The Living Thing / Notebooks :

Plain-text blogging workflow.

Companion piece to academic writing workflow, wherein I will mention plaintext lifestyle choices available without the complicated fiddly academic bits such as citations.


How hard can it be?

(long pause)

Software choice

There are lots of tools to do this. There are in fact a few hundred static site generators for plain text blogging.

The top few for academics at least seem to be

You can find many more.

Some, like lettersmith take a DIY route; just make a simple blog without excessive abstraction

I use Pelican.

As to why I chose Pelican over Jekyll: I am more fluent in Python than Ruby, and those were the two prominent options at the time.

Due to the inscrutable tides of hype, Hugo/Blogdown might be the most popular move now, especially if you want to access the mind-share of other academics, such as the rbind community.

See also the blogdown-book.

On hosting choice

In the past, I used many online services to handle my information; but I’ve been burned too many times by these businesses going under, or being too inflexible to evolve with my workflow, or relying on me being constantly online, which is not a given in many parts of the world I want to work. Waste of time, loss of data. (So long,,, evernote, google docs…) Fuck that.

The only online services I use these days are:

I send both of those two latter projects money. On the other other hand, I entrust them with only minimally confidential data.

Editor setup/editors

There are many options now if you use markdown. A brief note here. Markdown preview extended turns atom or vs code into good markdown editors, including mathematical equations.

For a combination blogging tool and encrypted markdown edition note storing you might want to use something like standard notes, which costs some money when you use the bells and whistles, although might be worth it if you nots include some confidential ones.

Preview tools make it all nicer.

  • marked is cheap OSX editor…
  • … inspired by notational velocity, specifically nvALT, which has its own noteworthy features, like high tech search.
  • restview,
  • Atom has a built-in markdown preview
  • mou has an pretty design and is cheap
  • and (free! opensource! mou-like design): Macdown
  • livereload turns any browser into a preview tool.

Awaiting refiling

To mention:

Other things to audit for UI goodness: