First Hexo Post

So long Octopress, you've been a good friend, but I felt it's time to make the move.

Previously I used WordPress, then Octopress, now I'm using Hexo (unless you're reading this in the future, in which case it's highly likely it may something entirely different).

The Need For Change

So, why change? Similar to the reason I moved from WordPress to Octopress, my main goals, are simplicity and speed (both for the users viewing and myself for editing). There's a number of static site generates that have popped up over the past few years, at the time of writing there's a whooping 396 on

I'm not sure if I've got Octopress set up quite right, but each time I now go to write a new post it takes around 30-40 seconds to launch and another 30-40 seconds to see any changes that I make from a code change to seeing the change on the front-end. There's also quite a lot of markup going on and several improvements that I felt could improve the end result. Rather than going over trying to do this in Octopress I fancied trying out something new.

Luckily, some kind people have made this awesome site: This site was really useful, it shows different static site generators, along with how many stars each generator has on GitHub, along with pull requests, issues, a brief description and the language, template and license used.

I'm currently looking at improving my JavaScript skills, so Hexo immediately stood out as the language it uses is JavaScript, so this felt like a good move. In the end I actually tried around 20 different static generators. I did this super quick, I wanted to quickly get a feel for what felt right, something that I'd be able to get off the ground running and to use with the least hassle and continue to do so going forward.

Hexo again stood out, I was able to get a theme up and running super quick and everything felt super light weight and fast.

The documentation was also very clean and easy to follow, the only thing that did concern me slightly was that the author's own site is in Chinese and so are many of the issues on GitHub. So far this hasn't been an issue for me as everything has simply worked and the documentation is all available in English.

If / when I do get really stuck, this might be an issue but for now it's all good :)

One thing I did have on my previous blog were emojis and currently the plugin for this doesn't work with the current version of Hexo If anyone could help, or point me in the right direction on a fix for this, that would be great :wink:

The Sites They Are A-Changin'

As I'm writing this and building the site I've set up a handy Trello board. Please let me know if you'd like access to this, if you'd like to have a look. The goal was to get to a point where I'm happy enough with the site to launch it, then tidy up things going forward.

Something I've found really helpful when building sites recently is to build a style guide. The one for this site you can find here in all its glory: Style Guide

Creating a style guide like this I've found extremely helpful for a number of reasons. It helps to keep things consistent. I can quickly look over the different modules and assess if I actually need to create another module, or if I can re-use something I already have. It helps a lot with responsive design, rather than having to fly around the site looking for that one element that's only used in one scenario, everything is in one nice place and easy to find. There's many, many more reasons, but for now I'll keep this brief.

Brad Frost talks about Atomic Design, this is something I've been inspired by whilst putting together the style guide. For more information regarding that, I'd recommend following Brad on Twitter: @brad_frost and reading over his great blog posts. News on the grapevine, is, he's also writing a book.

Where Are We Going?

As I continue to look over the Trello board of things I've considered for the site update and things left to do, there's still a lot to crack on with, but I feel the site at it's current state is an improvement over what I have. So I'm going to look at launching and carry on adding to this post after launch.

I'd also greatly appreciate any feedback and hearing what other people think. So if you have any suggestions, comments or general queries, please let me know on Twitter: @s10wen


Houston We Are GO!

So! I've just launched, exciting and nerve wracking times. First off I tried to simply deploy over my initial Octopress install, but this didn't work. Next I tried renaming the existing repo, then another deploy, no juice. Finally I deleted the repo and tried another deploy. Whohoo, up and running at then I had to figure out how to add the CNAME, luckily it was a simple case of copying it from my Octopress repo, adding to the hexo source folder, a quick hexo generate (files generated in 1.54 s) followed by a hexo deploy back over to a quick click around and BOOM! Looks like I'm all up and running!


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