New site, again

So I have redone my site again. From the point of view of what you see when you look at the site, it really doesn’t look like I’ve done much at all. The design was slightly tweaked, but really, the site looks the same. So, what did I do? I transformed the backend and how I am creating this site. Previous to today, this was a Wordpress site, with all the PHP and MySQL that went along with that. I have to say that I don’t really hate Wordpress, but for me, it seemed to be a lot of work for very little return. I know CSS, I know HTML, I can code this stuff. So after reading Dave’s post about how he had gone ahead and changed his site to run off Jekyll and what was on the server was just a static site, I became intrigued and began to investigate what this would take.

Monday morning I sat down and had a frustrating hour of trying to get Jekyll running, but I emerged victorious with a running set up. I then proceeded to get my templates set up. This was so much easier than using Wordpress it was amazing. Plus, for the pages of the site that I don’t change very much, such as the About page or the Portfolio page, those became just static pages with it all in HTML and CSS. For me, this is easier and faster to maintain. For the blog pages, I extracted everything out of Wordpress and converted it all to Markdown using ExitWP. It worked really well. Although I have to admit, I did end up going over the posts by hand to make sure everything was rendering correctly and add in a variable to the YAML front matter for the excerpts. I feel like I have a lot more control over my site at this point. It is also faster, which is always a bonus.

My biggest concern was keeping my url structure and set up, which proved much easier than I thought it would. I’ve double and triple checked urls to make sure I haven’t broken anything. But please let me know if you see anything funny or broken. I also implemented an RSS feed solution and I hope I haven’t broken that either, but again, let me know if something is amiss.

There are still a few things left to do. I haven’t found a way to paginate my main journal page that I like. None of the plugins for Jekyll I’ve seen are quite what I want, but I’ll keep looking and thinking about it. Right now the page isn’t crazy, so I’m just leaving it as is. I also haven’t quite figured out how to do a deploy using rake. I’ve found lots of files on Github to implement, but admit to feeling quite dumb about this and unsure of how to actually put the file into practice. So I have that to get through. For now, I’m really happy with the way things are and I’m excited about using this system in the future. Plus when I go to make design changes in the future, I think this will be way easier.

I want to thank Dave so much, he was there cheering me on and super helpful over twitter. Our community is fantastic and this experience just proved it to me again.