Move to Jekyll complete

Last night I finally pulled the trigger and moved my Ghost hosted blog to Jekyll. While the cost of running a managed blog was the most significant influence on the decision, there were other factors as well.

Easier writing

Ghost had been a promising idea when it started a few years back. A blog where the focus is on the act of writing. And it started well. The two-pane design with the plain text on the left and the rendered post on the right was great and allow you to see the post in real-time. In a recent change though, the Ghost decided that using a single pane with a WYSIWYG writing pane was more beneficial. The old two-pane environment was still there but just hidden away.

I’ve been looking to do more with my iPad Pro. I’m already using it for remote development work and a fair amount of writing, reading and listening. Unfortunately, a down-side of Ghost’s new writing pane made using the iPad Pro impossible. Characters were rendered twice with each keystroke, and I was unable to even copy and paste a blog post from another app such as Bear or Ulysses. In a recent update to Ghost this bug is fixed, but such a breaking change made me question why I was reliant on a product that prevented me from writing.

With Jekyll I can write anywhere with any app that I use daily. I can even write the post straight into my GitHub repo through my browser and save the changes which will automatically publish to my blog. The only thing that will stop me writing and publishing is whether I’ll have a connection to the Internet and in this day and age, that’s becoming such a rarity.

More control

With a move to Jekyll, I’m also able to make changes to the layout of my blog in a much easier way than if I was using Ghost. With Ghost, you need a local working environment first to make your theme changes. Setting up a local environment is reasonably straightforward, but keeping it up and running is not as simple as Jekyll. With just a single command I can have my blog up and running on my browser, and I can make any changes I need to the layout. There’s a small number of dependencies to getting my blog running, and it only requires some flat files for content.

I’ve also got more control over the photos I use on my blog and where I host them. I can either include the images in my blog directly or upload them to another hosting service like Amazon S3 where they’re still in their original format and I can export them if I need too.

Tried and trusted

My days of being wowed by-products such as Ghost are probably over. Tried and trusted products that are simple to manage and let you own your data are two significant factors for me. Ghost looked to be simple, to begin with, but even now there’s still a large number of features that many other bloggers take for granted from their chosen CMS. I’ve tried Jekyll in the past, and now I wonder why I didn’t stick with it.

Data is always a significant factor with me. The export facility of Ghost is excellent, and they were able to allow me to download all the images for my blog through a separate link as well, but I don’t think that’s enough. A single zip file containing all data including images would make things so much easier.

Manton Reece has an idea for this, and it looks promising, but getting the more prominent companies to adopt this is another matter.

With Jekyll though, I can always trust in the fact that my data is there in the purest form needed and that’s in plain text files.

Important things

Michael Wade provides another gem of being productive.

One important thing today, that will put this day far ahead of days when you hoped to achieve much but scattered your focus on trivial matters.

If You Do … by Michael Wade

Me? I’m just looking to complete that one important thing a day.

The return of the subscribe button

The subscribe button used to be everywhere on the Internet. It’s about time it made a return

Every blog should have a Subscribe button. In an open ecosystem this is a problem, a problem that silos don’t have. Which is the advantage Twitter (a silo) has over the open web.

Scripting news

A Wishlist for Micro.blog

Micro.blog has been getting some great updates over the last couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to seeing more improvements to come. In using Micro.blog to migrate some content from another blog, I’ve been compiling a list of features I would like to see added.

Optional cross-posting to social media

One thing that puts me off post to Micro.blog more frequently is that I have my account linked to Twitter so that it syndicates my posts to Twitter. Lately though I’ve felt that I don’t want everything to be published to Twitter, but at the same time I don’t want to turn off the cross-posting to Twitter as every dollar helps keep Micro.blog going.

In the interests of being able to comfortably post more often though, I’ve disabled cross-posting to my Twitter account. If I want something to show on Twitter, I’ll post it there myself.

All this though leads to one thing I would love to see in Micro.blog and that’s the ability to opt-out (or in) to cross-posting with each post that I write. This is perhaps the biggest feature request of the three as it involves changes on the web client and the two native clients.

