Octopress and Posh-Git - Oh My

As announced previously, I’ve recently converted my blog over to Octopress. This was not without a few stumbling blocks on Windows using Posh-Git. I’ve also recently started to suspect some issues with Posh-Git now that I am using it on a daily basis.

In this post, I am documenting the procedure for future installs on Windows; and, maybe I can help someone else who runs across the same issues.

Ruby on Windows? No, Yari on Windows

This is my first exposure to Ruby. I know, I’ve been closed off to anything non-.NET since, well, .NET in 2002. With that the first steps to getting ruby installed. A few quick searches yielded some issues with Windows and Ruby and Octopress, until I ran across Robert Anderson’s Octopress install.

They key point to this type of installing is this golden snippet:

Use yari instead of RVM/rbenv

Scott Muc has written yari which lets you switch between Windows Ruby versions.

Once all dependencies are fixed up, it’s onto following the setup guide over at Octopress:

http://octopress.org/docs/setup/

> rake setup_github_pages

Now, I am going to use GitHub Pages for my static blog hosting. Those are the instructions I am going to focus on here and below.

The next step is to call the task to setup your repo for GitHub deployments. Just take a quick gander a what it does, as listed on the Octopress install guide:

  1. Ask for and store your Github Pages repository url.
  2. Rename the remote pointing to imathis/octopress from ‘origin’ to ‘octopress’
  3. Add your Github Pages repository as the default origin remote.
  4. Switch the active branch from master to source.
  5. Configure your blog’s url according to your repository.
  6. Setup a master branch in the _deploy directory for deployment.

If that sounds like a lot, wait until you see what actually does happen below. So, we’ll run it and look at the output:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [master +2 ~1 -0 !]> rake setup_github_pages
## Set the codepage to 65001 for Windows machines
Enter the read/write url for your repository
(For example, 'git@github.com:your_username/your_username.github.io.git)
           or 'https://github.com/your_username/your_username.github.io')
Repository url: git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git
fatal: remote origin already exists.
Added remote git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git as origin
Set origin as default remote
Master branch renamed to 'source' for committing your blog source files
rm -rf _deploy
mkdir _deploy
cd _deploy
Initialized empty Git repository in C:/gd/code/eduncan911/_deploy/.git/
'My Octopress Page is coming soon
'hellip' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.
[master (root-commit) f1e0e3f] Octopress init
 1 file changed, 0 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
 create mode 100644 index.html
fatal: remote origin already exists.
cd -

---
## Now you can deploy to git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git with `rake deploy` ##
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]>

Btw, kudos to the developers of Octopress to put this much output in the build processes – makes things much easier to debug than the vast majority of scripts you run.

But doh! We have our first stumbling blocks. We have a number of errors to work out here, three exactly.

Fortunately, line 7 is an extremely common problem when working git. Unfortunately though, the common fixes doesn’t seem to work with any Posh-Git install I’ve used to date.

Before we get to that though, let’s take a look at the ruby task to see exactly what is going on before we jump to any conclusions.

