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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

2 Answers

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by (745 points)
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I ended up 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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by (40 points)
Very similar to the answer above, but much easier to install and to create blogs, there is the quite new blogdown (in R) package, which use hugo instead of jekyll. markdown and Rmarkdown files are used to create new blog entries per default (no need to install any dependency, blogdown and Rstuido has it all), (it means you can have blog post with interactive components/ reproducible reports).

I tested both rapidely, and blogdown was so much faster and prettier that I will move my jekyll project to hugo soon.

It costed me nothing using github and netify, and it is also possible (you may have to change the theme a bit) to publish the website on dat (a peer to peer network) such that even if github and netify are no options anymore in the future, the website will be available, as long as one computer is seeding it. But that is the same with jekyll. I even got a free domain name thanks to blogdown enthusiasts.

Please see my example at https://rdmpromotion.rbind.io or  dat://rdmpromotion.hashbase.io/ (you need a special browser to access that link: https://beakerbrowser.com).

Note that the comments functions are outside of the website (disqus in my case) and that it should be possible to use RSS with hugo, while I think it is not for jekyll (?).

I hope it helps.
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You can generate RSS feeds with Jekyll, too.

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