Posts searching

A couple of weeks I decided to import over 1700 posts from my Ghost blog to Micro.blog. The import went fine and after seeing the posts on my blog I was quite happy for everything to sit there. The only problem though is that the archive is difficult to navigate with such a large volume of posts. Most people might not have this amount of posts, but it would be nice to have a search feature on the posts page in the web client to allow people to find specific posts that they want to update.

Post length separation

Micro.blog allows two types of posts. Short posts that are 280 characters or less and longer posts that can have an optional title.

It would be great if these types of posts could be separated in the generated micro-blog site with class names in the CSS for each type of post. These same class names could be used in the custom CSS section of Micro.blog to to override the styling of posts depending on their length.

You don’t ask, you don’t get

Maybe these things are already being considered and maybe they’re not. I know Manton is always chiming in on his timeline and is very active on Micro.blog’s Slack channels as well. So this is me asking. So how about it @manton?

Weekly Digest

No digest last week due to a little problem with this blog after I imported 1700 posts to it. It’s all back up and running now though.

I migrated my freelancing website from Ghost to Jekyll and I’m very happy with the results. It includes a much better layout, searching and reduced hosting costs. I’ve been getting frustrated with a Ghost of late due to an issue in their new editor that prevents you from editing or creating new posts on an iPad. Ghost has its benefits but the updates are very few and far between. Next to get the migration treatment is my own personal site.

Glad to see Ethan out on the course this week. The weather has truly been against him when it comes to getting out but he took advantage of the good weather and managed to out on the course for his lesson this week. Even though the season hasn’t started, he is improving under the watchful eye of our club professional.

At home I finally finished Assasin’s Creed Origins. A great game and the change of environment did make it more playable. Towards the end it did feels like it was starting to drag, but they may be down to myself electing to play more of the side quests than was necessary. Back to Overwatch next week!

I also finished my first book of 2018, Persepolis Rising, the latest book in the The Expanse series. This book picks up 30 years after Babylon’s Ashes although judging from the behaviour of some of the crew of the Rocinante, it wasn’t always evident. Still a good read.

I think the Frontlines series might be a good read while I wait for the last two books in the The Expanse series.

Better writing fundamentals by Nicholas Bate.

Finally got my freelance website moved over from Ghost to Jekyll. 👍

More jagged thoughts from NB

A refreshing thought from Nicholas Bate.

We feel we need to add. In fact so often we need to simplify, to reduce, to let go of. We actually need to subtract.

Jagged Thoughts for Jagged Time, 272

Be nice if feed readers like Feedbin could detect similar headlines for the last couple of days and bunch them together. Yeah, I could follow less feeds as well, but where’s the fun in that!

I wasn’t aware of Monzo’s VC funding. However, I’m still closing my account now that their pre-paid card is shutting down.

I’ve been playing with Wordpress again over the last few days. So much more going for it than any other blogging platform I’ve used. Wonder if it’s time to move from Ghost to Wordpress?

Looks like I’ve for a few updates to do over the weekend. Bootstrap 4 is here!

Considering some blog changes

I’m considering a few changes in the way I blog.

Micro.blog for personal stuff, quotes, snippets, links and the like.

Ghost for longer posts on working, ideas, products and writing.

It should be noted that Micro.blog was the trigger for this whole thing. A streamlined way of publishing small or large updates and then syndicating them through to other social networks and blogs. Damn it’s good at that.

I’ve started to think that my Ghost blog should be more of a professional site than anything else. I think that’s what it’s lacking. Longer posts that I’ve taken the time to write.

Curtis McHale’s blog is a great example of a professional site used for such a purpose.

My blogging habits have changed. From posts that are a mix of personal and work on the one blog, to using two blogs for a mix of both. Now I’m seeing that one blog is more for personal stuff and the other is for things I’m working on and working towards. The work stuff, the professional stuff. The boundaries aren’t clear on this at the moment though, but I think they should be.

@patrickrhone has a similar setup. A professional site and a personal micro-blog.

I’m 90% sold on the idea. The thought of moving more content around isn’t appealing though. It would be worth it in the end though. Right?

Inbox zero.

New updates to Faviconographer. Might give it another try.

Atom still trying to play catchup with the likes of Sublime Text. I can’t see it ever happening.

Yesterday’s two NFL games are what the playoffs area all about. High scoring games with plenty of action. 🏈

FastMail rule added to delete the almost daily emails I get from Cloudinary for their Heroku addon.