Today we are happy to announce various website updates. Here is a short summary of those updates.
- Move from svn to git for storing the website source code and the generated static content (https://github.com/apache/libcloud-site)
- New Docker image to make it easier to build and contribute to the website
- Upgrades to the various software and libraries used to build and serve the website (Jekyll, Ruby, Ruby Gems, jQuery, Bootstrap, etc.).
- Dark mode / theme for the website
- Removal of Google tracking code (Google Analytics, Google Fonts)
- Removal of various Ruby gems which are not needed to build the website
- Other minor styling improvements
More on that below.
It has been over 8 years since the new static Jekyll powered website has been launched.
8 years is a long time and since then a lot has changed. Especially in the web world, but the website stayed more or less the same.
Since the website is purely static and doesn’t contain any dynamic server side components this means that not updating the software which is used to build the website has no negative security implications for the end users (that’s a nice thing about all the static website generators). This is vastly different if you run a server side CMS such as Wordpress or similar where you need to make sure it’s always up to date with the latest security patches.
Main problem with using old software (Ruby, Jekyll) was that it was very hard to reproduce local development environment which made it almost impossible for others to contribute - even I had issues with reproducing the environment in the past year.
We used Ruby 1.9 and Jekyll 1.5 which were both almost 8 years old and officially deprecated and non-supported for many years already.
At first, I only wanted to create a Docker image with this old software which would make it easier for other people to contribute and build the website locally.
It turned out that even that is very hard now because of the various old versions of the software and libraries that software depends on. After many hours, I did get it to work, but I decide to try to go a step further and see if I can actually update Ruby and Jekyll.
And surely, it turned out that’s not an easy task either. Over the years, Jekyll had many releases with breaking changes and to make things worse, we also utilize some custom Jekyll plugins which needed to be updated (I was actually already somewhat aware I’m opening a can of worms because I already tried to do that a couple of times in the past, but each time I decided to abandon those efforts since it required too much work / time).
In the end, after addressing all of those various issues and breaking changes, I got everything to work.
To make contributing even easier and faster, we also provide a pre-built Docker image with the development environment which should save some time and CPU cycles since the image doesn’t need to be built locally (sadly the image is on the larger side because a lot of tooling is needed to build the website - I do hope to reduce that a bit in a future when I get a chance by using a multi stage build).
Since I was already working on the website I also decided to make a bunch of other changes, my favorite one being dark mode / theme. I personally already use Dark Reader extension for Firefox which automatically provides dark mode for most websites on the fly, but I know now everyone is using something like that and a native dark mode / theme is usually better.
The source code and everything else for the new website is available at https://github.com/apache/libcloud-site.
We hope you will enjoy those new changes and most importantly, we hope those changes will decrease the barrier to entry and make contributing to the website easier and faster.
P.S. If you find any bugs or issues with those changes (especially the dark theme), please feel free to report them or, if possible, contribute the fix directly - that would be much appreciated.
Today we are pleased to announce a new, improved and more user friendly version of our website.
Background and History
Original website was developed and published back in 2009 when the project was first announced.
A lot has changed since 2009 and during that time the web has been evolving at a rapid pace. Now we have terms such as responsive web design, great front-end frameworks for building responsive websites such as Bootstrap and Zurb and many other new things which didn’t exist or weren’t widely used back when we first launched.
During this time we focused most of our efforts on improving the code and making the library better. This meant the website didn’t receive a lot of needed love and attention so design-wise, it was mostly stuck in the 2009 era.
Over the years it has become apparent that presentation and documentation is also equally or even more important then the code itself, so we have decided to fix some of the “mistakes” we have made in the past.
A couple of months back we launched a new documentation and today, we are happy to present you a new and much improved website which was built with modern tools and principles in mind.
Improvements and New Features
New website includes many improvements and new features. Some of the more important ones are listed bellow.
More modern and user-friendly design
New website now features a more modern and user-friendly design. This includes bigger fonts, better typography and so on.
On top of that, the new design is fully responsive which means you can now better enjoy the content on smaller devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
Improved and re-designed landing page
We know that landing pages are very important so we have decided to totally re-design and re-organise ours.
New landing page now displays all the important information (project features, code examples, showcases some companies and projects using Libcloud) and also features a more clear call to action.
New website now features a fully-fledged blog.
We will use the blog to post important project news, keep you up to date with what is currently going on and post case studies and stories from projects and companies which are using Libcloud.
If you are using an RSS reader to stay up to date, we also offer an ATOM feed.
Updated Credits Page
Credits page now features an up to date list of people who have contributed code and documentation.
As noted on that page, the list is automatically generated from the CHANGES file so it might not be 100% accurate.
Search Engine Optimizations
We have made some changes which will make our website a bit more friendly to the web crawlers and search engines. We hope this will make it easier for you to more quickly find the content you are looking for.
The changes we have made include improvements to the underlying HTML markup, addition of the OpenGraph tags and an addition of a sitemap.
Under the Hood
Old website was powered by Apache CMS. It mostly worked good enough for simple use cases, but a small user base means it lacks a large ecosystem around it which is pretty standard for many other popular content management systems.
Because of that, we have decided to switch to Jekyll, a Ruby based static website and blog engine.
On top of that, the new website is fully responsive and built using Bootstrap 3 front-end framework.
Similar to the old website, source code is still stored in an SVN repository so all the benefits we get from version control are preserved.
Source code of the new website can be found in the SVN repository.
We hope you will like and enjoy the new website.
We also hope the new website now better reflects the underlying evolution of the library and the direction we are heading.
If you have any suggestions on how we can make the website even better, don’t hesitate and share it with us. You can send your feedback to the mailing list, or you can checkout the website repository and make the changes yourself.