Building this blog

June 1, 2013

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jekyll chocolatey github

Engine / Site Generator

I work on Mac OS X at work, but often times find myself learning new technologies or “messing around” on a Windows 8.X machine. So, I looked at a C# blog engine. Didn’t really find anything that was really simple to host and easy to modify (I am lazy, anything that required significant work, I gave up on).

After reading a few other posts about setting up blogs, I read about static-site generators. Did a little research, and Jekyll seems to be the most popular, probably because of its origins and support on Github. This made my choice a lot simpler. Something that is used widely and has a lot of support, it even comes with free hosting from Github (Thank you, Github).

Look and Feel

I was looking for something that was simple, easy-to-use, and good-looking. The obvious candidate Twitter Bootstrap looked good, but I wanted to be different. Many people have used Twitter Bootstrap and had great success, I wanted to try to be a bit original. I found and am still using Gumby. The two frameworks are similar in many ways, each having advantages / disadvantages, but that is a discussion for another day.

Deployment

The easiest quickest deployment option I have found was github pages, and that is where it is hosted right now. Maybe in the future I will mess around with different deployment options. The build / deployment engineer inside me always looks for fancy ways to build projects and deploy them to production

Testing Deployment

After a few commits, and slimming down the blog to it’s bare necessities (I am a minimalist, so Jekyll Bootstrap was a good start but overkill), I was getting failures on github pages. Because I am not a ruby guy, I needed to install and run jekyll on Windows (more difficult than Mac OS X or Linux). I use Chocolatey which everyone should install :). Here is a quick gist of what needs to be executed to get Github Pages ready.

cinst ruby | Out-Host
cinst ruby.devkit | Out-Host
cgem github-pages | Out-Host

Getting the exact test environemnt used for github pages, made deployments easy to test. Fixed a few layouts, fixed a few posts, and boom! site is now up and running.

What to write about?

  • Do I have anything interesting to write?
  • Will people listen?
  • Will I prove that I am really dumb?

Those are a few of the questions preventing me from starting a blog. It hasn’t been much work getting things up and running, but content is everything. If nothing is good here, than no one will come. I plan to keep this blog underground for a bit, and letting it into the wild after a few posts have been generated. See if anything catches users eyes.