Err, I felt just like this when I recently followed an idea, that I had, down the rabbit hole only to discover that GitHub Pages have existed forever (since 2008 which is forever in terms of technology)…
Ok let’s start at the end…
Welcome to the new home of the Geaux Code blog… my channel for sharing musings & ideas on code, business, technology, photography, the list goes on and on…. but mostly about Code!
It’s based on the Beautiful Jekyll theme, running on GitHub Pages, using Cloudflare DNS, and supports really simple pseudo-CMS behavior via Prose.io.
Most importantly, it’s relatively painless – for a geek that is – to setup. It’s simple, functional, and efficient, and high performing!
So in summary, it’s amazing what we can accomplish these days with the combined power of open-source projects (thanks to all), and great services by great companies like Cloudflare & Microsoft (Github)!
Now, I do pay for the domain cajuncoding.com, but other than that I’m able to share with the world using best-of-breed technologies for Free!
It’s these kinds of generous & free services from great companies that enable folks like me to share our ideas! And, this positive spiral of sharing is what keeps propelling the pace of innovative software, solutions, and technology.
Side thought: I was talking to my wife about this recently and she shared that, as a Civil Engineer, she’s truly inspired by the community and culture of sharing that the world of Software Development and Open Source communities have become.
Anyhow, if you made it here then I truly hope that you have find something that I’ve shared to be useful, even if it’s to learn what not to do.
What was that rabbit hole?
Well, when trying to find a new place to blog & share I really didn’t want to have additional hosting expenses, and risks of performance of shared web servers, etc. Nor did I need anything fancy other than a static web site because I planned on using a modern front-end build setup, etc.
But, at the root of it all I was looking for something simple! Something that wouldn’t impede my desire to write and share. I didn’t need anymore friction for me to share than already exists after long work days of coding for clients!
So my mind quickly shifted away from the idea of managing an html site via Blob storage, etc. Managing a pure html site seemed like unnecessary work, and also violated core tenets I preach to my clients daily about keeping content separate from presentation…. but how could I do this more simply?
So then I started thinking about using a GitHub Wiki and Markdown… similar to how Atlassian Confluence helps us out with our clients… to focus on writing, and less on all the other overhead of sharing it out.
The concept of the GitHub commits using Markdown for content, into a simple site structure in a GitHub Wiki really resonated. Let GitHub provide the web serving/hosting, some minimal SEO, etc. I thought! Yeah, now we’re cookin’…
When researching that idea (and later learning of other limitations), I learned that GitHub hosts not only Repositories, but also websites for those Repositories. And offers a free website for each user account – yeah… we landed on the moon is exactly what I was thinking at this point!
So I jumped into the deep-end with these other awesome blogs (great info.) and Github’s own tutorials:
Ok, I’m Sold!
- Yes, I’d love to use a pre-made template (of which there are many minimal yet elegant options) like BeautifulJekyll
- A build process that’s already integrated into GitHub via Jekyll
- Reasonable separation of content from presentation via Markdown
- Super fast performance of a statically built site served from GitHub Pages.
- Really simple pseudo-CMS behavior via Prose.io.
- Your own domain name right out-of-the-box: cajuncoding.github.io
- Oh Snap! You can even use your own custom domain (Apex or Subdomain)???
- I’m already using the awesome DNS services from Cloudflare for enterprise performance and reliability!
But, I don’t want to repeat the same info. that the above sites provide… I will just say that the excellent Getting Started instructions provided by BeautifulJekyll are all you need to get up and running!
And in the next article, I’ll outline the practical learning from all this – the extremely simplified steps for setting up the custom domain with Cloudflare & GitHub Pages!