How to create a stable, low cost project website and blog with input first in LaTeX + BibTeX, then in Markdown?

+4 votes
asked Sep 25, 2015 in Open Science by Christian Pietsch (270 points)
edited Oct 1, 2015 by Christian Pietsch

We are about to start a new research project. Of course, the project needs a website. Our requirements include:

  • basic blogging capabilities
  • a way to import the project proposal which was written in LaTeX + BibTeX
  • stability: we want our content to be online for as long as possible, even after a software update! – therefore:
    • no dependency on a database or anything else beside a simple web server
    • low hosting cost, so the website can stay online after funding runs out
  • not too many bells & whistles: content counts
  • blog post authors would like to use Markdown, or maybe HTML, but not LaTeX
  • access to logfiles for debugging and basic usage statistics (we do not want to use trackers)
  • we do not want third parties to sell or use data gathered from our visitors, so we prefer self-hosting

1 Answer

+2 votes
answered Sep 30, 2015 by Christian Pietsch (270 points)

I ended using Jekyll with Martin Fenner's jekyll-pandoc plugin. Jekyll is a static site generator with blogging capabilities and a built-in templating language. So you get the best of both worlds from dynamic websites (no redundant content for navigation etc.) and static websites (no dependency on a databases, no scripts running on access).

The jekyll-pandoc plugin is necessary because I want Jekyll to use Pandoc for converting Markdown to HTML. The Mardown renderers that come with vanilla Jekyll do not support references and other stuff you would expect from Scholarly Markdown.

I had installed Pandoc already when I converted the project proposal from LaTeX + BibTeX to Markdown. When using Pandoc, be sure to get the latest version because it really is the greatest.

For usage statistics, I will feed the pseudonymized logfiles into AWStats (because the logfile importer for Piwik is currently broken/too slow, and Piwik itself is too slow anyway).

This setup fulfills all the requirements above. I would love to see alternatives which can do this, too.

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