I’m revamping my blog. As a reasonable first-topic, I figured I’d explain what choices I made for hosting/etc
How it started
I’d originally configured this website valbaca.com to point to my dev.to posts. My primary concern is it should be easy to write posts and have them automatically show up on this website. So I guess the first requirement was that it be super easy to start writing. I didn’t want to be mucking around with HTML (or ERB or any template langauge) when I’m just trying to get throughts out of my head. Markdown is fine. Actually it’s great.
So here’s what my old website stack was…roughly:
Why these? Mostly because dev.to had instructions on how to set it all up. The main challenge was getting DNS records working. That’s always a part of website setup that confounds me. Maybe I should read more zines from Julia Evans.
But somewhere or somehow along the way, the stackbit aspect broke.
Netlify builds of the site started failing out of nowhere. They gave errors like:
10:40:49 AM: fetching data for project from https://api.stackbit.com/pull/abc-my-stack-secret-123
The secret was coming from the ENV variables configured in Netlify, but I couldn’t find where it actually originally came from. I logged into stackbit but even though I had an account, everything was empty. No projects. Nothing under Accounts or Settings. Just a dead-end.
I decided to just abandon stackbit entirely. I wasn’t even sure what it was pulled in for anyway. I didn’t like this unknown complexity in my supposedly simple blog.
It’s not like I had many (any?) posts, so I decided to start from scratch. So now we’re going with:
I’d already pointed my domain at Netlify, so I simply deleted the website within Netlify (keeping the domain within Netlify) to the GitHub pages via DNS Records.
It took about an hour for the HTTPS to become available within GitHub, but otherwise, was a snap by following GitHub’s instructions
One thing I learned is that
@ means “the current domain” in DNS Record-speak.
However, Netlify is still an extra hop in the process and another account I don’t want to think about.
To finish it all up, I just needed to cut out Netlify altogether.
An Aside: After what’s been going on with Heroku, I’m just tired of having extra accounts and companies in what’s supposed to just be a super plain text blog.
Thankfully, this was also simple. Just repeated the GitHub’s instructions but on GoDaddy and now the stack is just:
Initially, I wasn’t super thrilled that GitHub uses a Ruby-powered site generator. That’s a personal bias because Ruby causes me nothing but headaches at work; in particular, nokogiri is a ruby gem I never want to hear about again.
However Jekyll has already impressed me with a clean style, simple and fast startup, and live-reloading.
I lost the dev.to integration, but honestly not torn-up over that loss. It’s a topic for another post, but I think dev.to has fallen into a “newb-friendly” trap. In an (admirable!) effort to be very beginner friendly, the content has fallen to the lowest-common denominator and the posts mostly lacking in any substance. Posts like “What
Someone just setting up their page for the first time should have a much simpler time, but I wanted to share my process of unwinding my overly complicated initial blog stack to what I have now.
- More meaty posts
- Musing about languages, especially:
- Getting back into Magic The Gathering, especially Commander
- Learning Guitar