On Getting Back on the Horse

Time to get off my arse and blog again

18 Nov 2017

If you don’t keep doing something regularly then you will not do it regularly and soon that new habit will add up to weeks, months and even years. I was so motivated to start this blog back in late 2014, and I kept it up for a while, but I didn’t force myself to stick at it and soon it became an afterthought. Then boom … two years pass since my last post. Life is a succession of habits. It’s hard to develop good habits and it’s so easy to fall into bad habits.

When you recognize a bad habit though - or the absence of a good habit that you should have - that’s the first step to changing it. And so … let’s try to change. Let’s give this blog a new lease of life. I am recommitting to this and will endeavor to write posts regularly starting today.

A good way to get started with something is to change your environment, and so with this site. I was hosting this on a WordPress instance with Go Daddy but I was never happy with that experience and the site’s presentation. I don’t know exactly how the WordPress instance was hosted but the site was slow to load on the first request and wasn’t especially responsive thereafter. That suggests some kind of virtualization with minimal resources.

An old colleague of mine keeps a blog and it was a post there that introduced me to a tool called Jekyll which allows you to statically build a blog site from a bunch of markdown files. I checked that out, liked what I saw and also learnt that Jekyll is natively supported by GitHub via a facility they offer called GitHub Pages. You can maintain a repo at GitHub that contains a Jekyll project and GitHub will automatically build and publish the site as you check in changes to your repo. This works pretty well and is the new home of this little corner of the Internet.

As part of the move I’ve broken away from WordPress and its stock themes and I’ve taken it upon myself to own all the HTML, CSS and site design myself. This is something that I have dabbled with before but never used in earnest. I’ve learnt a lot as a result and those learnings will become a post at some point soon. The site design will evolve I’m sure but the great thing about Jekyll is that the source for the site builds to static files that can then be served up with minimal overhead from the web server environment. As such, the site is very snappy to load and use.

So here we are, back on the horse. Now I just need to learn how to ride this damn thing. I pull on the tail and it goes right?