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Welcome to my new Jekyll-powered blog!
2015-11-07 02:22:00 -0800
2015-09-29 14:44:20 -0700
jekyll drupal wordpress

Welcome to my re-developed blog!

My original blog, started in [April 2009][] is built on [Drupal, a PHP-based CMS][drupal]. Drupal was an obvious choice at the time, as I'd started using it for [projects at work][olnet]. (The Open University was and still is a heavy user of Drupal.) Building the blog gave me practice developing and configuring the platform. In six and a bit years, I've published [80 odd blog posts][80].

Photo of Stickle Tarn, Langdale, Lake District

However, recently I've not written as much, the design was looking tired, and I was way behind on security updates (no longer). My options looked like:

  1. A WordPress.com-hosted blog;
  2. Self-hosting a WordPress-based blog (yes, I like WordPress).

Option 1 is safer, while option 2 offers more scope for experimentation. However, neither necessarily appealed a lot, particularly as I now tend to write in Markdown, then convert when I publish.

I had come across Jekyll and [GitHub Pages][] via my recent work for [Open Media Player][]. Then I read Dave Cole's 2012 post on CMS-free websites.

His arguments and back-to-basics approach makes a lot of sense. I can't pretend that I need to think about performance for my blog too much(!), but who knows when a post might get a lot of traffic via Twitter and social media.

Some of the key benefits for me are:

  1. Security -- I don't need to think about patching the application layer (PHP + WordPress or whatever) -- there is none, and the hosting provider (GitHub pages) takes care of the server layer (OS + web server, etc.) and build tools (Ruby + Jekyll);
  2. Backup / archive -- content isn't locked away in a database; instead it's in Git (Markdown + YAML frontmatter creates a type of document-oriented database);
  3. I don't need to learn Ruby to use Jekyll (though I may later);
  4. I can experiment, focussing on front-end features. And, the code is in Git straight away (in Drupal I tended to add code to custom blocks -- bad, bad!)

My main area of concern is using third-party commenting tools, and any usability and accessibility implications (I hope to talk soon about why I looked at Disqus, but chose IntenseDebate for now).

I've been gradually [importing][] my [archive][], and I'm enjoying writing new posts.

Technology

Here is a quick rundown of some of the technologies and components:

[April 2009]: {% post_url 2009-04-16-the-rich-in-rss %} [drupal]: https://drupal.org/ [olnet]: http://olnet.org/ [80]: https://google.com/search?q=site%3Ahttp%3A//freear.org.uk/content "'About 82 results', says Google. (Not bad, huh? Not that I'm counting ...)" [GitHub Pages]: https://pages.github.com/ [Open Media Player]: http://iet-ou.github.io/open-media-player [importing]: https://github.com/nfreear/nfreear.github.io/issues/2 [archive]: https://github.com/nfreear/nfreear.github.io/blob/master/_posts/_blog.md "Analytics"