RakeFile
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
desc "Set up _deploy folder and deploy branch for Github Pages deployment"
task :setup_github_pages, :repo do |t, args|
  if args.repo
    repo_url = args.repo
  else
    puts "Enter the read/write url for your repository"
    puts "(For example, 'git@github.com:your_username/your_username.github.io.git)"
    puts "           or 'https://github.com/your_username/your_username.github.io')"
    repo_url = get_stdin("Repository url: ")
  end
  protocol = (repo_url.match(/(^git)@/).nil?) ? 'https' : 'git'
  if protocol == 'git'
    user = repo_url.match(/:([^\/]+)/)[1]
  else
    user = repo_url.match(/github\.com\/([^\/]+)/)[1]
  end
  branch = (repo_url.match(/\/[\w-]+\.github\.(?:io|com)/).nil?) ? 'gh-pages' : 'master'
  project = (branch == 'gh-pages') ? repo_url.match(/\/([^\.]+)/)[1] : ''
  unless (`git remote -v` =~ /origin.+?octopress(?:\.git)?/).nil?
    # If octopress is still the origin remote (from cloning) rename it to octopress
    system "git remote rename origin octopress"
    if branch == 'master'
      # If this is a user/organization pages repository, add the correct origin remote
      # and checkout the source branch for committing changes to the blog source.
      system "git remote add origin #{repo_url}"
      puts "Added remote #{repo_url} as origin"
      system "git config branch.master.remote origin"
      puts "Set origin as default remote"
      system "git branch -m master source"
      puts "Master branch renamed to 'source' for committing your blog source files"
    else
      unless !public_dir.match("#{project}").nil?
        system "rake set_root_dir[#{project}]"
      end
    end
  end
  jekyll_config = IO.read('_config.yml')
  jekyll_config.sub!(/^url:.*$/, "url: #{blog_url(user, project)}")
  File.open('_config.yml', 'w') do |f|
    f.write jekyll_config
  end
  rm_rf deploy_dir
  mkdir deploy_dir
  cd "#{deploy_dir}" do
    system "git init"
    system "echo 'My Octopress Page is coming soon …' > index.html"
    system "git add ."
    system "git commit -m \"Octopress init\""
    system "git branch -m gh-pages" unless branch == 'master'
    system "git remote add origin #{repo_url}"
    rakefile = IO.read(__FILE__)
    rakefile.sub!(/deploy_branch(\s*)=(\s*)(["'])[\w-]*["']/, "deploy_branch\\1=\\2\\3#{branch}\\3")
    rakefile.sub!(/deploy_default(\s*)=(\s*)(["'])[\w-]*["']/, "deploy_default\\1=\\2\\3push\\3")
    File.open(__FILE__, 'w') do |f|
      f.write rakefile
    end
  end
  puts "\n---\n## Now you can deploy to #{repo_url} with `rake deploy` ##"
end

Let’s step through what this task does to our repo:

RakeFile
1
2
# If octopress is still the origin remote (from cloning) rename it to octopress
system "git remote rename origin octopress"

Ok, no problem. We are renaming origin. But what you don’t know is with Posh-Git, when you rename origin, it seems creates an empty origin! So, when the next system command executes:

RakeFile
1
2
3
4
if branch == 'master'
  # If this is a user/organization pages repository, add the correct origin remote
  # and checkout the source branch for committing changes to the blog source.
  system "git remote add origin #{repo_url}"

We get our first error, fatal: remote origin already exists.

Ok, back on task of what the RakeFile is doing to move forward.

RakeFile
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
  puts "Added remote #{repo_url} as origin"
  system "git config branch.master.remote origin"
  puts "Set origin as default remote"
  system "git branch -m master source"
  puts "Master branch renamed to 'source' for committing your blog source files"
else
  unless !public_dir.match("#{project}").nil?
    system "rake set_root_dir[#{project}]"
  end
end
  end

Interesting. I haven’t seen this in my git-ninja code before. A quick Google and we come up with this SO answer on how to setup master to track a remote branch:

You can do the following (assuming you are checked out on master and want to push to a remote branch master):

Set up the ‘remote’ if you don’t have it already

# git remote add origin ssh://…
Now configure master to know to track:

# git config branch.master.remote origin
# git config branch.master.merge refs/heads/master
And push:

# git push origin master

So now we have master tracking a remote branch and on line 29, we’ve renamed master to a new branch called source (which also switches us to source for future commands).

Continuing…

RakeFile
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
  jekyll_config = IO.read('_config.yml')
  jekyll_config.sub!(/^url:.*$/, "url: #{blog_url(user, project)}")
  File.open('_config.yml', 'w') do |f|
    f.write jekyll_config
  end
  rm_rf deploy_dir
  mkdir deploy_dir
  cd "#{deploy_dir}" do
    system "git init"
    system "echo 'My Octopress Page is coming soon …' > index.html"
    system "git add ."
    system "git commit -m \"Octopress init\""

Ah, we are create a new directory (_deploy by default Octopress config) and by calling git init we create a new bank repo! This was not clear to me as to why at first, until I got things working. You’ll see why in a bit.

And look here, on line 46, we have our 2nd error in the output. It would seem this is a parsing typo on Windows machines. So, we never get this index.html file! No biggie, we’ll be replacing that very shortly anyways.

