Or, better put, new site engine. The previous site, still visible at http://old.brymck.com, was mostly hand-rolled in PHP. While a useful experience, it’s taught me the difficulties of doing everything yourself. And the frustrations of a language that makes you think about things that you shouldn’t have to think about and has a community willing to give the worst advice imagineable:
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This has to be the most basic, most obviously wrong piece of code on the web. If some hapless webmaster copy-pasta’d this code into his own ajax.php, all you’d have to do is visit http://hissite.com/ajax.php?q=Robert');%20DROP%20TABLE%20user;– and voilà, site wrecked. That is, your SQL statement would become:
That’s more time than I need to spend bemoaning what’s probably the most popular web language (on the most popular site explaining it to beginners), and my site was immune from such basic stupidities in the first place, but it’s infuriating when bad advice is so prevalent. It indicates underlying issues in the quality of the community: not everyone, but enough that the laziness manifests itself regularly and makes maintaining the whole thing feel like fixing the house with duct tape. It might work, but that’s not the point. The Ruby community, on the other hand, has at least been tremendously helpful, and that’s attractive.
So now I have this site, built using a static blog framework called Octopress, itself based on Jekyll. It’s much easier to customize without having to dig into the guts of my old, slightly horrible code. Because it’s static rather than generated on-the-fly, anything dynamic has been outsourced: pages are generated, comments come from disqus, etc. I don’t even need a database except for a few stray details, mostly due to programs I’ve written that hit the site.
Also, as a curiosity, I have a Ruby on Rails site developed in parallel with this one at http://brymck.herokuapp.com/. Most of the content is identical. In the long run I’ll probably be using the Rails one, but cheap hosting for non-PHP stuff in general is still not there in my experience.