I’ve been thinking about getting into the habit of writing for a while now. I write code for a living and love the structure and discipline it takes to solve a problem in a way that is clear and (hopefully) concise enough that even a machine can understand it, but writing for humans is different. The problem space is larger, the optimal result is more elusive and the use of prose (in code) is largely discouraged (as it should be). I’ve never been one to keep a journal but it feels like the time to write just for the hell of it, and it should be dead simple to get everything online in a stress free way, right?
Personal projects like this one offer software engineers a perfect opportunity to try out new technologies, if you’re into that sort of thing (which I am). My goals were to write in markdown so I could focus on the content, add a custom domain, and manage it all using a git based workflow.
Static Site Generators (SSG)
After trying out a few of the more popular SSGs, I settled on Jekyll. I like the default configuration, the default theme and the directory structure is intuitive enough that I don’t have invest much time learning where things go. I can focus on what I want to say without tinkering with config files and css.
I purchased a domain, and was ready to point it at something. Github Pages made sense, since I was already using Jekyll and Github, and was almost as easy to setup up as my local installation of Jekyll. In the end I chose Netlify because it was just as easy as Pages was to set up, supports private Github repositories on a free plan, and supports a host of other SSGs out of the box. The first is important because I don’t want to have to think about my commits, and the second is important if I want to swap out my Jekyll in the future.
Easy does it.