Monolith149 Daily

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Octopress Blogging: How Its Going

Well, it’s been since 2013-06-08, a little less than 2 ½ years, since I moved my blogging platform and workflow to Markdown – Octopress – Github, with a Python program I wrote to handle most of the process. I guess I should also state explicitly that I’m actually writing in GNU Emacs.

For the most part I’m really happy with the workflow and tools but I still go through periods where I just don’t blog much. I often collect links and ideas but never sit down and write about them or even simply do the “tweet-length” post. There are a few barriers to my blogging and it seems to take something that pushes me over that wall to get me started again. Last year it was Gina Trapani writing about the 30 day blogging challenge that was going around. Today it’s Ihnatko’s mention of getting back into it with his rediscovery of MarsEdit which really simplified his workflow.

Here are the good parts

Writing in Emacs is great since that’s my preferred editor.

My program-driven workflow is quite effective. I just run “” with the proper arguments and it handles moving files around and running the right programs and tools.

I like having all of my content in Markdown. That was really one of the goals in the first place, to have my writing in transportable, somewhat long-living files that could be easily read even in their original format.

The blog looks great though it is quite monochromatic and may be due for an overhaul of some sort.

It’s important that I own and control all of my content. I’m not posting it on someone else’s blog site. Okay, granted, I am posting it on Github’s site but the Markdown source remains on my own computer under my control.

Then the worst parts

Right now my workflow is a three-phased affair.

  1. Write a post file in Markdown.
  2. Generate the content and publish it on my local server for review.
  3. Push to the public blog hosted on Github.

The writing part is great but the generate phase, especially given the current size of the blog what it is now with 154 posts including this one, takes around 50 seconds.

One way to mitigate this is to split off a separate, static archive blog with older posts. I think taking it up through 2014 and letting the “live” version begin with 2015 would do the trick. With a link to the old Archive on the main blog, it should be sort of seamless. This would affect searching some, though.

I have trouble writing the short posts since I have a tendcy to be verbose. I sit there, think more, and write more. Then I have to proof read the post, review the locally published version, go back and fix errors, even include links (which I now put at the bottom), and occasionally add a picture.

When posting a picture I check the rights and make sure that proper credit is given.

So all of that amounts to what I might set out to do in maybe 10 minutes becomes an hour and and half of blogging. Is that a bad thing? Maybe not, but it adds to the barrier.

Also, my blogging isn’t portable. If I’m not at home where the server is that I actually write the markdown on, then I can’t blog. Well, to be fair, of course I can write if I’m away from home but I can’t publish.

I could mitigate this if I moved the blogging onto a publicly accessible machine but then I have the problem of backing up the files, etc.

I’ve started using Dropbox a little bit for writing files (another blog post) and I suppose I could write my files there which would make them accessible from anywhere. Then, back on the ranch, I could do the publishing phase. After all, the blog is already public so having it there on Dropbox shouldn’t be that big a deal.

But then, writing a file in any place and pulling it in later isn’t that hard.

Next Steps

I’m at least going to look into splitting off the archive. I’ll start the split-off blog and then later on I can migrate more posts onto it. Maybe a good plact to split is a little more than a year back, say 1 ½ years?

I’ll think more about putting the files on Dropbox though I’m not sure there’s a big push to do this since I can always move the files into my source directory later if I’m away from home.