Why I Use Pandoc

Published 2021-12-30

Being a lazy git, and knowing sweet-f*-all about web design/programming, I have been a long time user of Jekyll and more recently Hugo.

I never have liked HTML / CSS, so I have never wanted to get my “hands dirty” using it. I have always looked upon HTML as being far too complicated for what it needs to be. (oh, the irony from one coming from an assembler, C, bash background).

However, recently I have become increasing disillusioned about these site generators. Don’t get me wrong, they are great and I appreciate what they do. The problem is they never do exactly what is wanted. One always has to modify something. Then there is always a compatibility issue with the chosen theme. Having to use raw HTML to do something (trivial) in Markdown, or it’s the way tables are processed or vice versa. Or something else.

It drives me nuts!

The thing is, I’m always having to alter something in a “framework” I loathe. Not to mention one has to start looking at what seems like pages and pages of CSS or HTML and change/hack to get it to work as required.

I hate debugging other people’s code. Ha! I even hate debugging my own code - particularly stuff I wrote a long time ago! Some of my stuff dates back over 40 years, and I sometimes think “F*! Did I really do it that way - what was I thinking?“.

So a few days ago I had an epiphany. Why? I thought.

I just want a simple easy to use site that uses Markdown, something that fits in with the ethos of a tilde system (yes I was also feeling “guilty” in using Hugo on a system that promotes the simplicity of the early web). Something that is easy to maintain and does EXACTLY what I want it to do.

I thought of Pandoc, a tool I have used before on other projects. I could use it to build a site. How hard could it be? Why didn’t I think of this before!!??

After a quick search, I found a number of people have addressed this exact scenario, and I was immediately drawn to a system called TSPW. It has a really simple structure and the HTML and CSS is easy to follow that even I can understand, and yes begrudgingly, say that I’m actually starting to enjoy this.

There, I have said it, I’m actually enjoying coding in HTML and CSS. Who would have thought it.

Never say “can’t teach an old dog new tricks!”.

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