A New Year, A New Blog


One thing I've noticed about coders on the internet is how many of them rebuild their blogs almost as a matter of habit and unsurprisingly I'm no exception. I've build three blogs, I only really have three posts...says it all really doesn't it? So here is my new blog!

This one is built using the static site generator, Jekyll, modified with some useful extras by my good friend RichGuk. A full list of the extras he added can be found on his Github page. The benefit of using Jekyll, for me, is the simplicity the system provides. I can create posts in markdown, haml or even plain HTML, let Jekyll convert it into an HTML page and view it locally using the built in server Jekyll provides. Since the whole thing is tracked in Git I can push new posts to the remote web-server where a hook is setup to run the Jekyll build command, thus automating the whole thing!

The whole thing is hosted using Nginx and Phusion Passenger which was pretty fun to play around with until I tried to set them up on my Debian web-server. A combination of outdated Ruby, Gems and being so new to the Ruby ecosystem meant the build took up most of a weekend, however now I have a nice setup with Ruby Enterprise and the aforementioned technologies. It even prompted me to clean up my web-server a little which was really due for some TLC, last time I check it's uptime was closing on 800 days (pretty proud of that!) and it's got some really old projects on there...

One problem I came across while building the site was the lack of options for a contact form. After a bit of digging around I decided to dabble with some Sinatra (it has to be the easiest Hello World I've ever built). It was pretty easy to combine the two, but I'll leave the explanation for a future post.

Hope you enjoy the new site, I certainly enjoyed building it!