Laurence Andrews

Blogging with Jekyll

Moving my blog to use Jekyll and GitHub Pages was a really good move, it’s a great setup and it makes me happy that my precious blog is stored locally, is super simple but hosted properly too. It used to really stress me out that I might one day lose everything. The fact that it has version control as a result is a bonus too.

I have some frustrations with the setup, but some of these applied even when I was shelling out for Squarespace:

  1. Managing images for upload. This is a pain, I have to first find the images I want in Apple Photos, I then have to export them from Apple Photos, although granted some of this process works quite well because I can resize them, set them to be jpeg and add to the correct directory. Annoyingly though while I have the option to name based on album name Apple adds “1 of 1” rather than just “1” so I have to go and rename them, i remove the spaces here anyway. I don’t like having any EXIF data in the photos so I then have to run exiftool from terminal to strip everything. Not the worst process, but not the simplest. Perhaps some of this could be improved with Automator or another tool. The other frustrating part is that I have essentially just fixed the image size, which isn’t really ideal for web hosting. I’d rather publish the full resolution image and some other function figure out the optimum size/scale to deliver in the browser.

  2. Posting. I’m using Atom, which is a pretty good app. I have two frustrations with it, the first is that I can’t put posts into folders within the “_posts” folder because it breaks Jekyll, the result is that I have an enormous long list of posts in the left pane of Atom. Maybe this is something that can be changed in Jekyll’s code. The second is that I want to be able to just post, I don’t want to have to stage, commit, and push. I want one button. Maybe there is a way to be ignorant of Git’s process or even a simple script that I run that does those three things. The answer here is probably just to use a CMS tool like Forestry or Siteleaf, it’s just a little frustrating that they are both web apps rather than a local Mac app.

  3. Image Galleries. I have lots of pictures on the blog but I can’t see any of these unless I actually read the post where they are shared. I want a page that automatically updates with my most recent images, formatted in a consistent way (much like gallery of which link back to the post where the image was shared. I’d also love a way to share photos in albums on a page, where a particular trip has lots of pictures and perhaps I didn’t add all the pictures into the post. I think this plugin by ggreer should do what I’m thinking, but I need to invest some time in making it work right.

In short, why can’t everything just work the way I want for my very specific use case?