Blog 2021 03 28 Same Blog, New Look!
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Same Blog, New Look!

Ever since I started this blog in 2012, I’ve been using Octopress to generate the pages and push to generated content to GitHub Pages for hosting. Octopress is a set of scripts and helpers built on top of Jekyll and provided a lot of convenience in the form of deployment helpers, themes and scripts.

Unfortunately, Octopress fell out of maintenance many years ago (2015?) and has been stagnating ever since. As a number of Octopress users have before me, I decided it was time to migrate the site back to vanilla Jekyll. I also wanted to refresh the look and feel as version I had was beginning to feel … dated:

I also wanted to continue managing the deployment client-side (as opposed to using automation via GitHub Actions).

In the event this helps anyone, here’s the process I followed.

Migration

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OLD_BLOG=/path/to/octopress/source

jekyll new blog
cd blog
bundle install

cp -R $OLD_BLOG/_posts/* _posts
cp -R $OLD_BLOG/images .

jekyll serve

Once copied over there will be some build failures when you try to run jekyll serve, such as:

  • Missing plugins in _plugins directory
  • Missing plugins in Gemfile

Instead of hunting down an alternate plugin, for most of my build failures the issue was resolved by converting Liquid Tags versions of img, blockquote, and others to the pure Markdown versions instead.

Look and Feel

I chose to use the Chirpy theme for Jekyll as I like the dark look and navigation layout.

Following the installation and configuration steps was straightforward, however the one gotcha I hit was with Jekyll Pagination. Because I had both an index.html and index.md file in the blog root, the paginator wouldn’t work until I deleted index.md.

Deployment

Since I use GitHub Pages to host my site I wanted to be able to switch back and forth between old and new layouts while testing. I’m quite happy with the Octopress approach of deploying using rake tasks, so I just copied over parts of the existing Rakefile as follows:

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require "rubygems"
require "bundler/setup"
require "stringex"

posts_dir       = "_posts"    # directory for blog files
new_post_ext    = "markdown"  # default new post file extension when using the new_post task
deploy_dir      = "_site"     # deploy directory (for Github pages deployment)
deploy_branch  = "master2"

# usage rake new_post[my-new-post] or rake new_post['my new post'] or rake new_post (defaults to "new-post")
desc "Begin a new post in /#{posts_dir}"
task :new_post, :title do |t, args|
  if args.title
    title = args.title
  else
    title = get_stdin("Enter a title for your post: ")
  end
  filename = "#{posts_dir}/#{Time.now.strftime('%Y-%m-%d')}-#{title.to_url}.#{new_post_ext}"
  if File.exist?(filename)
    abort("rake aborted!") if ask("#{filename} already exists. Do you want to overwrite?", ['y', 'n']) == 'n'
  end
  puts "Creating new post: #{filename}"
  open(filename, 'w') do |post|
    post.puts "---"
    post.puts "layout: post"
    post.puts "title: \"#{title.gsub(/&/,'&')}\""
    post.puts "date: #{Time.now.strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S %z')}"
    post.puts "comments: true"
    post.puts "categories: "
    post.puts "tags: "
    post.puts "---"
  end
end

desc "deploy public directory to github pages"
multitask :push do
  puts "## Deploying branch to Github Pages "
  puts "## Pulling any updates from Github Pages "
  cd "#{deploy_dir}" do
    Bundler.with_clean_env { system "git pull" }
  end
  cd "#{deploy_dir}" do
    system "git add -A"
    message = "Site updated at #{Time.now.utc}"
    puts "\n## Committing: #{message}"
    system "git commit -m \"#{message}\""
    puts "\n## Pushing generated #{deploy_dir} website"
    Bundler.with_clean_env { system "git push origin #{deploy_branch}" }
    puts "\n## Github Pages deploy complete"
  end
end

desc "Generate jekyll site"
task :generate do
  puts "## Generating Site with Jekyll"
  # system "compass compile --css-dir assets/css"
  system "jekyll build"
end

def get_stdin(message)
  print message
  STDIN.gets.chomp
end

def ask(message, valid_options)
  if valid_options
    answer = get_stdin("#{message} #{valid_options.to_s.gsub(/"/, '').gsub(/, /,'/')} ") while !valid_options.include?(answer)
  else
    answer = get_stdin(message)
  end
  answer
end

Since the _site directory where Jekyll generates content is in the .gitignore, we can initialize a new Git repo here:

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cd _site
git init .
git remote add git@github.com:alexbevi/alexbevi.github.com.git

Once this is set up we can then build the site and publish it to a dedicated branch in our GitHub repository (I used master2 in the above example):

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rake generate
rake push

After changing the GitHub Pages source branch in our repository in GitHub, the blog was now using the new layout.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.