Alecs' Blog Did you ever go clear..

Old Way In New Era -- MT to Jekyll

My old MT blog is hosted at linuxfire, which is very slow to access these days. MovableType is a good software. I love it and I think it's the best all-in-one blog suit and IMNSHO, way better than WordPress (WP). MT has all the stuff and features you need and works smoothly as you expected. In the same time, I'm a big fan of plain text and those simple-yet-power text tools. I like writing my blogs with my favorite editor. Years back ago, I even used the nanoblogger. It's a static blog generator written in pure shell scripts and commands. It's kinda slow, though.

Nowadays, as we're in a post-cgi and ajax-web-richer-than-ever era, it seems static generator is a new trend again. Web apps are more mature and flexible these days and it's way easier to hook up and glue 'em altogether. A static generator fits well -- It's fast while you can seamlessly integrate different applications.

Among many, Jekyll is a modern and great blog-aware static generator. github makes all pages automatically piped through it. Writing and updating blog works like a charm: vim && git commit -am 'update' && git push. One of other interesting alternatives is hyde, which is written in python and more feature-rich.

The first step is to convert MT entries to Markdown format. I used mt2jekyll to convert my exported MT backup. One thing to note is that, in my exported backup, there are bogus duplicate separators which will confuse the tool. So first use this strip script to clean up and then use mt2jekyll to do the conversion.

All entries have been successfully converted and the markdown files have been rendered by Jekyll without any problems -- in fact, very pretty. :-) But I have problems to convert the comments. So all old comments are not showing up as of this writing.

Next, I spent some time to choose a site to fork (style, template, etc.) from quite many candidates. Some are really cool but I just end up with the original one (source). It looks clean and nice. I just tweaked a bit to make it mimic the Safari 5 Reader Mode look-and-feel.

Then, to make it more like a real blog 2.0, I added comment system Disqus and some social icons via AddThis.

So this is it, as you can see, a simple and clean blog set up running on github powered by Jekyll. Missing features are nice-looking categories and archives, tags, searches. I might add them later as I get more familiar with Jekyll and its template system to make more customizations.

You can get all my changes from the src repo of this site. Once it's set up, everything else becomes darn smooth-easy. Hope I can write more and more often -- sometimes I was really too lazy to miss a lot of should-be-jotted-downs about cool stuff or after-thoughts, which makes me feel kinda regretted.

28 Oct 2010

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