Jul 20

Constructing mathematism

I've managed to re-launch my blog after a three year hiatus. This is my attempt to document how it happened.

The last time I wrote a blog post was back in 2006. In the three years that followed I have managed to land a gig at Discovery, move to the burbs, and start a family.

Earlier in the 2009, I had a few conversations with the talented Greg Newman about brining my blog back from the dead. Feeling inspired, I built a new blog. Then I re-built it—three of four times. I did the same thing with layout and design. I continued to pick at it like a small child with a plate full of brussel sprouts.

The resurrection of an outlet for my writing has eluded me until now.

Enter Mingus

Back in the beginning of July, Kevin Fricovsky released Mingus, a Django powered blog engine. I took a peek and had a test site up and running locally within minutes. I knew pretty quickly that the collection of apps from Mingus tackled most of what my requirements were for my blog.


Over the next two weeks I worked on taking bits and pieces from my designs and putting them together to make a custom theme for Mingus. Creating a theme for Mingus is as simple as creating a stylesheet that overrides Mingus’ basic styles and modifying the path in the appropriate Django template.

For the most part I left the templates provided by Mingus in tact. As of this writing, I have only customized 6 templates, including post_list.html and post_detail.html.

After I was satisfied with the design and templates it was time to get the site up and running.

Server setup

On July 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm ET, I started to set mathematism up on the Rackspace Cloud. We use a combination of Slicehost and Rackspace Cloud servers at Discovery Creative, so I knew setup would be pretty straight forward.

Five hours later, at 1:36 am ET, my blog was live.

The site consists of two servers, both running Ubuntu Intrepid (Okay, it’s probably overkill, but who gives a shit? It was FUN!). One web server running nginx and apache, and one utility server running MySQL and memcached.

What’s next

I will no doubt continue to pick at my Mingus install. Of course I still have some tweaks to make including caching, server optimations, and browser testing, But for now, it’s time to write.

Special thanks

Thanks to Kevin for creating Mingus and taking the time to review tickets or implement new feature suggestions that I had along the way.

I can’t understate the role that virtualenv and pip played in my local development and, ultimately, deployment of mathematism.

Oh, and there’s that kick-ass framework thingy called Django.