Branching Out

Don’t be fooled. I still love Drupal.

However, a perfect storm hit me:

  • some recent discussions with folks about how the Drupal community can be rather insulated and myopic
  • my need for a new blog
  • a my desire to use Markdown and some iOS tools
  • was curious about static site generators
  • vacation time!

So I decided to branch out a bit and just play. What I’ve come up with so far is a combination of Byword, Dropbox, Hazel, Octopress, and rsync with SSH keys. It may be easiest to see the overview first …


*Update 2013-12-25: Of course this is already outdated, as I’ve switched to using Jekyll¬†directly instead of the Octopress wrapper around it. It’s largely the same, though. I’m going to play a bit, come up with some more automations, and then post a followup at some point the future after the dust from my playing settles down.*


 

BlogWorkflow

The basic workflow goes like this:

  1. I write a post in Markdown using Byword. I love the consistency of being able to use the same app on my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook Air.
  2. When I’m ready to publish I move the file from any of my devices into a specific folder on Dropbox.
  3. Dropbox syncs this file across all my machines and devices, which includes an old Mac mini I have running in my basement.
  4. The Mac mini has Hazel monitoring this specific folder that has been synced. When Hazel sees a new file (or change to an existing file), it runs the Octopress scripts to regenerate the site and rsync it to my server.

refresh_blog

Now, in order for this to all be seamless I also needed a way to host and reference images (like the diagram in this post) easily. My solution follows a similar, albeit simpler, approach:

  1. I set up a subdomain just for images (images.nateofnine.com)
  2. I set up another Dropbox folder for images and another Hazel rule to watch it
  3. When Hazel notices a new file it files the image away into a date-based subfolder then runs rsync with the server to sync the image up.

upload_image

Because I know the file path is predictable i also set up a TextExpander snippet to create the URL to the image so i could more easily put it in my markdown

There you have it; a flexible, lightweight, fast, secure blogging platform that lets me edit in whatever app I’d like. Of course, as soon as I finished it I thought of 15 more things I can do to enhance it!

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