemented in Go, even installing from source is just one go get command. Being able to do practically everything locally on the desktop is such a blazingly fast experience. It’s really a joy to work with. It’s also very easy to include other markdown files. Instead of using Evernote or any other online service to collect my bookmarks, I’ve started to simply collect them in a Markdown file, synchonized to different machines via OwnCloud. Then I’m using a Makefile to copy them into the Hugo site directory.

With my renewed love for the Emacs text editor the creation of this web site was a real fun experience also refuelling my interest in web technologies like HTML, CSS, SCSS and Javascript. It is definitely again on my roadmap for this year to dig deeper into these technologies.

I must say, web development has come a long way since I last fiddled with web site building in my company. It were the days, when IE6 was still the “company standard” web browser. If you thought it looked okay in Firefox, you could be sure, it looked like shit in IE. Even my company has now arrived at IE11. If you implement something in one browser, you can be reasonably sure, that it will also ok in the other browsers, thanks to web standards.

Anyway, I forked a Hugo theme on Github and applied my personal changes to the theme, you’re seeing here. I also intend to post the occasional photo. For this purpose (and the purpose of learning Go), I wrote a little utility img2hugo to resize images and create thumbnails for them. Additionaly a small fragment of text is created, which can be embedded into the post via simple cut’n paste.

Hopefully this all will make it easier to get back into a regular blogging habit in the future.