Moving to GitHub Pages

Posted by Norberto Herz on August 3, 2015

With this (not that) recent desires of writing at ourBit again, I realized that the tools provided by blogger by Google were not good enough or didn’t fulfill requirements that, in my opinion, should be provided by a blogging platform out of the box.

After researching other tools that could help me with this task (Wordpress, Joomla, etc), I concluded that non of these would meet my expectations by one reason or another. Basically, I am biased to think that the main reason is that, even though these are good platforms, all of them are targeted to a user not specialized enogh for using another kind of tools.

That’s how I remembered having used Jekyll and GitHub Pages in the past, for building some static page, and so I started evaluating it as an alternative.

Jekyll is definitively not providing better tools than the other platforms. It doesn’t count with a comments feature, it doesn’t create a new blog in minutes with its corresponding archives, one-click-apply templates, etc. What ends up being a priority here is the flexibility, which turns Jekyll into a candidate tool for developers (or other professionals with IT knowledge enough) to becoming their tailored blogging “platform”.

The ramp up time was about 1 hour (nothing more). In my case, I already had some experience so it was just a matter of revisiting some concepts, looking for some configuration details and start rolling. Well, almost. Once I had everything working, I started to think about the design. I didn’t want anything fancy but comfortable to read (and obviously, I wanted something that matches my personal tastes). Well, my design skills are close to null, hence, I decided to look for free templates (or themes) and adapt one of them. I ran into CleanBlog by David Miller to whom I give thanks for publishing this material. Adapting and applying it to the already running blog was a matter of minutes.

Why am I choosing Jekyll y GitHub Pages?

  • The possibility of counting with Open Source tools.
  • Ads-Free: This is free. No strings attached.
  • Flexibility and Extensibility: I can build plugins and tools on top of the platform.
  • Simplicity:Creating Posts is as simple as writing a text file and follow the GitHub worflow for publishing.
  • Capability of receiving Pull Requests: I’;’m interested on having readers suggesting fixes, or even having them publishing on this blog. I hope you send your Posts via Pull Requests
  • Markdown Support: This might be a personal taste, but I find very simple and convenient to write in Markdown instead of dealing with WYSIWYG editors that end failing when attempting to go beyond their capabilities
  • Code Highlight: Mandatory for a snippet containing blog
(function(msg) {
  alert(msg);
})("Welcome to the new OurBit");

These are just a few reasons. You should find yours. I suggest you to invest 1 hour in learning how to use it (maybe it won’t convince you as a Blogging tool, but it worth knowing how Jekyll and GitHub Pages works).

Here are some links for kicking off

Please, don’t hesitate to reach me if you have any doubt.