Jason Dale Woodward

Switched From Hand-coding to Octopress

Today I’ve switched this site from a single page hand coded web site to a static-generated blog site based on Octopress. It is still hosted on Amazon S3. I’d always intended to move to something like Jekyll or Hyde so when I learned about Octopress I figured I’d take the plunge.

Octopress (hacker news thread) consists of the following components:

  • Jekyll static blog engine
  • Compass css authoring framework (built on Sass)
  • A complete, parameterizable, HTML5 and mobile-friendly template, ready to accept your posts and pages
  • A set of Rake tasks (command line tools) for adding posts and pages, and various other tasks
  • … all managed within a Git repository.

And I even liked the color.

I hadn’t ventured into the world of Jekyll or Compass or Sass before (but I knew I needed to). Turns out Octopress has done a great job of giving me a full-working-application boot camp tour of how the aforementioned pieces work together to form a modern web application. For me, standard documentation never seems to fill in all the gaps in understanding I have and I end up inferring the answers to those questions by dissecting working substantial applications. Octopress and its author have done me a great service on this count.

I have other priorities right now, so significant styling customization will have to wait, but I’ve already changed a few of the default settings, and even submitted a pull request for a change I made to make the sidebar customizable.

Feels good to be contributing to Free Software.