08.26.12

Dr. Jekyll or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog

This post has been a long time coming. It’s easy to resist the urge to create and just curate the work of others. Scoble (among many others) has discussed at length about the benefits of curation over creation. That being said, he also has a blog.

My journey toward a personal website has come along in fits and starts, on Blogger, on Wordpress, on Tumblr, on Facebook, and even, perhaps, on Twitter. All accomplished the same basic goal; they quickly allowed me to upload my thoughts and share them on the Internet.

Fundamentally, however, there’s a difference between a personal website and an account on Blogger, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, or Wordpress. All hosted publishing media are bound to a set of rules, ones which, despite intense efforts by some valient individuals can only be bent, but not broken.

“But what about my Wordpress blog?!” the lady doth protest. But a blog post is just well-formatted HTML content. The first blogs were hand-coded html files linked to from an index page. Static content served up via a GET request. What I like about this stack is that the result is that same static HTML. Certainly, dynamic elements play a part, but because they are written in JavaScript, everything renders in the browser.

The biggest headache is that all of this technology is still very new. It is by no means designed for general public use given the amount of setup required to make posting effortless. I’ve got a solution for composing posts while on my iOS devices (ByWord->Dropbox->Goodreader(SFTP). Then I just use an SSH terminal to push the content back to github. We’ll see how much work actually gets done when I don’t have a hard keyboard.

The other neat part about using jekyll is that I can run multiple designs at once off the same content almost effortlessly. You can see my first effort at my main page and the octopress version I’m testing at chrisfnicholson.com/octocfn

Let me know what you think of my little experiment. As my favorite superhero liked to say, “I’m always online.”

Thanks to John Frisby and Freenode for helping me debug my first post.

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