Sharp Learning Curve

Octopress

Months ago, OJ Reeves was telling me bout Blogofile, a blog engine that generates static content from markdown. I tried to get a Blogofile rig setup and after about an hour or so of fiddling screamed something like “BLOGOFILE, Y U NO…” and gave up.

Then I noticed a tweet from Ben Scheirman saying he was moving to a new blog powered by Octopress. I clicked the link to see what it looked like and my eyes beheld the glory of a default template so graceful that I just had to have it…

Turns out Octopress is blog engine based on Jekyll that produces static content from markdown files and has a lot of nice plugins that are very easy to configure out of the box. The fact that it uses markdown pretty much has me sold. I’ve got a markdown mode for emacs installed and I’m in love.

Here’s the workflow as I’ve experienced it so far:

  • Create a new post, you can use rake scripts to make this trivial.
  • Generate the static content using ‘rake generate’.
  • Push the content to your github repository where you’ve set up github pages.

Upsides:

  • The default theme is beautiful.
  • Markdown is awesome.
  • Your blog is in source control.
  • It’s dead simple.
  • It’s the cleanest markup I’ve ever seen coming from a blog engine.
  • It’s really easy to customize.

Downsides:

  • No spell checker. I’m doomed, this whole post is probably gibberish.
  • It’s not a WYSIWYG. If you like those, you’ll loath this.
  • The Solarized color theme for code snippets makes me sad. (I think I can change the theme somehow…)
  • There are probably others but I don’t care about them.

Pull it down. It’s free and what-not. git clone git://github.com/imathis/octopress.git. Then checkout the docs at octopress.org, your eyes will thank you.

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