Let’s move forward.

RakeFile
1
system "git branch -m gh-pages" unless branch == 'master'

This is my first Ruby playground, so I am not exactly sure what this line does. I would say we create a branch called gh-pages, but that is for GitHub Projects (for corporate accounts), not our GitHub Pages that we using here.

I suspect the unless branch == 'master' is what prevents this line from running on my installation.

RakeFile
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
system "git remote add origin #{repo_url}"
rakefile = IO.read(__FILE__)
rakefile.sub!(/deploy_branch(\s*)=(\s*)(["'])[\w-]*["']/, "deploy_branch\\1=\\2\\3#{branch}\\3")
rakefile.sub!(/deploy_default(\s*)=(\s*)(["'])[\w-]*["']/, "deploy_default\\1=\\2\\3push\\3")
File.open(__FILE__, 'w') do |f|
  f.write rakefile
end
  end
  puts "\n---\n## Now you can deploy to #{repo_url} with `rake deploy` ##"
end

Finally we are at the end. Let’s see, back on line 48 we are sitting in a new directory called _deploy with a new clean git init. So, on line 50 we add a remote for origin…

And get our 3rd and final error, that we have already seen before.

fatal: remote origin already exists

As I mentioned earlier, this is most likely because Posh-Git already creates an origin and never leaves an empty remote.

I’ve seen this fatal: remote origin already exists error all too often and it usually means you already have an origin and cannot add another one. Usually git on Linux allows you to fix with a set of simple and meaningful commands:

1
2
3
4
5
# pseudo code, not actually used during this install guide
$ git remote add temp user@my-url.com/repo.git
$ git remote rm origin
$ git remote add origin user@my-url.com/repo.git
$ git remote rm temp

But this has never worked for me using Posh-Git. When trying to remove origin with Posh-Git, you get a new and blocking error:

1
2
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]> git remote rm origin
error: Could not remove config section 'remote.origin'

Searching online basically leads you to a dead end in that this normally works using other versions of git. I did stumble upon a related SO question about remotes using set-url, which lead me to come up with this solution:

1
2
3
4
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]> git remote -v
octopress       git://github.com/imathis/octopress.git (fetch)
octopress       git://github.com/imathis/octopress.git (push)
origin

As you can see, the rake setup_github_pages has renamed our origin to octopress. But Posh-Git seemed to have created another empty origin and it won’t the script add one. Let’s fix that:

1
2
3
4
5
6
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]> git remote set-url --add origin git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]> git remote -v
octopress       git://github.com/imathis/octopress.git (fetch)
octopress       git://github.com/imathis/octopress.git (push)
origin  git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git (fetch)
origin  git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git (push)

There we go. Let’s rake that setup_github_pages script again, shall we?

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]> rake setup_github_pages
## Set the codepage to 65001 for Windows machines
Enter the read/write url for your repository
(For example, 'git@github.com:your_username/your_username.github.io.git)
           or 'https://github.com/your_username/your_username.github.io')
Repository url: git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git
rm -rf _deploy
mkdir _deploy
cd _deploy
Initialized empty Git repository in C:/gd/code/eduncan911/_deploy/.git/
'My Octopress Page is coming soon
'hellip' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.
[master (root-commit) 27d2dd5] Octopress init
 1 file changed, 0 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
 create mode 100644 index.html
fatal: remote origin already exists.
cd -

---
## Now you can deploy to git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git with `rake deploy` ##

Well crap. We still get that fatal: remote origin already exists on line 17 error after all we did!

Ah, but remember what I said earlier about a directory called _deploy? They are making a new repo and setting up the origin manually.

So, we have to set that origin ourselves again.

1
2
3
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]> cd .\_deploy
C:\gd\code\eduncan911\_deploy [master]> git remote -v
origin

This is just checking to see what was there and as we suspected the git remote add origin command in the task did not work.

You may also notice that when you change directories to the _deploy new repo, we are on master now of a different repo. We were previously on `source’ branch of the root repo from the previous scripts.

So let’s fix that up.

