Internet's Last Classic ASP Website Finally Upgraded

I've now been blogging at this site for more than 10 years. I meant to mark the anniversary but—whoops—it slipped right by.

Somewhere in that 10 years my site seems to have become The Last Classic Asp Site Left On Earth. So at last I decided to move to a new blogging engine.

I looked at ALL the existing blogging platforms on the planet, and I couldn't find a single one that could satisfy my One Very Simple Requirement:

1. It must be written by me.

So, eventually, I decided the only solution left was to write my own!

Okay, there were a lot more requirements. I started to write down what the requirements would be if I were paying someone to write the site for me. I soon realised I'm one of those clients from hell

It needs to pop. It needs to be now. It should smell like success. Use plenty of comic sans.

(the real feature list is included at the foot of this article)

The old site used a bug-ridden custom blog engine, code named 'Smart Jelly', the only 'Classic ASP' site I ever wrote. It was little more than a textarea where i pasted some raw html, so that it could be injected into a static template and saved once and for all. Edits after that were done by hand.

Finally, starting a-fresh, with a decade of experience, I knew I could over-engineer this one to death. So I settled on a design that is essentially a text-area where you paste an article, so that a light sprinkling of MVC code can put the article into a template, cache it, index it, etc.

I used Stashy as my ultra-lightweight No-SQL data store. I used Ben Foster's SiteMap article and code to build the sitemap. And other than that, I just avoided as many bad design decisions as my time would allow.

With this gargantuan task out of the way, I can finally move on with my other most pressing items. A new NimbleText release. A new product. But if you spot any errors, let me know.

Appendix A: rules I tried to follow.

Design Requirements...

  • Simplicity
  • Semantic html
  • Responsive to smaller screensizes (25% of visitors are from mobile)
  • Clear fonts.
  • Should last 20 years

Nothing 'fashionable' -- examples:

  • flat design, (long shadows)
  • parallax scrolling
  • long scrolling
  • sticky nav
  • 'impressive' transitions
  • client side everything
  • avatars in circles
  • giant header images.

Maybe...

  • Continuous scrolling
  • Playful
  • minimalist
  • dark
  • svg

Definitely not...

  • Bootstrap (upgrades are pain.)
  • Disqus.
  • A database (too big a dependency)
  • Pages heavy with js widgets
  • little notes that popup in the lower right corner when you scroll down
  • pop-overs that get in the way of the article and say things like "Hey! You're trying to read the article, you should buy this other thing"
  • Auto-play embedded sound and video advertisements.
  • Lobster web font.

Features

  • all old urls respected. (via permanent redirects where necessary)
  • articles
  • comments
  • fast to load.
  • Pages not heavy with js widgets.
  • rss
  • sitemap.xml
  • complete archive
  • categories
  • as few dependencies as possible. JQuery sure. Others? No.
 

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