Erik Bernhardsson    About

Meta-blogging

(This is not a very relevant/useful post for regular readers – feel free to skip. I thought I would share it so people can find it on Google.)

My blog blew up twice in a week earlier this year when I landed on Hacker News. The first time I was asleep so I didn’t notice that the site went down. The second time I did notice, and scrambled to reconfigure Apache & MySQL to handle the load.

I decided it was time to move off Wordpress.

This is something I had been thinking for a long time – I hated the layout with my old site, especially the typography. I probably could have spent a bunch of time tweaking it but it also feels philosophically wrong to run a LAMP stack in 2016 for something as simple as a blog.

After some research I chose Jekyll. I liked the idea of static content and it seemed very lightweight. To do this I had to

  1. Clone Poole
  2. Install the Wordpress to Jekyll exporter
  3. Run this simple postprocessing script I had to build for some cleanup
  4. Fixup a couple of things with Poole (in particular add height: auto; to the img tag in _sass/_base.scss, everything else was cosmetic superficial stuff, mostly to get nice serif fonts that seems to be the shit recently).

Additionally I reconfigured some stuff around related pages (brew install gsl, gem install rb-gsl, set lsi: true in _config.yml). LSI is a pretty crappy algorithm for NLP but unfortunately there’s nothing better out there.

Since the entire state is stored in the file system, I also use Github to host a repo with the blog in it. I’m still hosting the blog on a Digitalocean droplet, but might kill it and just switch to Github Pages at some point.

Page load time went down drastically after deploying it:

Pingdom stats

This was all good until and I was running happily on my new blog until I was checking Feedly. First it claimed that I was no longer subscribed to my own blog, then when I added it, my number of subscribers had dropped from 300 to 9. WTF! I realized it’s because my previous RSS was broken. I ended up setting up some 301 redirects using Apache. First of all, in /feed/.htaccess

RedirectMatch 301 /feed/(.*) http://erikbern.com/atom.xml

This will redirect /feed/ to atom.xml. Then I moved index.php to wordpress.php and set this up in /.htaccess:

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} feed=
RewriteRule (.*) /atom.xml? [R=301,L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/$
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} p=
RewriteRule (.*) /wordpress.php [R=301,L]

The first pattern will redirect /?feed=xyz to atom.xml. The last one is for old links to my blog – it will do a double 301, from /?p=841 to /wordpress.php?p=841 to /2014/11/29/deep-learning-for-chess/.

I’m now up to 230 readers on Feedly – not sure wtf is going on but seems better than 9. Please resubscribe if you lost it!

Want to get blog posts over email?

Enter your email address and get weekly emails with new articles!

Erik Bernhardsson

... is the CTO at Better, which is a startup changing how mortgages are done. I write a lot of code, some of which ends up being open sourced, such as Luigi and Annoy. I also co-organize NYC Machine Learning meetup. You can follow me on Twitter or see some more facts about me.