Moving to Octopress

So the first thing you might notice if you’ve been here before is that the site looks vastly different from before. Previously I was running it on an instance of Ghost 0.4.1. The second thing you might notice is that the site is no longer hosted on kibayanse.com, but rather a vanity URL – terrancebrown.me

So why the change? I love trying out new tech and software and my blogging is no stranger to that. I’d tried out Octopress a month or two back and liked it. It’s simple and yet at the same time gives you a lot of power over customization without sacrificing speed. Since it’s a static site generator it also does all the data grinding before pushing your site up to the internet. This means you won’t have to worry about dealing with a database that might make your site less responsive.

There was nothing really wrong with using Ghost as my site’s backend but I did want to use a solution that was a bit more ‘mature’ in terms of features. Ghost hasn’t yet reached the point where I’d use it for a site that’s also looking to function as a portfolio of sorts. The fact that it doesn’t have proper static page support just yet as well as the lack of social sharing options meant that I felt it best to wait a while until it was more mature. In the meantime Octopress offers all this while still being lightweight and easy to deploy.

Specifics about my deployment:

  • I’m using GitHub to host the site. Since I’m looking for a host that will have near 100% uptime and is based on Jekyll GitHub was the perfect match.
  • I’m running the default theme with one or two slight modifications.
  • I’ve added a Twitter aside as well as a category list.
  • Despite being on the fence regarding whether or not to enable comments I’ve implemented Disqus throughout the site. I might revisit this at a later date depending on whether I get any sizable engagement via comments.
  • I’m using Piwik to track analytics for not just this site but all the other sites I own.

There are still some further changes I’d like to make once I get a chance:

  • I want to customize the theme a bit more so that the site doesn’t look like every other default Octopress install.
  • I might look at open source alternatives to Disqus if I find that it slows the site down.
  • I’d like to bring in a list of all the articles I’ve written for other publications.
  • I want to try to make the site more of portfolio site with a blog rather than just a straight up blog.

The final change was to swap over all the content from kibayanse.com to terrancebrown.me. The reasoning here was that since I want this site to act as the central hub for all my internet interactivity it was best to keep it at a domain that ‘represents’ me. kibyanse.com is just shifted over to my Tumblr blog where you can find all the random things I find around the web if that sort of thing interests you.

So there you have it, the reasoning for yet another change to my blog. Hopefully this will be the last major shake up to the site. Any further changes to the blogging platform will be far in the future once Ghost reaches the point where I’m comfortable using it to run a more robust and functional site.