Marc Duiker

My experiences & thoughts about Azure, DevOps & personal programming projects.


Moving my blog - I <3 Github & Markdown

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Moved blog to Github, writing posts in markdown.

The blogging experience

Blogging should be hassle free. With my old blog platform, blogging was far from that.

Party this was due because I deviated from the built-in themes and I hacked something custom into it. I always needed to manipulate the html of a post because the paragraphs tags and white space were off… very annoying.

And when blogging gets tedious because of such things you blog less and less. It’s been almost a year since I posted anything, which is of course unacceptable ;).

Moved!

So, it was time for desperate measures and I decided to move my blog to Github.

Host: Github Pages

Github has a really great feature called Github Pages. Github Pages is primarily intended to create static websites for projects you have in Github repositories. It also allows a website per Github user or organisation (http://<username>.github.io). For my blog I decided to have a Github Pages user website.

Blog engine: Jekyll

The website is generated through Jekyll. This is a very straightforward static site generator built with Ruby and has good support for blogging.

Templates: Liquid

Don’t be fooled with the term ‘static site’. It certainly does not mean you have to write a full html page for each post. Jekyll uses the Liquid templating engine and with it you can break down an html page in reusable components (for head, header, footer, content etc).

I used Visual Studio Code to create the html components.

Content: Markdown

Now comes the part which I’m most content with (pun intended). Jekyll supports Markdown as the format for the blog posts. I so like this format because of it’s ease of use and minimalism.

Responsive design & style: Skeleton

Since I didn’t choose one of the default Github Pages templates the blog looked very 90’s with only a plain Times New Roman font. That needed to change but I do like a very minimalistic style.

My front-end skills are quite limited so I looked for a very simple responsive boilerplate framework to work with. I decided to go for Skeleton.

I <3 blogging again

Now the blog looks good again and writing posts has become much simpler and more fun for me.

My blogging workflow

  • I have a local (and up-to-date) repository of the remote marcduiker.github.io repo.
  • I copy the default blog post Markdown file and give it a proper name according to the Jekyll naming convention.
  • I start editing the content of blog post file using MarkdownPad2.
  • When I can’t finish the post in one go I save it in the _drafts folder.
  • When I finish the post I save it in the _posts folder. All markdown files in this folder will be publicly visible.
  • I commit & push the post (and relevant assets) to the remote repository.

And that’s all there is.

Note: I only use MarkdownPad2 for editing and previewing the blog post content. Because I’m not running Jekyll on my local machine I can’t see a fully rendered page before actually pushing it online. Since it’s so quick to make a change and seeing the rendered result online I’m fine with this approach.

Why do blogging like this

The workflow and tooling involved feel very natural if you’re a developer. I also like the idea of having my content in version control.

So if you’re a developer who is either not blogging or want to switch to another blogging platform really have a look at Github Pages.

Expect some new Sitecore related posts from me soon! :)

  • Github
  • markdown
  • Jekyll

Marc Duiker profile

Marc Duiker

Lead Consultant @ Xpirit

Twitter || LinkedIn || Github