The Making of COREYJA
Hey, thanks for checking out my blog! Got it all set up, so decided my first post should be a making of post showing how I put this blog together! If you want to jump right to the source, here is the github: github.com/coreyja/coreyja-blog.
There are some things I wanted whatever engine I picked to be able to support.
- Must support articles written in Markdown
- I really enjoy writing in Markdown, and that it translates to HTML
- Syntax Highlighting
- Markdown supports code blocks and I wanted them to be highlighted correctly
- Generate a Static Site
- I’ve run Wordpress blogs in the past, but I didn’t want to maintain a dynamically generated blog like that
- Written in Ruby, and using the ERB tempting engine
- Just a personal preference, but I enjoy being able to extend my tools and I’m currently working in Ruby and like the ERB syntax
With these requirements I found the
middleman (github.com/middleman/middleman) gem! And some extensions to it, including
middleman-blog (github.com/middleman/middleman-blog), and
Middleman describes itself as a static site generator, and is exactly what I was looking for. Coming from a Rails background I was right at home in the Middleman environment. Getting started was as easy as running the blog generator,
middleman init coreyja-blog --template=blog and editing some ERB files.
Middleman also provides a Rack compatible
config.ru file, which made developing using POW a breeze. Simply linked the project to POW, and was able to view the site locally and have changes appear when I reloaded. I didn’t enable live-reload, but there is an extension for that as well.
The design of this site was done by Phillip Inge at phillipthedesigner.com/. We worked together years ago as freelancers and I had him design me this blog when we were working together. I think it has definitely stood the test of time, and still looks great a few years later! I originally used the designs for django based Portfolio site that I made at the time, but I am going to be replacing that with this blog. I made some small tweaks to the designs this time around to make them responsive.
Syntax Highlighting was one of my requirements for this project. Setting it up with middleman-syntax was fairly simple, but I wanted to take it one step further! I realized that they were using Rogue under the hood, and themes could be defined in Ruby. So I made a Syntax Highlighting theme that fit the design and color scheme of this site. For the most part I based it off if the
Monokai theme, but changed the accent colors to better fit my color scheme. I am pretty happy with the results! It’s not something I’d want to use for my daily editor, but I think it looks pretty good on the site.
Since Middleman is a static site generator hosting is easier and cheaper! I simply upload the generated files to AWS S3 and configure it for a static site! This is, understandably, much cheaper than some of the Heroku personal projects I also run.