Joel, sometimes @jayroh

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Goodbye Wordpress

26 May 2013

Hello Jekyll.

I'm behind the curve and finally moved my old neglected website to a new neglected website. This has, for a long while, been on my list of things to get to. The reasons why are too many to count, but at the core the wordpress experience is a terrible chore. Jekyll, once it's all set up and ready to go, moves into the background. It's an afterthought. I can now concentrate on writing - not updating it every few weeks, not learning a new UI every several point releases, not worrying about security vulnerabilities, and a complete lack of a WYSIWYG editor. Free at last!

This is the first time I've published a site with Jekyll so here are a few tips and resources I picked up:

  • Ben Balter's wordpress to Jekyll exporter plugin. I couldn't (wouldn't) have been able to move over the last several years' worth of embarrassing drivel to this without it.
  • The posts exported from that plugin are saved with permalinks not containing the trailing index.html. Jekyll will complain if that path doesn't contain a file. The following will run through the posts with sed and tack on the index.html to the end of your permalink:
    find . -name \*.md -exec \
      sed -i "" '/permalink/s|$|index.html|' {} \;
  • As advertised, the jekyll-s3 gem just works. It took me all of a minute to get things set up and my files uploaded to S3.
  • One bump I ran into had to do with using Amazon's cloudfront CDN in front of S3. The root url for my domain, without index.html, displayed some sort of permission error. If I went directly to the cloudfront address it worked fine. After plenty of googling I gave up. S3 alone is fine enough for me right now.
  • S3 is one of a few hosting options that don't make hosting your site with a naked domain possible. To get around this use the free naked domain redirect from WWWizer.
  • If you're using GitHub pages then using prose.io is a no-brainer. It hooks into github seamlessly and allows you to publish directly from the app. If all blogging platforms had UX half as good, the internet would be a better place. Excellent work. (Hat-tip to Kyle Fiedler for introducing me to prose.io)
  • If you like editing markdown locally then check out Mou. It's my editor of choice. On the iPad I've enjoyed Byword, thanks to its integration with Dropbox.
  • Heard from Pieter Joost on twitter letting me know about wercker. Werker is a content continuous delivery platform in the cloud. You can leverage its power to do the content generation and deployment process for you. Check it out if you're in need!

Finally, I must give credit where credit is due. If it weren't for my friend Dan Pererra's willingness to let me lift the markup and style from his own website, perrera.com/blog, then I don't think I would have made this move. It's clean, responsive and, like Jekyll, it puts the content up front and center. Check out Dan's, and all his wonderful business partners', work at the Outfit. They're all fantastic people (and great to raise a glass with). Thank you, Dan!

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Joel Oliveira

Hi, I'm Joel.

I'm a software engineer in Boston. You can follow me on twitter at @jayroh. I usually tweet about beer, bulldogs, writing code, and sometimes building shubox and thredded.

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