So, I’m Blogging Again

So, I’m Blogging Again

I`m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend

Gene Autry & Ray Whitley, 1939

Am I the cowboy or the horse?

Inspired by the consistent efforts of some friends and an article at freeCodeCamp’s blog, I decided to start blogging again.

I’ve been using GitHub to organize most of my recent efforts and I figured that blogging with Jekyll and hosting for free with GitHub Pages would be an ideal solution. All I need to do is create a new project named blog, enable GitHub Pages, and start writing Markdown files. No PHP, no server, no database, no security or plugin updates… perfect, right?

It’s not that easy…

We highly recommend installing Jekyll to preview your site and help troubleshoot failed Jekyll builds.

They repeat this throughout GitHub’s documentation and they really mean it. There’s no easy way to set up a Jekyll blog on GitHub Pages without either setting up Jekyll locally or forking an existing Jekyll blog.

Jekyll is not officially supported for Windows. For more information, see “Jekyll on Windows” in the official Jekyll documentation.

I know, I know… I shouldn’t be using Windows. I used to be a devoted Linux user and I called myself an Open Source Software enthusiast. Well, I forgot. It’s a thing I’m not going to get into right now, but when I started to think again the computer in front of me had Windows on it. This is currently my only option.

I did the reading. This setup requires Jekyll on Ruby on Bash on Ubuntu on Windows and every step of the process comes with vague warnings about issues. Even if I manage to bypass any issues, I have to set up and maintain Ruby on Windows, learn how to use the Gem package manager, setup and maintain Bash on Ubuntu on Windows, learn YAML, and learn the Liquid Templating Engine.

Enough is enough! Damn GitHub Pages and Damn Jekyll! What happened to just writing my thoughts in markdown?! I’m busy learning more important things right now. I’m just about ready to throw in the towel and become dependent on WordPress again. One last try… I’ll look for a tutorial.

I found what I needed; An excellent article at Smashing Magazine entitled “Build A Blog With Jekyll And GitHub Pages” promises to tell me exactly how to set up my own blog with Jekyll and host it with GitHub Pages. That sounds perfect! It is just a little bit misleading, though. The article doesn’t actually tell me how to set up my own blog. It tells me how to fork the author’s blog boilerplate and change some variables to show my information instead of his.

You know what… I don’t care. It got the job done and now I have a Jekyll-driven blog. For now, I can post my thoughts and share them however I want to. When I decide to upgrade, either by learning and building Jekyll locally or by diving back into the WordPress ecosystem, I’ll have very little difficulty. My markdown files can very easily be copied over or imported into any system I choose.