1
2
3
4
5
6
C:\gd\code\eduncan911\_deploy [master]> git remote set-url --add origin git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git
C:\gd\code\eduncan911\_deploy [master]> git remote -v
origin  git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git (fetch)
origin  git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git (push)
C:\gd\code\eduncan911\_deploy [master]> cd ..
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]> 

There we go. All fixed up and ready to continue. Make sure to change directories cd .. to backup to where you were before continuing.

At this point, it is not necessary to run the rake setup_github_pages again because the script continues even with errors, as we’ve seen above. The last part of the script seems to modify the RakeFile. We’ll leave that for another topic as we want to keep hacking on our new blog to get it up.

To the keen observer, you may notice that we have two branches of the same repo:

git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git
# master
# source

The first part of Octopress’ instructions for github actually branches what you cloned from Octopress’ github
into a source branch. Ok, check.

But recall that we created a sub-directory called _deploy and we git init a new clean repo there. It was
already set to master, and finally we made its origin the same as our original source.

What this means is now you will have two branches with completely different code. Your source branch is what
you will work from, commit to and push up. While the Octopress ruby framework will handle the generation of the
static site and deployments to the master branch.

The last piece to remember is that GitHub Pages will only use the master branch to serve your static site.

Sweet! Our website (aka master branch) will be nice and clean based on this _deploy directory, whereas
our source branch will be the work committed.

rake generate

This runs without issue.

rake deploy

Aw shit, it would seem we still have some issues because this task generates errors:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]> rake deploy
## Set the codepage to 65001 for Windows machines
## Deploying branch to Github Pages
## Pulling any updates from Github Pages
cd _deploy
fatal: No remote repository specified.  Please, specify either a URL or a
remote name from which new revisions should be fetched.
cd -
rm -rf _deploy/index.html

## Copying public to _deploy
cp -r public/. _deploy
cd _deploy

## Committing: Site updated at 2014-04-03 22:58:56 UTC
[master 5257cf9] Site updated at 2014-04-03 22:58:56 UTC
 61 files changed, 1118 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 assets/jwplayer/glow/controlbar/background.png
 ...(snip)...
 create mode 100644 sitemap.xml
 create mode 100644 stylesheets/screen.css

## Pushing generated _deploy website
fatal: 'origin' does not appear to be a git repository
fatal: Could not read from remote repository.

Please make sure you have the correct access rights
and the repository exists.

## Github Pages deploy complete
cd -
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]>

We got two errors to sort out. Let’s take a look at the first one.

fatal: No remote repository specified. Please, specify either a URL or a remote name from which new revisions should be fetched.

Humm, this sounds like a git pull was issued. Let’s take a look at the ruby commands for this. Again, thanks to the great output from the developers, a quick search in the RakeFile finds this code.

RakeFile
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
desc "deploy public directory to github pages"
multitask :push do
  puts "## Deploying branch to Github Pages "
  puts "## Pulling any updates from Github Pages "
  cd "#{deploy_dir}" do
    system "git pull"
  end
  (Dir["#{deploy_dir}/*"]).each { |f| rm_rf(f) }
  Rake::Task[:copydot].invoke(public_dir, deploy_dir)
  puts "\n## Copying #{public_dir} to #{deploy_dir}"
  cp_r "#{public_dir}/.", deploy_dir
  cd "#{deploy_dir}" do
    system "git add -A"
    puts "\n## Committing: Site updated at #{Time.now.utc}"
    message = "Site updated at #{Time.now.utc}"
    system "git commit -m \"#{message}\""
    puts "\n## Pushing generated #{deploy_dir} website"
    system "git push origin #{deploy_branch}"
    puts "\n## Github Pages deploy complete"
  end
end

Ah hah, there marked on lines 5 and 6 is the git pull for the _deploy directory. Smart, they are pulling down any changes you may have made manually to your static pages. For example, using GitHub’s edit file feature to edit a file directly in the browser.

I wonder why that didn’t work because as you recall, we setup the origin correctly. Let’s figure out why.

1
2
3
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]> cd .\_deploy
C:\gd\code\eduncan911\_deploy [master]> git remote -v
origin

Wha… We already set this before. What happened? Well, I can tell you that it is because I re-ran the rake setup_github_pages a 2nd and 3rd time. If you recall from the setup_github_pages take, it doesn’t care if you have an existing deployment directory or not – it blows out and creates it again!

