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Blog migration to Jekyll

19 March 2017

Hello my inexistent readers.

I worked hard yesterday and today to set up Jekyll and migrate my blog from Tumblr to the same server the rest of runs on. It’s finally more or less finished now.

Jekyll is a Ruby-based simple CMS solution that generates static webpages out of a mixture of various configuration and content files. Compared to WordPress and its ilk, it’s very lightweight, secure (it uses no web-facing logins or databases or anything), and easy to set up and use. The main con is that all the content is statically generated, and updating it requires regenerating the entire site from scratch. It’s not a big deal because it takes like 0.3 seconds, but it does mean that you can’t just log in to an admin panel to post new things. Posting requires writing the article locally (using Markdown, a syntax that I used to quite dislike, but have since come to accept that it’s good for what it does), then recompiling the site (using a virtual machine, because all these hip development environments like Ruby are always a pain in the dick to set up on Windows, and almost as much of a pain to set up on Debian-stable because the update cycle on these things is a little too fast for Debian to keep up with), and then uploading the product to the server.

In other words, it does exactly what I need it to do, and I’m okay with compromising on a little ease of use if that means not having to install the GAPING_SECURITY_HOLE that is WordPress.

The main hurdle with these things is always getting a nice blog theme. The stock themes are usually pretty ugly, so I always find myself doing a lot of tweaking to the layout of the site until it looks exactly like I want it to. This time around I based the theme on the Tumblr theme I used on the old blog, because I quite liked it. As a bonus a simple single-column theme like this is very easy to implement; it “only” took me like 10 hours of work to make this one. I’m not very good at web design.

This Jekyll deployment is missing some of the more fancy features the Tumblr blog had, notably comments, but I don’t need those. And since no one but me reads this blog anyway, my opinion is the only thing that matters.