Adios Blogger. Hello Jekyll!

Ryan Sonnek bio photo By Ryan Sonnek Comment

It’s been a long time coming…

For a variety of reasons, both personal and professional, my blogging pasttime has pretty much come to a screeching halt.

With my recent job change, I’ve renewed my commitment to blog and now is a perfect opportunity to revisit my workflow and toolset.

Blogger is teh suck

Blogger has been my blog engine of choice for the past few years, but the thought of jumping back into blogging with the venerable Blogger system doesn’t excite me for a number of reasons…

First, I hate WSIWYG editors. I absolutely loathe and abhor them. As a writer, I need to focus on the content, and not be constantly fiddling with the markup generated. As a Ruby developer writing blog posts, code snippits are absolutely hell when you have to fight with a WSIWYG editor.

In the end, I have found it infinitely easier to just write my posts in Markdown and then export the generated HTML and dump them into Blogger’s HTML editor untouched. So, why not skip all of the run around and work with a blog engine that is Markdown compatible?

Enter Jekyll

Jekyll is a static website framework perfect for blog authors built by the awesome folks at Github and has caught on like wildfire with the development blogging community.

Jekyll is very developer friendly and includes all the tools you need to build a static site that feels like a mini-app (paritials, variables, etc). Liquid templates are going to take some time to get used to, but the basics are easy to grasp and there’s really no need to dig in much deeper.

Things I like:

  • Simple yet flexible
  • Full control - I own the HTML, CSS, and JS libraries and am not limited by a theme chooser.
  • Git integration - offline editing, commit, push, and your content is live!
  • No ads, banners, etc polluting my site!

The Mass Exodus

This isn’t the first blog migration I’ve done. I’ve had a blog now for over ten years going all the way back to when good old JRoller was the new hotness. I carried those posts along to Blogger, and they’ll stay with me as I transition to the next blog engine…

There are plenty of resources available for exporting Blogger posts to Jekyll, and it didn’t take much work to whip up a custom ruby script that did a great job migrating the HTML posts from Blogger into Jekyll format. I even took the extra step to convert the HTML posts into Markdown and I’m happy to say that it did a pretty great job and only required some minor manual tweaks to clean up afterwards.

Making the transition seamless was a breeze and only required me to tweak the Jekyll permalink URL to match the old Blogger URL structure, and then update the DNS entry to redirect my old domain over to the Github hosted site.

To Infinity and Beyond!

Now that the pain is over, it’s time to get back in high gear pushing out some new posts!