Building this Blog with Jekyll

Jekyll has crossed my path in the past, and I decided to start blogging again. Jekyll was my obvious choice. Wordpress would be my other option, but that requires a web server. I would rather just have a static site for now.

Tools I am Using

  1. Jekyll for blog generation
  2. Jekyll theme
  3. GitHub for source control
  4. Travis for CI
  5. html-proofer for checking links
  6. atom or vi for editing
  7. Google analytics for tracking
  8. Grammarly to help with my spelling

Jekyll

From here:

Transform your plain text into static websites and blogs.

It is called simple on their site, but there is a learning curve. If you are a gearhead developer that like CLI, the Jekyll is amazing. If you are a marketing department, use Wordpress.

The _config.yml configures Jekyll, and some tweaks that took a bit to figure out:

# setup the link structure generated
# this requires categories and title set in your pages
permalink: /:categories/:title/
# exclude files from being published to your site
exclude: ['README.md', 'Gemfile.lock', 'Gemfile', 'vendor', 'Rakefile']

Here is a link to my current configuration.

Jekyll Theme

jekyllthemes.org has a ton of free themes. My wife did not like the colors for a solarized theme but did like monochrome. Clean, simple layout. I have some issues with CSS for code line numbers which I am not able to work out yet, and I made some tweaks for tables.

Github

Do I have to write much about this? But using source control is a way of life for me. Using source control with Jekyll is trivial.

Travis for CI

Travis, CircleCI, and Jenkins are probably the chief tools in the ecosystem. kops, and a lot of the other projects I am a part of run Travis. Hence why I chose Travis. I started with the instructions here, but I modified my .travis.yml file.

language: ruby
rvm:
- 2.3.3
# Assume bundler is being used, therefore
# the `install` step will run `bundle install` by default.
script:
- bundle exec jekyll build
- bundle exec htmlproofer ./_site --assume-extension --check-html
env:
  global:
  - NOKOGIRI_USE_SYSTEM_LIBRARIES=true # speeds up installation of html-proofer
# route your build to the container-based infrastructure for a faster build
sudo: false

I do not have the automatic deployment of my blog yet. Travis can push the blog to an object store, but I have not worked it out fully yet.

html-proofer

This HTML tool is super nice! Check your links, and HTML validation. A spelling and grammar tool would be awesome.

You can run it locally. I got a weird error that the binary was missing when I tried to run it locally. Besides, why would I not use a container to run it?

docker run -v `pwd`/_site/:/_site 18fgsa/html-proofer /_site \
 --assume-extension --check-html

Editor

Not going to elaborate, but with Jekyll, you are editing markdown and YAML files. Pick your favorite editor and rock it! My choice is vi or atom.

Google Analytics

I will go into more details when I blog about my hosting solution, but I have used GA for years.

Grammarly

Grammarly helps me a TON. I am good at writing, but spelling and past tense are enemies! Grammarly is free for spelling and other checks, but checking for “past tense” requires a subscription. I would like to figure out how to integrate Grammarly with atom or vi. Just googled online, and NADA.

Next Steps

chrislovecnm.com needed an internet home. I will cover that in another post.

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