Yes, I know. You can look at the page source or inspect it with your browser’s developer tools. But in case you prefer a human to guide you through the process, here it goes.
This latest and, I hope, long-lasting iteration of the website comes after a lot of tinkering over the years. I will write more about this as a seperate note-to-self, so here let’s focus on the page in front of you.1
My use case
Given the choice, I would work with HTML and CSS directly. Make my own folder structure, edit the files, upload them, done. Considering I publish mostly text and rarely make changes or update the site with new content (roughly once a month), my page count is very manageable and I don’t see a benefit from using a CMS, even the most minimalistic flat-file one.
Before, I used Bludit as a CMS and it remains a solid choice, however in my case its advantages resulted irrelevant. For example, I could use the admin panel to easily edit my posts on the go. Yeah, that’s just something I never did. Or, the possibility to have a comment section and an RSS feed for people to subscribe to. Unfortunately, not many people use RSS; as for comments, it was personal emails that I got, which I prefer anyway. In short, an Internet nobody like me doesn’t really need any interactivity on their site. :)
Finally, the simplicity, robustness and convenience of plain HTML files is unrivaled. Backing up means just copying the files to some storage media. Once I have my pages written, I could in principle tweak the CSS/layout as much as I desire by updating a single file. On top of that, page design remains very flexible as there are no themes or templates to be modified. Ideally, this would bring an end to the constant fiddling with the tools and result in more actual writing.2
How this helps you
This site is easily readable, lightweight—so it loads fast even on slower connections, not tracking you or intruding on you in any way, should load on almost any system and probably will remain steady and awesome as it is now for years (decades?) to come.
When I designed it, I wanted reading it to be more akin to reading a book, relaxed and focused. The presumption that a personal website might strive for some longevity or transcendence is a jarring display of narcissim, yet I hope the humble reader would forgive my illusions of grandeur. In any case, the aim here is to make both writer and reader happy, and to shorten as much as possible the distance between my brain and yours.3
The type is set in a webfont version of Donald Knuth’s Computer Modern, which I got from here. The navigation menu design plays with the site’s name by alluding to integration as finding the area under a curve by dividing it into rectangles and summing their areas. I used HTML image map to make a hyperlink out of each segment—a lazy solution which still works reasonably well. Done purely for the coolness factor, I admit.
On large displays, the menu position is fixed to the left via CSS, for convenience. Same goes for the second sidebar fixed to the right on some pages, providing a quick way to jump through post sections, go to another relevant page, or use the white space for a side note.
In the same spirit, instead of bullet points in lists I use Kurt Vonnegut’s “asterisk” ( ), an homage to the fabulous wisecracker he was. Finally, a trademark of sorts for my pages since the very start back in 2012 or so, is the random quote script. It serves a random line on each page load. In this case, I toned it down quite a bit, moving it to the footer of the page, just a quaint amusement for the really observant ones.
My last hope? That any reader would find the design of my pages unobtrusive and agreeable, and the few chosen ones would really bask in the glorious displays of intellectual prowess and style scattered around this marvel of the World Wide Web. Thank you, kind madams and sirs, dragons and manticores, fiends and friends!