geomark blog

A blog built with Python, Jinja2 and Bootstrap on AppEngine


Of course! I left out an interesting feature I should add to the blog, which is home brew analytics. I've done Google Analytics for plenty of web sites but what I'm interested in now is implementing my own web analytics in Python. There are a few good reasons for this. One is the very real issue of Google knowing too much about your business (note irony: this blog is hosted on Google AppEngine). But seriously, any wildly sucessful online business that uses Google Analytics is giving Google valuable business intelligence. If you have been paying attention you will notice how much of Google's search pages are now taken up by links to Google's own properties in profitable niches. And if you happen to have been successful in those niches you have seen your success erode. You may have even seen some suspicious sequences of events in which your best keywords and ad copy started to be taken by Google-linked properties not long after you started using Google Analytics and/or Adwords. So I am going to do my own analytics, probably using Flask running on another platform, Heroku maybe. More details when I roll it out.

What's missing

At this point there are a few things missing that one usually expects to see in a blog. One is to put some functionality behind that button at the bottom of the home page labeled Older Posts. I will have to implement pagination for that to happen. Another is that instead of the home page showing the full content of posts it should display an excerpt, with the full post on the single post page. What about comments? I probably won't implement that since I don't want to spend any time moderating comments. Tags? I could do that, and it might be a fun addition to implement. Categories? Maybe just do tags. A sidebar? That would be an interesting project to modify the theme. To summarize what I think I will add: Pagination Excerpts Tags Sidebar

Added custom domain

Today I added a custom domain to the blog. I've had for a long time. It used to have a website where I posted updates about my personal life. It was a blog done the hard way, with static html pages. A while ago I decided the intrusions into people's lives enabled by posting personal details online was too much. So I removed the site. I kept the domain and just set the MX records so I could continue to receive email. Now I have added the host records to point the domain to this blog on Google AppEngine. The process is straightforward, see I don't plan to post personal info here. I'm planning to post about tech topics only. So the hackers and the government spies aren't going to find anything interesting.

Reskinned the blog

The blog's functionality was completed some time ago when I wrapped up the Udacity CS253 course, but it was quite ugly since it had no styling at all. I finally got back to reskinning it with a Bootstrap-based theme called Clean Blog from Start Bootstrap. That required deconstructing the themein order to use it with the Jinja2 templating engine. I also added several pages and rewrote the Contact page handler to use Python - the theme came with a php-based handler. So it looks pretty decent now, don't you think? (Rhetorical question since commenting is not implemented on this blog.) Bootstrap really crisps things up with it comes to layout and typography, as well as jquery effects. In the future I will write a few more posts with some details about the implementation.