So, just go add the origin again. facepalm

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
C:\gd\code\eduncan911\_deploy [master]> git remote set-url --add origin git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git
C:\gd\code\eduncan911\_deploy [master]> git remote -v
origin  git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git (fetch)
origin  git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git (push)
C:\gd\code\eduncan911\_deploy [master]> git remote -v
C:\gd\code\eduncan911\_deploy [master]> cd ..
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]>

Before we continue, let’s take a quick look at that second error. Scrolling down to line 18 in the same ruby task above we see a git push origin master being executed.

Because we had no origin set correctly, this would cause yet another error. We got that fixed already though with the above git remote set-url --add command.

Let’s try to deploy again now that we fixed the _deploy folder.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]> rake deploy
## Set the codepage to 65001 for Windows machines
## Deploying branch to Github Pages
## Pulling any updates from Github Pages
cd _deploy
Warning: Permanently added 'github.com,192.30.252.131' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
There is no tracking information for the current branch.
Please specify which branch you want to merge with.
See git-pull(1) for details

    git pull <remote> <branch>

If you wish to set tracking information for this branch you can do so with:

    git branch --set-upstream-to=origin/<branch> master

cd -
rm -rf _deploy/assets
rm -rf _deploy/atom.xml
rm -rf _deploy/blog
rm -rf _deploy/favicon.png
rm -rf _deploy/images
rm -rf _deploy/index.html
rm -rf _deploy/javascripts
rm -rf _deploy/robots.txt
rm -rf _deploy/sitemap.xml
rm -rf _deploy/stylesheets

## Copying public to _deploy
cp -r public/. _deploy
cd _deploy

## Committing: Site updated at 2014-04-03 23:21:58 UTC
# On branch master
nothing to commit, working directory clean

## Pushing generated _deploy website
Warning: Permanently added 'github.com,192.30.252.131' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
Counting objects: 79, done.
Delta compression using up to 12 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (72/72), done.
Writing objects: 100% (79/79), 186.45 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done.
Total 79 (delta 1), reused 0 (delta 0)
To git@github.com:eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io.git
 * [new branch]      master -> master

## Github Pages deploy complete
cd -
C:\gd\code\eduncan911 [source +2 ~3 -0 !]>

Humm, a few warnings about no tracking information for the remote branch, which we renamed to be source from master if you recall from earlier. I think this is normal because we haven’t pushed source up yet.

git push origin source

Now, let’s see if we can fix the tracking information for our source branch by pushing our changes up.

1
2
3
git add .
git commit -m 'initial commit of source branch'
git push origin source

Seems like we are good here.

Let’s head over to our GitHub Page and see what’s there in the repo. What’s this? My master is a nice and clean static site? Sweet!

github.com/eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io/tree/master

And lookie here, the source branch has the source!

github.com/eduncan911/eduncan911.github.io/tree/source

I’m sticking a fork in her and calling it… These may be normal warnings with the way the remote tracking is handled as I don’t have a lot of experience with that part of git.

It’s all downhill from here

If you have stuck with me this long, I have some good news – you’re done! Time to start blogging!

You can read the rest of the deployment guide from here as they have some useful tips. Also, make sure to commit your work (they mention this too).

My last piece of advice after you get the hang of things and create a few test posts is to look into these commands.

1
2
3
rake generate   # Generates posts and pages into the public directory
rake watch      # Watches source/ and sass/ for changes and regenerates
rake preview    # Watches, and mounts a webserver at http://localhost:4000

You’ve already run rake generate; but, take a look at the other two.

rake watch is nice to auto-generate files as you change them.

rake preview is even better! It will watch for and auto-generate your site; but, more so it runs a very lightweight tiny webserver (much less tiny than IIS!) in the background where you can open a browser and hit refresh to your heart’s content.

I advise everyone to do that to keep the number of commits down because once you have a few 100 pages, that generate and deploy is going to take a long while. Might as well get into the habit early!

~E

PS: I am thinking of renting a Macbook Pro because of the time lost with stuff like this under Windows. Argh…

> Revision History
> About the author