Ever so often an iOS developer asks me how to get started with making their own blog or portfolio website. Or, I’ll see a software developer from another community on Twitter ask the same thing. Often they are earlier in their career, or unfamiliar with web development, or unsure whether to build from scratch or use a platform, or all of the above. I find myself consistently making the same recommendations to folks. For this post, I want to share what I think is a great approach to get started, and how you can dive deeper once you master the basics.
Lately I’ve been upgrading and making improvements to my website and blog. As part of that work, I was updating and refining how my RSS feed gets generated with Jekyll. And then I realized something that I had not given much thought to previously. When including the full content of blog posts in an RSS feed, if you link to other posts or pages on your site should you be using absolute URLs or are relative URLs ok?
Part of the joy of having a ‘bare bones’ DIY host is that sometimes you have to figure shit out on your own. I am not a great web developer, nor a Ruby expert. But, I learn more each time something breaks — you know, Type II fun. Most recently, I came to understand and fix a new error on my web server:
env: ruby26: No such file or directory.
I’m not interested in being an advertising product for Google to exploit. I’m also not interested in the company’s unsavory practices, in general. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for over a year now, and I’m incredibly happy with it as a replacement for Google Search — not only for personal usage, but also for implementing a custom search component for this site.
This site used to be hosted via GitHub Pages, but I decided to move to a dedicated host to have more control over how I develop and deploy the site, and how it’s configured. A number of limitations and quirks eventually drove me to migrate away from GitHub pages to my excellent and inexpensive bare-bones host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net. I was also interested in learning to do all of this on my own, rather than relying on GitHub Pages “magic”. If you’re looking to setup your own Jekyll-powered site, or if you’re looking to migrate off of GitHub Pages, hopefully this is helpful.
XKCD’s posts on saving time and automation are precisely how this blog came to be. Until now, I never had the time or motivation to write on a regular basis, though I considered it often. I’ve been developing for iOS for a few years now and I’ve become increasingly involved in the Objective-C open-source community via GitHub and CocoaPods, and was lucky enough to attend (my first!) WWDC this year on its 25th anniversary. It was an awesome experience. With that said, I can’t think of a better time or better reason to begin writing about my experiences with iOS and Objective-C (and now Swift), as well as my involvement in open-source. I hope to share worthwhile and interesting things here.