Hello friends. As you have seen, I’ve been distracted from studying and writing by my latest works for Swordsman Network — planning its future, redesigning this website, publishing audiobooks, and creating a new foundational site, Free Online Bibles.
Also, as I told you, I’ve wanted to finish publishing the WEB Audio Bible ASAP. But God, who is my boss, has had other plans for me. You see, my friends, for the past several days I’ve been trying to solve this problem: how to easily publish books online, particularly the texts of the audiobooks I’m going to host. For like with the audio Bible, I want these texts readily available to you. No need to download anything, or to search for them. And so when you want to listen to a recording, you only have to click the Play button, click on the link for the text, and read along while you listen.
The truth is, though I’m more than willing to hosts these Christian audiobooks on this website, I’m not that willing to publish their corresponding texts here. Given the nature of WordPress, that is just too much work, and too time-consuming. And besides, I don’t want my own writings to be overshadowed by them.
Of course, I could just make those texts available for download. In fact, the books and sermons by Charles Spurgeon are readily downloadable from another website, and I could just link to them. But that is the easy way (easy for me, but not for you). I imagine that it’ll be a pain, especially if you’re browsing in your phone, to download a file and to open up your PDF reader (that is, if you have one installed), just so you can read along. Like I said, it would be much better if I also publish the audiobooks’ texts online, in addition to streaming the MP3s.
However, I don’t want to start another WordPress site just for that purpose. As I’ve said, it’s too much work, and besides, it’s an overkill for the task. I also don’t want to use Hugo, a static site generator. It’s complicated, and also an overkill for the simple purpose of publishing simple HTML documents. After all, WordPress and Hugo are for full-fledged websites and blogs. My other option is to create a new Google Site. It’s free, easy to use, and simple enough for my purpose. This was very tempting, yes, but I had already decided to stop depending on Google for my ministry, and so….
In the end, the solution I’ve come up with is this: To create simple websites using Pandoc (a universal document converter, with HTML one of its supported formats), and to self-host those websites via a web hosting company (the same place where I host Free Online Bibles and my primary website, Swordsman of the Word). This solution means that, because Pandoc is not a website generator like Hugo, but a document converter, I will have to be creative in using it, and this solution does require knowledge of the command line, HTML, and CSS. But this also means that I will be able to save much time and hard work: I work on text source files formatted in Markdown, and then simply convert them to HTML! It also means freedom: my websites can be as simple or as complex as I want them to be. Yes, this is the perfect solution. A simple website for a single book. However, having multiple websites, simple though they may be, can still get expensive, and so I’ve created only one, and that one will “house” these “websites” in their own self-contained folders.
The “parent website” is books.swordsmanoftheword.com, and all “child websites” will be housed within the bk directory (bk for “book”), and each one inside its own folder. So this test website has this web address: books.swordsmanoftheword.com/bk/test/
But books.swordsmanoftheword.com is just one of the website’s aliases. There’s a few more. And that is because I’m planning to use this site to provide other background services for my blogging ministry, not just as a home for online books. For instance, it will also host all my downloadable files (I figured that it would be best if I have a central place for them). And so this “assets” website of mine will stay in the background, and the books I’ll publish will be curated here in Swordsman Network, not there.
Anyway, my friends, as I’m sure you’ve realized, this solution of creating simple websites using Pandoc has opened up other possibilities for me. For example, I could publish other Christian literature besides those of the audiobooks. And because there’s no need or reason to maintain a “library front”, I can be as selective as I want to be in my choices. In fact, I’m seriously thinking of publishing the whole Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible as a companion website for Free Online Bibles. But that is a major project still far in the future.
But what all these are clearly signifying is that there is really no need for Swordsman Library anymore. I already have my Bibles website; though it’s not like what I wanted, it fulfills the need and it suffices. And I can put together a reasonable amount of resources here in Swordsman Network, either hosted or curated; publish more books in addition to the audiobooks; and then, except for some that will continue to grow, like my list of Christian songs, leave them at that. There’s no more need to go beyond this and maintain a real library because, after all, I have my own writing to attend to.
Speaking of my own writing… I’m happy to announce, my friends, that these “non-writing” works of mine are finally established. THE WAY IS PAVED. There is a lot of things to do, yes; after all, I’ve only just begun; but there is now considerably less pressure about them. And so, I’ll be able to get back to my writing soon.
I’m still doing all these works using a borrowed laptop, and this can’t go on forever. I need my own desktop computer up and running again. A replacement secondhand system unit will do for now. My friends, if you’d like to see my visions become reality faster, please support me :)