Apr 8, 2015
Building Static Sites with Node.js and Wintersmith
First, the bad news… I have found nothing comparable to Jekyll in terms of overall features, documentation and community. Now I don’t know every engine out there, but, so far, there’s nothing that even comes close to fully matching Jekyll.
The good news, however, is that I found Wintersmith to be a viable Jekyll replacement. It has a lot of the key features and is extensible. Plus, there are a reasonable amount of extensions out there for it already. On the other hand, the documentation is awful (let’s be honest) and the community is small. So, if you run into a problem, you’re stuck reviewing the source code. On the upside, I found the source code is pretty self-explanatory when I needed to rely on it.
Given the lack of a good getting started guide in the Wintersmith documentation, I wrote a two-part series for Sitepoint that walks you through the entire process of building a site. It follows the same exact format of my Jekyll guide covering everything from installation to templating, creating posts, custom metadata and custom data.
- Getting Started with Wintersmith: A Node.js-based Static Site Generator - Part 1
- Creating Posts, Custom Metadata, and Data in Wintersmith - Part 2
The source code for the example is part of my Static Site Samples GitHub project which also includes the aforementioned Jekyll sample as well as examples for Harp and Middleman.
Mar 24, 2015
A Guide to Building Static Sites with Jekyll
As I’ve posted about recently, I’ve been speaking a lot about comparing static site engines. There are a ton of options out there (389 as of today, according to this site). However, based on my personal experience, I always recommend Jekyll - granted, that’s based on having used 5 of the 389 so far.
I already have a GitHub project where I have built the same project multiple times with different engines as a means of comparison. The readme will guide you with installing and running each of these should you choose.
Now, if you wanted to learn how to use Jekyll using this sample, I have written a detailed guide to getting started with Jekyll for the Telerik Developer Network. It walks through the most common things you need to know about Liquid templating as well as how to create and build your Jekyll site.
I hope you enjoy it!
Mar 14, 2015
Can Web Audio be Useful?
Next month, I will be presenting at the Fluent Conference in San Francisco on the topic of “Practical Web Audio.” The idea here is that most every demo or presentation about web audio (including my own) have been fun and cool but not practical unless you build games or music software.
So, are there useful purposes for web audio in a standard web app? I wrote an article called Adding Audio to Web Apps that begins to explore some ideas. In almost every case, the demo uses very brief portions of audio to try to add context to some form of input. Notifications seemed obvious - but, admittedly, others are harder to make a strong case for except in very specific circumstances. These were just some of my initial ideas - I have a few others and some variations to the ones I showed already that I am working on.
Have you used web audio in your web app for something useful? If so, please share (and maybe I can even show it at Fluent).
Mar 4, 2015
Comparing Static Site Engines
On February 18, I had the pleasure of gaving a talk to the San Francisco HTML5 User Group. The topic was static site engines, covering the basics of what they are and what they are good for (or what they are not good for). The latter half of the session focused on comparing three popular static site engines: Jekyll, Middleman and Harp.
You can view the presentation below (I am also giving an updated version of this presentation at DevNexus in Atlanta later this month).
In order to compare the engines, I created a simple sample site, using data from the Adventure Time Wiki. The site is intentionally simple, but uses things like custom post attributes, custom global attributes, data and, of course, posts.
You can get the samples as well as the slide deck on GitHub. I am hoping to add additional samples in the coming weeks.
Jan 21, 2015
Patterns of Development
Patterns are something that you cannot view close up - a narrow view obscures the pattern. However, given distance and time, we can begin to make out the sequences that repeat. This is one of the few benefits of being old, which I am compared to many developers.
In this post, I am not talking about development patterns as in software design patterns (or anti-patterns), but rather patterns in attitudes and behavior among developers that change the way a large number of us approach our work.
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