As some of you may have already noticed or heard from our twitter we moved our blog from hosting on Posterous to geeky Octopress engine with hosting on GitHub.Pages. Octopress defines itself as a blogging framework for hackers. Today I’m gonna reveal some motivation and process details about this.
Main reason for the move was how posterous was working lately. In early days it seemed to be simple, fast and really easy and nice. But things change. During the time it became much slower, more cluttered with new features, all those spaces stuff and small but very annoying bugs (like forgetting authentification too often or not saving new articles somehow). Of course, this may be only our personal impression, but because of all these moments, we wanted to try something new. Also, I don’t believe that acquisition by Twitter will make some goodness for service as it usually happens. I’ll be glad to be wrong, but we’ll see.
Anyway, we made some research of other blog engines and platforms and, as we played with Jekyll and GitHub.Pages before, we decided to give a try to this geeky blog engine called Octopress. It seems very adequate for us as resulting pages are pure HTML, the process is held in Git and posts could be written in any text editor (at the moment I’m writing in Vim).
The process of local installation is described nicely on Octopress site. Personally, I used rbenv for managing ruby versions. Deployment process to GitHub.Pages has it’s own guide too. We decided to keep published site and source in the same repository. You can check it out in our GitHub account. It’s open, so you can easily check how we did it and even send us Pull Requests if you find any mistakes. The source goes into master and resulting static site to GH-pages respectively. May be it’s not the best decision. Especially I’m not sure about storing previous Octopress git history. But for the moment it’s just okay and working. Feel free to share your git setup and recommend us something.
Also, I want to say, that from the first glance Octopress seemed to me a bit overengineered, complicated in some way and cluttered. But it was in interesting exercise to cope with it. And in fact, many of the things in it are really useful.
Of course, we wanted to move all our previous posts and comments from posterous.
Script for posts export I found here. It relies on Posterous API, so you can tweak it and play with it nicely. Anyway, then we decided to reformat posts to markdown, correct some URLs (only some, in general, we tried not to do this). Also, some work were done to move images into Octopress.
Instructions on moving comments from Posterous to Disqus were found here. We exported comments to XML, corrected URLs to match our new ones and then imported the file into Disqus.
Two more important things to remember. If you use feedburner for your feed, you should set the setting in _config.yml and change the url in feedburner settings. Also, don’t forget to set Google Analytics tracking ID and delete it from posterous site.
At the moment we are very happy with our new setup for the blog. Even if we’ll be disappointed in Octopress, all our posts are available in a format perfectly good for Jekyll (in case we want even more simple setup). If anytime GitHub decides to drop Pages feature there would be no problem with deploying our blog to any other hosting or server. In the end, it’s just a bunch of static files. It’s fast, cheap and cool. There are still some issues that we need to fix in our blog, but in general, they are not so important as the content itself.