Craig Weber


I worked on this blog for several hours this weekend, releasing a new post, implementing a couple new features and fixing some bugs. Here are the highlights:

  • Published the first entry in my Homelab series
  • Fixed a bug on iPad that was causing a ~300% zoom
  • Implemented syndication (atom feed)
  • Fixed broken relative links in post snippets
  • Reduced coupling between markdown and site configuration

iPad Viewport Bug

Jen got a new iPad this morning, so I decided to check out how this blog looked in iPad format. It turns out, not great. Everything was zoomed in about 3x. It looks good on desktop and on mobile, but for some reason, on iPad everything is magnified.

I don’t understand exactly why it only affects the iPad, but the root cause is that, while I was configuring the HTML and CSS to support mobile devices, I added this tag:

<meta name=viewport content="width=350">

I added this because without it, opening up my website on mobile would just show a whole bunch of the left-margin, and the user would have to pan around to see various parts of the text. I didn’t know at the time why this fixed it, and I largely still don’t know; however, this was telling other browsers (at least on iPad) to scale everything up. The fix was to set this width property to a special device-width value.


One of the reasons I built this blog is that the idea of blogging harkens back to the pre-social-media days when the Internet was smaller, more heterogeneous, and decentralized. Syndication (RSS/Atom feeds) were never completely pervasive at the time, but they also seem to fit the aesthetic of that earlier, more decentralized, era, and I’ve been meaning to implement syndication since I first built the blog.

The reasons I hadn’t tackled it earlier was because I hadn’t found a library that was convenient, and I was also concerned that I would have to significantly alter my DIY static site generator’s (Neon) architecture and I didn’t really want to bite off that much while I wasn’t even updating my blog regularly.

I decided to take a stab at it this weekend. I found a delightfully simple feed library (gorilla/feeds) and it integrated neatly into my existing architecture. It only took me ~an hour to complete the feature. The bulk of the work is here:

func buildFeed(conf config.Config, posts ByDate) error {
	var now time.Time
	if len(posts) > 0 {
		now = time.Time(posts[0].Date)
	} else {
		now = time.Now()

	feed := &feeds.Feed{
		Title:       conf.Feed.Title,
		Link:        &feeds.Link{Href: conf.SiteRoot},
		Description: conf.Feed.Description,
		Author:      &feeds.Author{Name: conf.Feed.Author},
		Created:     now,
	for _, post := range posts {
		feed.Items = append(
				Title:       post.Title,
				Link:        &feeds.Link{Href: relLink(conf.SiteRoot, post.ID)},
				Author:      &feeds.Author{Name: conf.Feed.Author},
				Created:     time.Time(post.Date),
				Description: string(snippet(post.Body)),

	file, err := os.Create(filepath.Join(conf.OutputDirectory, "feed.atom"))
	if err != nil {
		return err
	defer func() {
		if err := file.Close(); err != nil {
			log.Printf("ERROR Failed to close file: %v", err)

	return feed.WriteAtom(file)

Markdown Table

For my Homelab/Hardware post, I wanted an HTML table to represent my bill of materials for my Raspberry Pi cluster. Neon uses a high-quality, extensible markdown library, blackfriday. As it turns out, the library has built-in support for markdown tables that we can enable by bitwise-OR-ing it into the list of extensions (source):

    // ...
    // ...

That generates a bare HTML table, but I still had to style it with CSS to make it render like one would expect when viewing it on a website.

Broken links in snippets

When writing a post such as this one, I often want to link to other posts that I’ve written. I don’t want to hard-code the SiteRoot (e.g., in case I move the blog to another domain or move it under a /blog/ prefix. So I would use a relative link (e.g., ./foo.html). This worked fine for people who were reading the post from the post’s page; however, it 404-ed if the link was part of the snippet text displayed on an index page (e.g., index.html) or in a feed-reader. The reason is because my blog puts posts under a /posts/ prefix (which is itself below the “site root”, which is a combination of the host and an optional prefix) while the main index page is at /index.html (in the site root) and other index pages are under a /pages/ prefix (e.g., /pages/1.html.

For example, given a post foo.html that’s linking to another post, bar.html, when we’re viewing the foo post, the browser is at {site-root}/posts/foo.html and the ./bar.html relative link resolves to {site-root}/posts/bar.html; however, when we’re viewing the foo snippet on the {site-root}/index.html page, the ./bar.html link resolves to {site-root}/bar.html instead of {site-root}/posts/bar.html

The solution had to allow for the PostOutputDirectory (the /posts/ prefix) and the SiteRoot to remain configurable, which meant I couldn’t require links to hard-code these values. Instead, I tweaked the markdown renderer to replace relative links with fully-qualified, absolute links. So a link like this: [bar](./bar.html) would be rendered as {site_root}/{post_output_dir}/bar.html (e.g.,

This was pretty easy because blackfriday has a Renderer interface that we can implement to customize the rendering. This interface has a method RenderNode(w io.Writer, node *Node, entering bool) WalkStatus, which is invoked on each node in the parse tree. To implement the link replacement, I’m implementing my own renderer that wraps some base renderer. When RenderNode() is invoked on anything besides relative link nodes, the customrenderer immediately delegates to the base renderer’s RenderNode(). If it is a relative link node, then the custom renderer will create a new absolute link node and pass that into the base renderer (source):

type renderer struct {
	linkPrefix      string

func (r *renderer) RenderNode(
	w io.Writer,
	node *blackfriday.Node,
	entering bool,
) blackfriday.WalkStatus {
	prefix := []byte("./")
	n := *node // copy the node

    // if the node is a relative link, then make it an absolute link
	if bytes.HasPrefix(n.LinkData.Destination, prefix) {
		n.LinkData.Destination = []byte(fmt.Sprintf(

    // call the base renderer with the copied, potentially absolute-link, node
	return r.Renderer.RenderNode(w, &n, entering)

Decoupling source files from Neon details

Part of my philosophy for Neon is that the input markdown files should be loosely-coupled from various details about Neon and from its configuration. If something changes in the configuration or in Neon itself, I shouldn’t have to go back and update a bunch of markdown files. One deviation from that philosophy was that links between posts had to be expressed in the source file as a link to the target post’s output file. In other words, the link had to know the filename and extension of the output file.

While I was dabbling with the renderer, I decided to also allow for expressing links to other posts’ source files. This amounted to a one-line find/replace (s/.md/.html) on the link node’s Destination field, bringing Neon more in-line with its own philosophy.