My blog, CV, and research articles.
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README.md

About

This site is built with Jekyll and React. The static content uses a slightly- modified version of the Cayman theme for GitHub Pages. Details of my environment, toolchain, and dependencies are given below. Mainly, this helps me reproduce functionality (and remember bugs!) when working from a different computer.

My goal is a plaintext workflow that keeps me focused on writing and researching. For excellent guidance--aimed at humanists--on this subject, see Nicholas Cifuentes-Goodbody's YouTube channel and this article by Dennis Tenen and Grant Wythoff.

Since Jekyll and Kramdown do not support citations and image captions, I use Pandoc to generate my research articles. These take advantage of Pandoc-flavored Markdown and are built with a very simple shell script. Before pushing to GitHub, I refresh my Zotero bibliography, export it to /assets/bib/references.bib and then run /scripts/article-md-to-html.sh MARKDOWN_FILE. The various Pandoc extensions are invoked within this script. As works-in-progress, the articles are unstyled (excepting some minimal CSS to keep image sizes reasonable).

In building the site, I was revisiting my own efforts (circa 2015) but with a better understanding of both web programming as well as templating frameworks. While I was inspired to do this by Chris Olah's blog (and the Distill platform), using Haskell's Stack and Hakyll with the Windows subsystem for Linux (WSL) is not workable yet.

Even installing Ruby and Node on WSL Ubuntu was unexpectedly complex, as rbenv and nvm either do not work or load extremely slowly (as of Summer 2017). Credit to Microsoft for maintaining a clear issues tracker, however.

System

Environment (as of August 2017)

  • Windows 10, Insider Preview Build 15063.540
  • Windows Subystem for Linux, Ubuntu 16.04.3 "xenial"
    • Regularly run sudo apt [update|upgrade|autoremove]

Tools

Previewing the site with Jekyll

Jekyll has make and gcc as dependencies, so the very first step is to make sure these basic C tools are installed: sudo apt-get install build-essential.

The goal is a concise number of steps for reproducing my environment on a new machine. Thus I'm OK with sudo installs because tinkering with the PATH opens the door to things breaking (pip, apt-get, etc. should normally be used with the --user flag). Similarly, after encountering various permissions and performance issues with Ubuntu's Ruby/rbenv, I followed the advice of several bloggers and installed it as a package from Brightbox. See this guide.

After installing Jekyll and Bundler, run bundle install to add the correct dependencies from the project's Gemfile and everything is ready. From the top-level directory, run bundle exec jekyll serve then navigate to localhost:4000 in a browser.

Note that file regeneration appears to work, but doesn't actually on WSL. So the general workflow is to work until you've written a decent amoung, preview locally, then push up to GitHub. What this works poorly for is checking CSS adjustments; but the focus should be on writing!

TODO

Research

  • Reception of Maria Edgeworth in USA
  • Import Hawthorne chapter into markdown
  • Type up outline for third chapter
  • PDFs into Zotero

Site

  • Add PDF and DOCX links for all articles
  • Abstract poetry into "poems" Jekyll collection
  • Style research articles using SASS from gh-pages themes (low priority)
  • Make header button link to first heading of README