Ground Zero


Rebuilding my writing platform from the the ground up.

When I first came across Octopress I was completely sold. The “blogging for hackers” ethic seemed right up my street and came with all the existing features my Tumblr blog had but with the advantage of owning my own data. It also gave me an opportunity to learn the Markdown syntax and learn the ropes with Git and get social with Github.

It didn’t take long to install and setup deploy live to the brilliant Github Pages. I made a few blog posts but there were a few things that were bothering me about the process:

  • I’d ended up with the standard issue theme that said nothing about me or my design/build capabilities
  • The site is responsive (#RWD) by default but I had no input into the breakpoints or reflow
  • Octopress uses Jekyll to build the site but I’d learned nothing about it or how it works
  • When I came up against a problem I wasn’t sure whether Octopress or Jekyll was to blame

It was always my intention to customize the stylesheet at some point but when i got there, I wondered whether my time might be better spent addressing those aforementioned points, building something from the ground up, when and where I need it.

It’s important to me that I understand what the technology I use actually does, and that I’m capable of controlling it the way I want to.

Back when I first started using Sass I indented as much as I saw fit unknowingly bloating the code way out of proportion. By the time I’d realized what I’d done it was too late and it took me a god while to unpick my mistake. Lesson learned? Read The Manual Stupid!

I won’t lie, it’s going to a slow burn on the development of this site. There’s a few things I want to pick up on along the way:

  • Correct structuring using HTML5 elements
  • Inclusion of Microdata, Microformats and WAI-ARIA for better accessibility
  • Emphasis on progressive enhancement and performance

So in conclusion here’s a bare bones site for you; no stylesheet, no javascript, no jQuery, no images…

…well at least it’s responsive fluid.

Disclaimer: This is in no way an Octopress-bashing post. Octopress is a superb resource and got me up and running with a fully responsive and optimised blog in minutes. If that’s your requirements then Octopress is definitely worth checking out.

Like this post? Share it