If you were to build a weblog publishing system, would you start from scratch or build on an existing tool? There’s a healthy market for WordPress-powered hosting, for example, from WordPress.com itself to WP Engine. People know and trust these tools.
I was faced with this question for my microblogging platform. My requirements were pretty simple:
- The published site needed to be 100% static, so that I could host it anywhere.
- The template system needed to be widely used, so that I could draw on existing themes and provide customization for users later.
Jekyll looked like a great choice. I’m so happy with how well this has worked that I mention Jekyll in the marketing and footer of published sites. It’s a brand that can help give users confidence that this is built on something solid, and that if they need to migrate to self-hosted, there’s a path.
On top of Jekyll, I built a web interface for publishing and deleting posts, changing themes, and I added XML-RPC support so that you can use external blog editors like MarsEdit. Plus there’s a native iPhone app for posting.
All of this enables another feature that I’m very excited about: full mirroring to GitHub Pages. When you publish a microblog site, you can have it upload all the Markdown and HTML to a GitHub repository. This is a great way to export or mirror your content.
I think it’s a good foundation. Publishing is actually a small part of the overall microblog platform I’ve built, but it’s an important one. I can’t wait to share more and keep building features up around Jekyll.
I’m writing a short e-book about everything I’ve learned, and I’ll have news soon about early access to the platform. You should sign up on the announce mailing list before next week.
Conversation on Micro.blog