Writing about Jekyll

I’m writing an article for TAB about my new blogging engine, Jekyll. I’ve taken most of the reliance on the command line out of dealing with Jekyll on a day to day basis, and instead have a few Automator workflows in the scripts menu in the Mac menubar. It’s a great setup, I’m really enjoying it. I’m sure there will be quite a bit of enhancement yet to come, but my initial workflow looks like this:

  1. Click “New Blog Post”
  2. Write the article
  3. Click “Run Jekyll”
  4. Make sure everything worked using the local webrick web server.
  5. Click “Kill Jekyll”
  6. Click “Sync Site”

Here’s what I’ve got so far in the automator workflows:

New Blog Post

First, I run the “Ask for Text” action to get the name of the post. Then, I run this script:

NAME=`echo $1 | sed s/\ /-/g`
USERNAME=`whoami`
POSTNAME=`date "+%Y-%m-%d"-$NAME`
POST_FQN=/Users/$USERNAME/Sites/_posts/$POSTNAME.markdown
touch $POST_FQN
echo "---" >> $POST_FQN
echo "layout: post" >> $POST_FQN
echo "title: $1" >> $POST_FQN
echo "---" >> $POST_FQN
/usr/bin/mate $POST_FQN

Run Jekyll

First, I run this script:

USERNAME=`whoami`
cd /Users/$USERNAME/Sites
/usr/bin/jekyll > /dev/null
/usr/bin/jekyll --server  > /dev/null 2>&1 &
/usr/local/bin/growlnotify --appIcon Automator Jekyll is Done -m 'And there was much rejoicing.'
echo "http://localhost:4000"

Followed by the “New Safari Document” Automator action. This runs Jekyll which converts the blog post I just wrote in markdown syntax to html, updates the site navigation, starts the local web server and opens the site in Safari to preview.

Kill Jekyll

Since I start the local server in the last step, I need to kill it in this step. This action does just that.

PID=`ps -eaf | grep "jekyll --server" | grep -v grep | awk '{ print $2 }'`
kill $PID
/usr/local/bin/growlnotify --appIcon Automator Jekyll is Dead -m 'Long Live Jekyll.'

This is entered in as a shell script action, and is the only action in this workflow.

Sync Site

Once I’m certain everything looks good, I run the final Automator action to upload the site:

cd /Users/USERNAME/Sites/_site/
rsync -avz -e ssh . USERNAME@jonathanbuys.com:/home/USERNAME/jonathanbuys.com/ > /dev/null
/usr/local/bin/growlnotify --appIcon Automator Site Sync Complete -m 'Check it out.'

This is also a single Automator action workflow. You’ll notice that I use Growl to notify me that the script is finished. This is also not really necessary, but it’s fun anyway.

Like I said, there’s a lot of improvement yet to go, but I think it’s a solid start. I’m at a point now where I’m tempted to start writing a Wordpress import feature, which seems to be the only major piece missing from the Jekyll puzzle. I’m not sure what this would take just yet, but I’ve got a few ideas. I haven’t tried uploading any images or media yet, but since everything is static, I assume it would just be a matter of placing the image in a /images folder and embedding it in html. So far, I’m having a lot of fun, and that’s what blogging is really all about.