Thursday, June 16, 2016

Final Reflection: Matthew

I worked on the web server for the majority of the year so that the MakerSpace could have an independently hosted blog as an alternative to Blogger. Part of the class's requirements was to make blog posts about our progress, so I thought it would be a good idea to make the platform we use independent of Google. The web server was going to host a blog using the Ghost blogging platform running on the Raspberry Pi. This involved getting the blog running on the Raspberry Pi, and then making the website publicly accessible over the internet. We were successful with the first part of the project. The instructions were relatively simple and we understood them pretty well, as this was the third time setting up the server, but we encountered some problems as a result of human error. Eventually we figured out what was wrong by chance. One the server was set up, we worked on the design of the web site. This involved editing the files of the server. We chose to base our design on the findings of Ethan Schooner of optimal colour contrast for reading. The web designing was successful, so we backed up the server, and this is when the SD card some how got corrupted.

The assignment did not end with a blog for the class. Our goal was to create a blog to use instead of the one you are reading right now. The blog we found the instructions for making the blog on is an example of a Ghost blog that actually works. The instructions even warned that they were out of date, but most of the time they worked to an extent. The last problem we had was caused by some unknown error. Ironically, backing up the server is what somehow caused it. Our work was showing a lot of potential until that moment. Everything was functional and we were planning to connect the website to the internet. Had the data not corrupted, I believe we could have finally succeeded.

If I had more time to repair the server a fifth time, I would not try to back up the server or find a safer way to do it. From where we were the next steps would have been pretty straightforward. I appreciate how easy it is to use blogger and do not remember why I wanted to make an independent blog in the first place. Do not try to host a Ghost blog through nginx on the Raspberry Pi. Preferably avoid the Raspberry Pi in general because it is in a limbo of being neither user-friendly nor technically-accessible.

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