Moving to Quarto

Trying to start to blog again

Revitalizing the blog and moving from Hugo to Quarto

5 November 2022

It has been a while since I have posted anything new to this site. I had a pretty good pace of posting going for a while and then things got busy, a pandemic occurred, and I moved a couple of times, and somehow it has now been four years since I have made a new post. Every couple of months I would get the itch to write something new, but I just never got around to doing it. But now I hoping to make a concerted effort to revitalize the blog. There are two main reasons for doing so now: an interest in trying out Quarto and a desire to again participate more actively in the digital humanities, data science, and rstats communities.

When I first began this blog in 2017, I had the goal of trying to learn as many digital skills as possible. I was in the middle of learning R, but I also wanted to gain some basic understanding of the workings of websites. There were some options like blogdown that would have combined my newfound interest in R and my desire to create a website, but I was not sure I wanted to fully commit to the R ecosystem. And I figured I could learn more by going an alternate route. I eventually settled on Hugo, which has served me well, but now I am ready to make the switch to Quarto.

Why Quarto? For one, I just want to try out something new. It’s exciting to learn a new system, even if Quarto is not so substantially different from RMarkdown. I also want to simplify the process of writing posts with R code and getting them up on the blog. With Hugo, I had to convert the RMarkdown files to markdown, which added time and complexity. I also have never felt totally comfortable in my understanding of how Hugo works. In practice this has rarely been a hindrance, but I am not sure that I have much more to gain by running a Hugo site unless I want to do a deeper dive on Go and how Hugo templates work. In other words, the usefulness of Hugo had mostly run its course for me, and the structure of the website was more of a hindrance to writing than an impetus to write.

At the same time, both the introduction of Quarto and my own path in data science and digital humanities make moving away from Hugo much easier of a choice even taking into account my desire to learn by doing. I am much more committed to the larger rstats community than I was in the summer of 2017 as an R novice. I have no qualms fully investing in the technologies provided by RStudio, now Posit. Moreover, Quarto fixes any issues I might have had with blogdown or Distill by no longer depending on R and having a command line interface. This, combined with the ability to learn more about a tool that can be used to produce academic articles, books, and presentations, as well as websites and blogs, made the decision a rather easy one.

I have had a lot of fun moving the website over to Quarto and redesigning the site. The Quarto guides have been really helpful throughout the whole process. I was very inspired by Isabella Velásquez’s Building a blog with Quarto tutorial and her Quarto website Pipe Dreams. I also found Danielle Navarro’s post Porting a distill blog to quarto very helpful even though I was moving over from Hugo.

I am sure that I will continue to tweak and tinker with this site, but so far I am very happy with Quarto and how the site looks. Hopefully this move will push me to write some of the blog posts I have had in my head for quite a while. With the seeming demise, or at least instability of Twitter, it seems more necessary than ever to have a place of one’s own on the internet. This is mine.