I never intended creating a blog to be a development project unto itself. I want to be industrious and learn new skills, but for me writing is just about writing. My requirements were very simple:
- I want to easily insert syntax-highlighted code samples.
- I don’t want to spend more than five minutes learning the given details of any CMS.
I worked through every single CMS I could install through my cheap hosting provider. (I need to know that I’m going to write more than two posts before I spend more on serious hosting.) If something didn’t work right away I went to the next one. Finally I landed on Joomla. It still took more than five minutes to get something rudimentary set up, and longer to get it to show the right page titles and highlight my C# code. It worked, but both the admin and the actual site were painfully slow.
So I started searching for a better solution. I’m a .NET developer, so I’ve spent way too much time in Microsoft-centric development environments. But it turns out that to get the simple platform I want, I’m using an entirely new set of tools. Even if that takes a little work I’d rather gain that experience then spend more time playing with a CMS that far overshoots my needs.
To set this up I
- installed Ruby on my Surface Pro 3
- installed Jekyll, a static site generator - this is awesome!
- started writing content in Markdown using Brackets
What’s astounding to me was how easy it was, and that it Just Worked. I don’t know the first thing about Ruby, but it took no time at all to get this up and running. A few details weren’t immediately obvious, but it didn’t take hours of hair-pulling to make it work. (There were a few minutes where I struggled trying to figure out how to open the Jekyll editor before I realized that it isn’t an editor and doesn’t open a window. I didn’t feel too bright, but I did get it working!) I’ve never used Markdown, but it clearly wasn’t meant to be difficult.
Finally, this is exactly what I wanted! Now that I’m building a site with Ruby and Brackets I’m going to start dressing in black, drinking expensive coffee, and growing some unusual facial hair like a beard without a mustache.