Blogging With Octopress

One thing I have been promising myself recently is more blogging, mainly about code and my renewed passion for it. I’ve also been looking to simplify as much as I can in my life, so, why not tackle both at the same time?

So, more blogging, simply.

Branching Out

I recently built my first commercial application in Ruby on Rails under the expert guiding hand of Steven Bristol from LessEverything. Using Rails, and more so Ruby has been a real eye opener to alternative ways to build, test and deploy to the web, and I have loved every minute of it.

So, resisting the temptation to re-invent the wheel and build my own blogging tool in Rails (and understanding that it is a very big hammer for some really small nails) I looked into some alternatives.

Start spreading the news

My initial research led me to Sinatra as a very suitable candidate. Lightweight, built in Ruby and some neat ways of avoiding the need for a database and lots of other unnecessary overhead. A section of a great book I read covered that very topic, so I was almost ready to dive into that when I found Octopress, “A blogging framework for hackers”.

An hour or two of research and then the discovery of this tweet was all I needed.

Deployment in 18 minutes

The time it took me to clone the repo, put some settings into a YAML file and deploy to this site was literally 18 minutes. That includes getting a local version of the site running (using the excellent Pow).

I know there is still lots to be done, and I have to re-route the DNS to make it all official, but come on, 18 minutes, and I barely have a ‘hacker’ badge.

Wrapped in tenticles

So here I am, writing a post using Markdown in MacVim, checking my work on localhost through a Rack server in a version controlled application which will serve my site through my account at Heroku.

It feels very liberating, and whilst it may not necessarily sound simple, it feels like exactly the right amount of tool for the job.

I’ll keep you posted.