Three years, 11 months and 22 days… That’s how long it has been since my last blog post.
When I originally launched this blog, I was using the software I originally wrote for CommunityServer back in 2004 and 2005. Ever since then I have dreamed of grand visions of new blogging software. Tinkering with new design patterns, following Ken Robertson’s advice of trying out new frameworks with the concept of an Hello Blog, where you create a blog using whatever language you want. While that was all said and good, I never got around to finishing any of them good enough to launch them live.
Enter Octopress: A blogging framework for hackers
For those that haven’t heard about it, go read about it. In short, it uses Ruby to create a static blog for you to upload anywhere. Yes, just raw .html files and css/js/image files. And, that’s about it.
You write your posts in MarkDown, and be done with it. There are all sorts of little
hacks shortcuts when writing posts that I
am going to have a lot of fun with.
When you go completely static, interesting opportunities start to emerge… You no longer need a “web host” – all you need is a place to dump your files online somewhere.
Enter GitHub Pages
GitHub allows you to host static pages in a public repo. I’ve been hosting my code.eduncan911.com there for years.
A few Google searches revealed I wasn’t the only one who thought this way. If I create a static blog, I can just host it at GitHub. At first I stumbled upon Jekyll which gives you full control over markup, css, etc. But here I was in the same position – writing code. I found that Octopress is built upon Jekyll; but, it already has a default theme, css, plugins, etc.
The best part is they have step-by-step instructions on how to publish it straight to GitHub Pages. It really can’t get any easier than
this, for any
hacker skill level.
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That’s right, this blog is hosted at eduncan911.github.io. They have instructions on setting up a CNAME (in my case though, an ALIAS for the root eduncan911.com domain) and that’s it, you’re live.
As a matter of fact, go browse my site just like the old “directory browsing” method.
If you want to see the source code in how I generate the site, switch branches to
check that out. Tip: most of that is Octopress. Drill into the /source/ directory to see the raw nit-n-gritty fun stuff.
I will admit though, it took some tinkering to get Octopress setup and working correctly on Windows with PoshGit and PowerShell.
The way forward
There are a number of plug-ins, and there is some work I want to do to the asides (right column). But I am liberated to no longer wait, and just do.
Most of all, being just raw MarkDown, I can write from any device now: tablets, smart phones, anywhere. And, being on GitHub, I can just browse to my source branch and create a new file to start blogging. There are instructions for a C.I. server to take callbacks from GitHub, and to publish it on the site after commits. Yep, very fun stuff…