By Dan Moren
August 31, 2016 1:28 PM PT
What I Use: Creating and maintaining my website
I have a small website that I re-did a few months back. I’m no stranger to making web pages: in my early 20s I spent several years working in IT and web development. I’d had a hosted blog for a while, but didn’t spend much time updating it, so I wanted more of a professional page to catalog the various projects I work on, with some possibility for expansion down the road.
First thing up was a server. I’d used some big hosting companies before, but I’d been intrigued by what I’d heard of Linode,1 which lets you set up a virtual server for a pretty reasonable cost. So I took the plunge, signed up, and started setting up my server. Thanks to the company’s extensive guides, it was pretty easy to follow the instructions and set up a web server, a WordPress installation, and a few other handy pieces of software.
Much of the server management can be done from Linode’s web interface, but sometimes there’s no substitute for the command line. On my Mac I use the included Terminal app, but on the occasion where I need to do remote management from my iPad or even my iPhone, I depend upon Panic’s SSH client, Prompt; as you might expect, it’s a great-looking app, and has pretty much all the features you’ll want for working with the command-line. Paired with my iPad’s Bluetooth keyboard, it’s indistinguishable from sitting in front of a terminal on my Mac—you know what? It might even be better.
To move files back and forth between my local computer and my server, I use another Panic tool: Transmit. There are many great things about Transmit, which handles pretty much any kind of file transmission you can think of, but personally it’s the ability to use it on my iPhone, iPad, and Macs that I find the most helpful. Between Prompt and Transmit, no matter where I am, I’m never far from being able to do pretty much anything I need to in order to keep my server in good working order.
Despite having spent a decent amount of time working on websites, I’m in no way, shape, or form a designer. So I turned to a template. My goal was to have a website that was responsive and clean, so I chose Smpl Skeleton, which is a pretty bare bones (ha ha!) theme that lets you do some easy customization. It’s not perfect, but I spent a little time hacking at the CSS and HTML until it did more or less what I wanted it to do.
On the occasion where I do need to write some HTML or CSS, I of course turn to my trusty BBEdit, which is hands down the best text editor around. And for any sort of image editing, I turn to my tool of choice, Flying Meat’s Acorn; it’s lean but powerful, and makes short work of image resizing, re-encoding, and the occasional bit of touching up.
- Disclaimer: Linode is a frequent sponsor of Jason’s and my podcast Clockwise, but I used the same promo code that we give away on the show. 🙂 ↩
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]