Posted on May 04, 2012 tools

I have been writing a blog on and off for a few years now. During this time I have moved from several different blog engines and services to finally a setup that I think makes sense.

Text Files

My first blog was a set of text files that I maintained and manually converted to html files hosted on a server running from my bedroom in my parents basement. When I got to work in the mornings I would RDP to my machine at home and write my posts in notepad. Then I would copy and paste the content of the text file into an html template and copy the new file to my site.

MSN Spaces, Blogger, DasBlog

After about a month of that crazy setup I created a blog on MSN Spaces, then moved to Blogger. After a while I decided to switch to DasBlog hosted on a shared GoDaddy server. I ran DasBlog for a few years. It worked great with Windows Live Writer and make it really easy to create and publish new posts. To convert a thought to a written post sitting on the interwebs was quick and easy.


After a while I decided to spend some time converting my DasBlog to a wordpress blog. I think it was James who sparked the idea after a conversation we had, and some guidance that he offered.

Jekyll - Text Files (Again?)

Then came Jekyll. A static site generation tool. I began writing my posts in a format known as markdown and used jekyll to generate html files from my markdown posts.

I quickly fell in love with Jekyll because now I had an easy system for writing posts in the editor of my choice, and I could for the first time actually put my blog in version control. I no longer needed a backend database or heavy infrastructure to run my website.

Along came, Octopress. Octopress is an enhanced system of generating posts and deploying a site on top of Jekyll. I found that I still preferred working off jekyll because it’s a lighter weight system that I can control to my liking. However, if I were to start a new blog from scratch today, I think Octopress would be a good choice.

My Current Setup

Today, I host the source markdown files and jekyll project in a private FREE repository hosted on bitbucket, and I deploy the generated static site to a FREE GitHub account via GitHub pages.

The cost to host my site is $FREE.99. I use the free Google Apps plan to manage my email, calendar, docs etc. I pay my domain registrar to register my domain and host my DNS.

What about dynamic content?

What dynamic content?

I user sevices like WuFoo to manage a contact form for me, and UserVoice to collect feedback and suggestions. I ported the comments from my old posts from DasBlog into wordpress and now into Disqus. I use Google Analytics to track keywords and visits to my site.

It’s been a fun circle starting on text files, and coming write back to them.