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Random Talk on Random Thoughts

Moved to Octopress 3

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In short

Link for my new blog:

Motivation for giving up a large blog

As this blog grows, things have become increasingly harder to manage. The customizations, scripts and stylesheets are everywhere, within and outside the source folder. The CSS stylesheets for codeblocks and a Solarized theme were written or installed years ago. The Gist tag in Octopress doesn’t work as well as expected. It’s hard to see the highlighted area. Moreover, the range and mark in Octopress 2’s codeblock tag never works. As the purpose of this blog is to remind myself about the technical details of the code, the lack of such functionalities caused me a lot of inconveniences: while writing, after attaching the whole chuck of code, I need to specify the line number; while reading, after viewing the line number, I have to locate it in lines of code. In order to highlight part of the code, I’ve created some CSS classes (e.g. UBCli) and put it somewhere inside sass folder, I spent hours for test the rules and identified the important ! ones. This custom CSS class is fine in normal text, but it breaks in list items <li></li>. It’s time switch to Jekyll plugins written by full-time developers, such as jekyll-terminal. But then I need to install a plugin. Will it be compatible with the existing plugins/*.rb? Instead of spending even much more time on code written in a language that I don’t even understand, as a non-developer and a math student, I can choose another popular technology which is well-developped for posting math and program code.

The structure of an Octopress 3 blog repository is cleaner than that of Octopress 2 because Octopress 3 is a Ruby gem, which can be managed by bundle. This tool and Git work together to bring about an easier new feature test on the local repository for my blog.

What’s worse: due to the change of timezone last year, Google Webmasters has found over 70 crawl errors in this blog. Despite the Jekyll update to version 3, I couldn’t resolve this issue. I’ll manually fix each erroneous link later if I’ve time.

I tried hard migrating over 350 existing post in this blog to Octopress 3, but it’s too hard. First, jekyll build returned a plethora of syntax errors caused by the change in default markdown parser (from rdiscound to kramdown with GFM enabled). Second, some of the posts are about technologies that I’m no longer using now, so they aren’t worth the effort. Third, I found it extremely hard to set up the stylesheets and the Liquid templates dispersed in several separate folders (namely, sass/, _includes/, _templates/, _layouts stylesheets, javascripts), so that I can have the category list and RSS back. The sources for examples and documentations for Jekyll Liquid tags are few. I can’t even find a way to verify the example of the include tag on Shopify Liquid’s documentation. The result depends on so many factors, notably the installed version of Ruby (runtime environment and gems) and the machine’s operating system (for Windows, the wdm gem is needed). The whole process requires many commands and is certainly prone to human errors. After one week’s fruitless attempt. Being exhausted, I realised that I need to give up some nice features in the original blog, and move to the new one for a more manageable framework in order to save time.