by Dorian Patterson on 2013-02-07 17:39 -05:00
This has been a long time coming, too long in fact, but here it is at last. Version 1.0.0 of Curly Hair Coder is now live!
I started with creating a simple landing page on Github Pages, writing straight HTML and CSS. This was fine when I had only a landing page, but as soon as I wanted to add page, I’d be repeating myself, copying and pasting, even if I was using abbreviations or snippets, it wouldn’t scale after a while.
Github Pages natively uses Jekyll. And if you need a quick page for you project or yourself, it’ll do the job, but there were a few issues I had, mainly around wanting use a different template engine.
I went through several other static site generators before settling on Middleman.
Octopress seemed really cool. It extended Jekyll and even had a deploy script for using Github (as the base project is not directly compatible). Ironically, I think part of the reason I originally passed was involved learning some Ruby code.
I tried out Nanoc I think originally on my Windows machine, which that in itself was amazing, as I’ve had problems running Ruby code on Windows in the past. It was really nice, but involved a few concepts that were hard to get my head around.
Moving from the Ruby world into the world of Node.js wasn’t really that hard, I’ve been messing around with various node apps in the past. This was the last generator I tried before settling on Middleman. I loved the whole plugin concept, but unfortunately I had usage issues with Docpad with regeneration that made development too much of chore. I’ll probably check out the project after a few weeks.
When I first looked at Middleman, I was a little wary since it was a Ruby app, and my previous experiences with Jekyll, Octopress, Nanoc weren’t glowing. But since then, I’ve developed patience and a little bit of knowledge, especially when it comes to things going wrong. So I gave it a shot. Read the documentation, saw that I supported a large slew of the features I was looking for thanks to the Tilt interface.
I started with a standard Middleman project. Did some basic tests. Added support for Slim. Then LiveReload so I could see my changes automatically. For blog articles (or posts or whatever you want to call them), I wanted to use Markdown, but there were several Markdown parsers to choose from. I went with Kramdown, as from cursory research, it was fast and supported the markup features I needed.
For styling the pages, I previously had used Stylus. I liked using it for its minimal syntax, but the original style syntax of Sass was almost as succinct. As and added bonus, I could use Compass. Originally I was planning on using CSS Sprites for the icons on my home page, but I also knew about icon fonts at the time. I thought I’d have to create my own custom font, but I rediscovered Font Awesome. Saved me a lot of time.
I choose three fonts Linux Libertine for the headings, Cabin for content text, and Source Code Pro for pre-formatted text and code. I’m still on the fence on Source Code Pro, but I don’t have any code examples to show off at the moment anyway. All the fonts were downloaded from Font Squirrel.
I decided to go with a very minimal theme in regards to layout and color. There are three colors: white for the background, black for text, and
50) for links. Blockquotes are the only element that have special styling: the background is off white/yellow, with a double white outline. The quote is surrounded by real double quotation marks that are blue, thanks to the handy
::after pseudo-elements. I’m pretty sure I didn’t use the select properly with the double colons, but I’m not sure if that really matters.
Just the beginning
There’s a lot left to do, because there are so many things I want to learn and try out. If you’re interested in what’s next, check out the public Trello board. Any questions or comments can be directed to me on Twitter – @imaginationac.