Some say that the journey is the reward, which is really true for my blog. The journey of building it has been one of my favourite parts of it.
As I explained in the “hello” series of posts, I got back to this blogging world lately. I wanted a personal space in which I could talk about several topics, ranging from my own view about some subjects to tech posts of several sorts, as well as explaining some of the things I am doing these days.
With that decided, I had to choose the base technology for the blogging platform. I wanted simplicity, minimalism and focus on content and, technology-wise, something attractive enough. Even something that I could (partially or totally) code myself would be pleasant. For one, doing it all by myself, using a web framework like Rails, was too much on my opinion. I also knew Wordpress, an excellent, versatile tool that I have used several times in the past (like Quipu’s blog), but that would have easily been an overkill. So I investigated and asked some friends, and I ended up settling with Jekyll, a simple framework based in Ruby, perfect for static blogs and websites.
Then it was the turn for choosing a template that would give some styling to the platform. I discussed it with my friend Hayk, our designer at Quipu and a talented musician, and he kindly offered to do it himself. I had a long conversation with him about what I wanted and whatnot, and he came back with a beautiful, minimal design a couple weeks later. He described it like this:
I wanted to make it feel like a senior developer website, with a confident introduction about him and his work. It is minimalistic but with a bit of character. There are no unnecessary elements, just two main topics: about Albert and his thoughts.
I had a platform and an awesome design: now it was the time for setting it up. I wanted for it to be state of the art, even if it was a really simple web application, so I applied the best development techniques I had been using professionally these last years. I follow the git flow, for instance: new posts, features and bugfixes are developed separately in branches, and then merged to master.
Speed was also a priority. Being static pages (compiled after each change), it was already pretty fast, but the assets were not. So I found out the Jekyll::Assets plugin for Jekyll, an awesome tool that I could make work together with special fonts needed by the blog & portfolio design, and helped me achieve incredible WPO results. Finally, I wanted painless deployment, so I went straight to Capistrano, and after some inspiration from here and here, I came up with a clean solution that deploys a new version within roughly 30 seconds to my personal VPS in Digital Ocean.