We have a new website, this one =)

Posted on Fri 12 January 2024 in news

Old Website

our old website

We're excited to announce that after a few week of work, we have launched a brand new website for the HenriquesLab - henriqueslab.org! Some behind-the-scenes details on how we created this our online home.

We built the site using Pelican, a popular open-source static site generator written in Python. We're a coders at heart, so we enjoyed getting to flex our programming skills.

The main motivation behind the new site was to create something fast, simple, editable, and auto-updating.

With Pelican, we can simply write content in Markdown text files. This makes it really easy to tweak pages compared to logging into an admin backend. We also wrote some custom Python scripts that can pull data from online sources and automatically inject it into Markdown files as metadata. For example, publication details are retrieved from Google Scholar and Crossref. This makes it trivial to keep our list of papers up-to-date!

We took inspiration from many other Pelican sites in the academic community. The Flex theme we chose looks clean while still being customizable.

My favorite part is the integration with GitHub... the site is primarily hosted in a Git repository from which Cloudfare Pages pulls its information to then host it! This enables some cool workflows - I can make changes on my laptop, push them to GitHub, and the site is automatically rebuilt and deployed by Cloudfare Pages.

We wrote Python scripts that can pull down data for our publications, technologies, team members, and collaborators. This retrieves metadata like titles, authors, dates, etc. The scripts automatically update the Markdown files, generate new content as needed, and rebuild the site with the latest information.

We included some fun dynamic elements too like the interactive world map showing all our international collaborations. And the publication timeline lets you visually browse papers we've published over the years.

There are also behind-the-scenes optimizations like sitemaps for SEO, OpenGraph metadata, Twitter Cards, and PWA support. Our aim was to make the site fast, mobile-friendly, and easy to share/cite our work.

We're really thrilled with how the new website turned out. We plan to keep improving it over time by adding new features, publications, technologies, blog posts, and more!