I’ve been blogging on Wordpress since 2013. For a long time I had wanted to blog and tried LiveJournal and sites like that. It wasn’t until 2013 when I was deciding to embark on a personal fitness experiment that I finally bit the bullet and created the N=1 blog. The original premise was exploring the whole area of Quantified Self and longevity for my own purposes. It was going to kicked off by a grand experiment of living various different fitness lifestyles for periods of time to see if any made a dramatic difference, positive or negative. I never really got too far into that experiment. Then the blog became my ramblings on the topic. Over time I had less interest in that and more in software engineering. Rather than create a whole new blog I decided to just add new categories. As the boundaries of what I wanted to post became less clear it really just became my public journal on all topics interesting to me.
When I started Wordpress was the easiest thing to start with so I did. I wanted to get a bit more offline and a bit more bare metal, so to speak, so started looking at static site generators like Jekyll and Hugo a couple of years ago (maybe more). Each time I wanted to the inertia to change it was too great for me to actually pull the trigger. In the past few months though it felt like time. So with this Christmas break and the Diaspora API main development done I’m finally biting the bullet and doing it.
I’ve had to learn a bunch of interesting things, but over the course of a few days I actually got the whole thing working. It’s not a work of art. No one hires me for my graphics designs skills. It is functional and it seems to work well. I’m putting this up as the first post of the new blog which is now just a nice static Jekyll site. I’m pretty pleased but will continue to tweak as time goes on. Like with any new endeavor the initial learning curve is steep, although having played around with Ruby and a lot of similar markup/down processors for Diaspora and other projects this year it was far smoother than in the past. What I have now is a site that I can build upon to do what I want with my blog, including dog-fooding using the Diaspora API to graft in comments. Which means now I’m ready to start using this for real.
Before I go though I wanted to recognize some big places of help, beyond the standard Jekyll documentation, Bootstrap documentation, etc. The first were the two themes I started to explore which I ended up abandoning and then going on my own from. The first is Jekyll Clean and the second was Freshman 21. After doing a “hello world” version it was exploring these themes for suitability for my purposes that helped me navigate more of the nuances of the Jekyll system. Even though I ended up writing my own and leaning on Bootstrap and some other things they were still good sources of references. The next is Stephen McDonald’s blog post on Jekyll hacks. I was struggling with getting sorted lists of categories and tags. This provided a break through on how to do that. I actually ended up coming up with a more efficient way of doing it that was similar to his (which I’ll blog about later), but without this I would have never gotten there. Last there was David Ensinger’s post on getting OpenGraph working in Jekyll. These were one of those things I just took for granted in Wordpress. I could have figured it on my own but having this succinct tutorial made it take less than ten minutes to get it up and running.
So with all of that said, welcome to my new Jekyll based blog. Stay tuned for my usual updates plus some additional ones specific to some development stuff I have up and coming