Vikshepa Blog

Mental Distractions

04 Jun 2022


By myself in the house for a few days, after taking D to the airport on Thursday. This presents an opportunity to spend time with my personal website project. The main challenge today was the photo galleries.

After a significant struggle attempting to get Novagallery working under the NGINX web server, I gave up on that and looked for something else. Again, I wanted something simple and within the scope of my receding intellectual powers.

The answer was surprising: a gallery created natively by NGINX itself, using its XML module. No PHP, no database, not even JavaScript. That makes it even simpler than Novagallery. It's a solution based on a question someone asked on There's a github repository for it here - though that one uses Docker (something I haven't learned about yet). I needed just to add the style file under NGINX and paste a new paragraph into the NGINX default configuration file. Because I wanted to make the galleries conform to the rest of the site and because XML is notoriously finicky about syntax, this was still a lot of work.

But in the end, I have a system where I can just upload a bunch of photos into a directory, and NGINX will serve them as an image gallery. In BlueFish, I can edit an html index file that lists all the galleries in a simple table, so there's not much work to do - a wee bit than in Piwigo, but less than adding a new gallery to WordPress. In any case, the main work is always in sorting, editing and resizing the photos before uploading them.


Together with the blog and the photo albums I also want to create a lateral (non-chronological) section of the site where I can place articles and snippets of information. I was looking at wikis like Docuwiki, and considering just creating something in html, but I think what makes the most sense is to harness emacs orgmode to set up and manage this project. I need to create a similar system to Bastian Bechtold's org-static-blog, but with a non-chronological presentation and a central index. There are numerous articles that can help with this, and it may also be possible to tweak org-static-blog for the purpose. But it will take a bit of time. I will consider what to do.

Tags: photos
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