About the man

7 Lawlers, big cheesin' it.

So you instinctively click “About” links too, huh?

Welcome. I’m Eric LawlerOne of many on Earth, I might add. There are ~30 Eric Lawlers on LinkedIn alone. Tip: You know which one is the real me by the hair….

I’ve been programming for 20-ish years and leading product development teams since 2017. This website exists to be a permanent home for my thoughts: It helps me understand my own views when I’m forced to articulate them via text. If you find something useful in them, all the better!

My wife and I have been married for 12 years and known each other for a quarter century now. We’ve expanded our family with a boisterous bunch of boys (four of them, all age 10 and under) and an equally feisty little girl.

“Reformed Evangelical Protestant Christian” is the most succinct description of my relationship with Jesus, the foundation of my worldview and source of my strong values.

Hobby-wise, I’m a car enthusiast and gearhead (protip: reduce rotating drivetrain mass to increase smiles per mile) and amateur photographer. During ‘Rona season, I got back into an early love–mountain biking! You can find me on our local singletrack, when I’m not fiddling with the family’s growing bike fleet. Nothing beats flying across rock gardens at 20MPH… except maybe screaming down hills at 40MPH. 🤔

Finally, it’s important you understand I have a terrible taste in music. Chiptunes (music made with Gameboys), drum ‘n bass, and Japanese pop songs chase complicated jazz and indie rock tracks through my playlists. I’ve been meticulously tracking my music listening for over 15 years on Last.fm, but am in no way responsible for auditory damage that comes from looping eg warp-wet-woods continuously for days at a time.

About the website

When computer-programming types have a website, it’s traditional to brag about the complexity involved in creating and serving the site. I have no idea who actually reads these summaries, but for posterity’s sake, here’s the lowdown on lawler.io: My goal was to create the fastest-possible website using the brain-dead easiest technical solutions, as I would advise any business. Polite cough. I would likely advise a business to use Netlify and publish their static sites straight from a code repository rather than run a dedicated web server.

This website is a static site created by Pelican, a Python static site generator. I added a few custom Python extensions to bend the Jinja2 templating engine to my will.

I created the theme myself—both the desktop and mobile variants. The basis for the theme is Dave Liepmann’s Edward Tufte CSS, which powers the lovely serifed font and gorgeous margin notes you see throughout the site.

The website is hosted by Digital OceanWhy not AWS? That question deserves a standalone article. The short answer: Market competition benefits everyone., running nginx and CentOS 7 Linux. As of January 30, 2023, the server has been running continuously for 1201 days, well on its way to my goal of 3650 days.

Lastly, everything is checked into git with my usual level of detail (and delightful sprinkling of wackiness) in the commit messages. I used the Jetbrains IDE suite to create the website and write the posts. When you find keybindings and actions that enable your thoughts to effortlessly stream into digital files, you stick with it.

How to build this website

…so Eric doesn’t forget. Parallel instructions in the repository readme.md.

This is pretty straightforward. You need pipOkay, no, you don’t technically need Pip, you can install all the Python .py files by hand, of course. And you’ll have to when pip inevitably stops working in ~2028 because the world has moved on to the next great thing., the Python package manager:

  1. pip install pelican
  2. pip install Markdown
  3. pip install webassets
  4. dnf install yuicompressor <– needed for webassets, which installs yuicompressor. Adjust the binary name in the YUICOMPRESSOR_EXECUTABLE setting in pelicanconf.py to match whatever method you use to install the actual compressor.
  5. That’s it! You can now run make devserver from the root directory and navigate to localhost:8000. make rsync_upload will build and publish the site to the remote server.

(Are you a proud member of the 0.001% who use feed readers? Lawler.io has an Atom feed available here, but your reader should automatically discover the feed on any essay page.)