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Update: Search for New Programming Blog Platform

3 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Jun 28, 2014 4:01 PM by Landry Soules

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Bruce Eckel

Posts: 874
Nickname: beckel
Registered: Jun, 2003

Update: Search for New Programming Blog Platform (View in Weblogs)
Posted: Jun 26, 2014 8:44 PM
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Summary
I've continued my background task of finding a new home for programming articles. I'm not there yet, but I've made some progress.
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My first experiment (see previous Artima Post) was on Codrspace, which has numerous benefits (one of which is that it seems to be specifically for coding blogs). That's definitely a candidate, but I'm a bit uncertain about it because:

  1. The copyright on the Codrspace home page is "©2011 CodrSpace.com - 0.8 alpha - All Rights Reserved."
  2. I'm not quite sure where the posts are stored; you log in using your Github account so I was thinking that they might be stored there (there are systems that do use Github, apparently) but I could find no evidence of this.

After looking at this article, I decided to try Slivrback, but quickly discovered that it did not have keyboard shortcuts and also, while it claimed to use Markdown the first thing I tried didn't work (if you indent a block of text it treats it as a block of code). When the first thing doesn't work it has me reluctant to invest more time because I don't want to find out later that even more things don't work. Silvrback seems nice enough for non-programming blogs but it doesn't seem right for me.

The Silvrback experience got me looking in a different direction. Markdown seems to have become the first choice of text-based markup languages. In combination with this, static post generators are one way to go -- there even appear to be some that are generated by simply storing your markdown in your Dropbox or Github account.

Here's an article that looks at 5 static blog generators.

So maybe this is the right approach: write posts in Markdown, and use a static generator to generate and publish the post. For this to work, I need to not worry about the issues I had with Silvrback (no editing support and problems with some features). To solve that problem, it turns out that there are lots of Markdown editors available, so you can write your post locally and publish it when finished.

I've switched back from the Mac to Windows 8 (with no regrets), and I use Gizmo's Freeware Reviews a lot when I need a new tool. It's not really about "free," it's just that I have better luck finding tools through that site. And sure enough, they have a recommendation for a Markdown Editor for Windows (MarkdownPad) which looks very promising. It shows you what the results will look like in the right-hand pane, so you don't have the annoyance of switching windows in order to verify your layout. The very reasonable "pro" version ($15) also supports Github-Flavored Markdown which looks like it solves a number of important problems for coding-based blogs.

So this is my current thinking -- use MarkdownPad for writing and publish with a static blog generator -- perhaps even Github's own Pages?

Update: MarkdownPad is quite nice, and generates HTML so apparently no intermediate tools are needed -- so I'm not quite sure about the systems that require the intermediates, what they add or why they are needed.

Here's a summary of Markdown editors.

Here's a Markdown-based blogging system that runs completely on the client.


Franklin Chen

Posts: 7
Nickname: fmchen
Registered: Aug, 2003

Re: Update: Search for New Programming Blog Platform Posted: Jun 26, 2014 10:02 PM
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I currently use the static site generator Octopress for my (somewhat dormant, but about to be revived significantly later this summer) programming blog. I like that I can get syntax-highlighted code blocks easily. Unfortunately, Octopress 2.0 has been quite old for some time now, and Octopress 3 is supposed to come out at some point, and meanwhile, in my non-programming blog, where I also use Octopress, I've run into performance problems. I am considering switching to Hakyll, but this would require me to write custom Haskell code, which I don't mind except that I'm lazy and went with Octopress in the first place because it came with themes and plugins out of the box. But I suspect I will eventually bite the bullet, for performance.

Matej Cepl

Posts: 6
Nickname: mcepl
Registered: Jun, 2007

Re: Update: Search for New Programming Blog Platform Posted: Jun 27, 2014 5:28 AM
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a) As a Pythonista I would expect you to prefer reStructuredText :) Actually, I prefer it even for its merits … its syntax is richer and it is actually unified.

b) I think the point is to treat any blogging platform as just a throwaway presentation mechanism of documents on my harddrive pushed to the blog via something like https://bitbucket.org/livibetter/b.py (working in http://luther.ceplovi.cz/git/b.py.git/log/?h=metaweblog on the MetaWeblog support … patches welcome :)).

Matěj

Landry Soules

Posts: 1
Nickname: landry
Registered: Jun, 2014

Re: Update: Search for New Programming Blog Platform Posted: Jun 28, 2014 4:01 PM
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I used to run a Wordpress blog for several years, until I lost all my data in a server crash (ok, I'm the only one to blame for that: I never took the time to investigate in a good backup solution).

Now I've moved to a static blog generator and I'm more than happy with it!

I'm using Mynt (http://mynt.uhnomoli.com). It's written in Python, simple to use out of the box, simple to customize if you need to. Very important point: it uses the famous python library pygments for code highlighting. Now I write my articles in whatever text editor I can put my hands on, push them to my Bitbucket Git repository, and a Git hook makes my blog updates (I've described the detailed process here: http://www.spaceinvade.rs/2014/04/10/publish-mynt-blog-posts-via-git-hooks).

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