benjamin alexander smith

Migrating From Wordpress to Octopress

Having neglected my personal blog for almost 2 years and my personal website for closer to 4 years, I’ve made the decision to switch technology in the hope of revitalising my online presence.

The original and now defunct site was built in 2009 on a combination of PHP-based homebrew with hand-cranked XHTML and CSS. The blog that went with it was based on Wordpress with a custom theme tweaked to match the rest of the site design. I was quite happy with it in 2009, and maybe even in 2010, but in this modern age of client-side Javascipt, HTML 5 and SCSS it felt like time for a change.

In recent years, I’ve found myself more comfortable writing Markdown in vim than composing content in a fancy WYSWIG editor online. I use git during development of a myriad of projects at home and work; likewise Ruby. With this background, it felt natural to search for a solution based on these wonderful technologies.

Jekyll is a static site generator built on Ruby which offers good integration with Github. So far, so good - it satisfied a lot of my wishlist. Unfortunately it also left a lot to do.

Luckily it wasn’t long before I found Octopress, a Jekyll-based project with a blogging focus. Again, it’s Ruby-powered, Github-friendly, and Markdown-based. But it’s also almost ready to go right out-of-the-box. Perfect.

I’ve only recently ported my site to Octopress, but already I feel happier with the content generation workflow and the resulting website. Now I just hope that this enables me to produce interesting blog posts with a little more regularity.