Website is live and orientation is over!
By Justin on September 3, 2019
My first week of grad school is over! And in the week during orientation I began making a website. I’m slowly getting comfortable with the end result and wanted to reflect on the process, remember some useful links and share some resources.
This was my first time using HTML, CSS, Jekyll, Netlify and Github Pages, so it was a fun way to bumble around and learn some first steps. My goal was to make something that looked as visually appealing as some Weebly/Wix websites but was also very customizable and would teach me some HTML and CSS along the way. With my biostatistician hat on and as a fan of R Markdown, I first considered making the site entirely in R Markdown, as I had found a couple great tutorials for webpage creation entirely in R Markdown and R Studio (check out Emily Zabor’s R Markdown tutorial or the Biostats blog Live Free or Dichotomize), but as a field biologist and photography enthusiast I wanted something that could let me easily throw in some nice photos from the field without having to learn too much CSS. Also, I wanted to start with a
.github.io domain, because it is free! Github Pages offer a solution and as Github is already a great tool to use for collaboration, sharing R code as packages (see how and why), and a free way to share data/code/supplemental materials when publishing papers (especially when freely archiving it with Zenodo, …goodbye Dryad!), it seemed like a natural choice.
For Github Pages, the strict R Markdown Pages can look great, but to get off the ground I did want to take advantage of the available Jekyll themes, which were easy to connect to from Github Pages. I first played around with Spectral and then settled on the Airspace theme. My last requirement was that I eventually wanted to get my own domain name, so after getting it working on Github Pages, I migrated to Netlify to scoop up an available domain. Aside from having a more personalized domain name (and pretty cheap - yearly price equivalent to one 4 pack of fancy beer in the USA), this seemed like something that comes highly recommended.