Tinkerer as Sphinx Web Log Tue, Jul 23, 2013

Crave simplicity? Tired of configuring, migrating, and fighting with databases just to run something as simple as a web log? Me too.


  1. Static files - no more databases
  2. Easy markup language - It’s hard enough to get motivated to write a blog post. Reducing friction is good.
  3. Automatic time line - Again, anything that requires work to keep things organized will eventually become a chore

After using Sphinx for quite a few years (and loving it) I had this wacky idea - Why not use Sphinx for the base of a web log? Why not indeed! It has a simple markup language, reStructuredText, and generates nice static files (with built-in search I might add). The only thing missing is some type of easy to maintain/create time line. How hard could that be?

Truth be told I seem to have this new idea about once a year. I search for existing implementations, think about doing something myself, get distracted, and another year goes by. This time the search phase had a different result.

Enter tinkerer. A very simple command line blog setup using sphinx as the rendering engine. For anyone that has used Sphinx before it will be a natural fit. Even if they haven’t used sphinx it doesn’t take that much know-how to get started. The documentation is very clear and so far it has been a blast to use. The default themes have a definite cheese-factor going for them, but are good enough in my opinion. I quickly mashed my own theme last night by mostly removing CSS from one of the defaults. Results are: http://twlk9.com

My main motivation behind this thought is to create something for work that does not require much special setup or maintenance. Something simple and rock solid for communicating emergency information to customers. Especially if a portion of the main infrastructure is having issues it would be nice to have a simple site set up remotely.

Simple. Good.