Octopress31 May 2013
For the uninitiated, Octopress is a static site generator which is written in Ruby, based on the Jekyll codebase, and closely allied with the git ecosystem. An Octopress blog is basically a folder of text files on your computer. You type some commands, and your blog is generated as a static html site that you can host wherever you want.
After you convert your blog from Wordpress to Octopress, it’s customary to write an excruciatingly detailed post explaining how (by an act of God) you got everything to work. I imagine that it’s straightforward to set up if your line of work means you already have the dependencies installed. I did not.
But the transition went much easier than I expected. The Octopress docs are great, and by constantly breaking it down step by step, I was able to get things up and running over about 6 or 8 hours. Noting that many of the following steps was preceded by 20 minutes of Googling, I:
- Exported my Wordpress database.
- Synced existing comments to Disqus in case I wanted to keep them.
- Installed Octopress.
- Installed any missing dependencies with Homebrew (highly recommend).
exitwpon my Wordpress database.
- Cleaned up a few errors and copied my posts to the Octopress _source folder.
- Copied my
wp-content/uploadsfolder into the source directory so I didn’t have to rewrite image links.
- Modified the deploy file to send to S3 using
- Generated and deployed the site.
- Created a Cloudfront distribution pointing at my S3 bucket.
- Created a cname alias at my registrar.
And that was pretty much it. You can find ten blog posts around the Internet detailing how to accomplish every one of those steps, so there’s no need for me to reinvent the wheel with more detail.
A static blog is not for everybody, but I really resonate with the philosophy. I found it incredibly liberating to see my blog as a folder of plain text files. Every blog post I’ve ever written right there, a click away from editing in Sublime Text or iA Writer. I also learned a lot in the process and will save quite a bit in hosting costs.
Aside from collapsing the sidebar and tightening up the horizontal dimensions to improve readability, I have decided to keep the default design for now. I plan to redesign it at some point, but I’m content to make this transition in stages.