Posted on June 30, 2012 in Administrivia
I have to say I'm finding it very easy to add functionality to the blog now that I've switched to jekyll. Jekyll generates static pages to implement your website rather than requiring a server-side database and code written in ruby, PHP or what have you. Since the web server doesn't have to run any code to generate your pages, it just serves up pre-built static files, its faster and puts less of a load on your server. The server load is a big deal when working with shared hosts. If all the shared accounts were serving up static pages, it would be much faster than running all that PHP or Ruby on Rails or Django code.
But because everything is statically generated, I can code the site, generate it and run it locally on my Macbook Pro to debug it. This process is so much faster than messing with Wordpress templates that I find myself constantly tweaking and changing things now. At one point in the past, I had set up a local instance of Wordpress, MySQL, PHP and Apache just to test drive things locally. But this is still faster and more enjoyable. I think its because I'm a developer. The process of editing the site, generating the site, debugging it locally and then deploying to the actual server is so much like the software development process... no, it is the software development process that we're all used to. This system works the way I think.
The site generation process is just like a software build process. There's a Rakefile (jekyll is a ruby gem) that has targets to generate the site, stand it up in a temporary local server for debugging, and even to automatically deploy it to your real server via ssh & rsync. Now some of that you have to build into the Rakefile yourself, such as the deployment target. But that's just another way you can automate the build system just like any other software development project.
All in all, I'm very satisfied with the jekyll experience. I think it will remove barriers to the frequency of my posting. And it will certainly cause me to continually tinker with the site. In fact, the site may never settle down into a stable, unchanging, "finished" state. And why should it?
Tagged in jekyll,, blogging,, "web, development"
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