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Octopress - A blogging framework for hackers (octopress.org)
224 points by KarlFreeman on July 24, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 50 comments

Octopress is based on Jekyll, however, it is not exactly clear to me what it adds to Jekyll. Is it the extra plugins? Is it Rake-driven management?

Reading through the documentation quickly, it seems to add a lot of complexity compared to plain Jekyll.

A comparison with Jekyll sans Octopress would be appreciated!

Jeykll is a static generator which has simple support for blogging. If you get started with Jeykll, you still have to write all your own HTML, CSS, etc. Getting a Jekyll blog from just a generator to the point where it's something you'd be proud to post takes a good chunk of time and many developers don't want to deal with designing their blog.

Octopress is HTML, Sass, Javascript and a set of Rake tasks and plugins for Jekyll. It's a framework for the Jekyll blog generator. It has a 320 and up, responsive layout. Some plugins that make blogging easier.

Octopress isn't really any more complex than if someone set up a Jekyll blog for you and handed you the keys, but of course it's going to look complex when compared to a generator.

I'm using Jekyll, and it took me roughly 3 nights to get it all up and running. Now looking at Octopress, they've literally done a couple of things I did myself to Jekyll (new post rake task, uploading to production, etc. etc.) So if I'd start from scratch today, I would take a good look at Octopress indeed.

From whatI can tell from the git repository (https://github.com/imathis/octopress/), Octopress adds two major things to Jekyll: a bunch of automation (via the Rakefile) and a default theme.

Reading through the Rakefile, the automation actually looks pretty useful. For example, you can a new post with rake new_post["title here"] and Octopress will generate a properly named file for you with the correct yaml front matter.

I didn't look at what the default theme actually looks like, but looking through the code it appears to be useful in quickly getting a blog up. For example, it has a partial for integrating disqus comments out of the box.

The default theme is almost identical to the Octopress home page. The only differences are the color scheme and header logo.

This appears to be covered on the linked site itself:

Octopress is now based on mojombo/jekyll has been completely rewritten from the ground up with a mountain of goodies.

- A semantic HTML5 template

- A Mobile friendly responsive (320 and up) layout (rotate, or resize your browser and see)

- Built in 3rd party support for Twitter, Google Plus One, Disqus Comments, Pinboard, Delicious, and Google Analytics

- An easy deployment strategy using Github pages or Rsync

- Built in support for POW and Rack servers

- Easy theming with Compass and Sass

- A Beautiful Solarized syntax highlighting

So what makes it for hackers? The Github backend? Including a plugin for code by default? http://redraftable.com is a blog engine for hackers, other than the author won't release sources while the project is still immature.

The idea is that you can write your blog posts in your favorite coding editor instead of some web form. Some people find that easier - I certainly feel more at home in my editor.

Hell, if you were a real hacker, you would ssh to your server with vim or emacs, write the post in markdown or somesuch, and have your the blosxom-inspired clone you wrote yourself serve up the HTML.

The real reason it's "for hackers" is for marketing. That and improving its chances for a front-page mention here.

The real reason it's for hackers is that it uses Git and the command line to manage it. It may not be "hack-ery" enough for you, but it's certainly not software non-hackers are going to use.

The tagline has nothing to do with Hacker News, the fact that you would even say that is amusing.

"A blogging framework for hackers"

If it said "a blogging framework for writers" do you think it would even get mentioned at hackernews?

It seems like YABF, with the possible exception of pretty good support for code display.

Other threads here say it's basically Jekyll. I did some searches. It's not Jekyll. Jekyll has zero branding, it's just a github project.

Good taglines define a brand. This one's a good tagline. Good enough to get the front page here.

It's got nothing to do with HN, true, but "X blog engine for Hackers!!!11" grabs more eyeballs than "x blog engine"

Those damn marketers. Going after that HUGE hacker market again!!!

Funny and deserved an upvote, but in reality I bet hackers are more willing to invest in tools they find good. Still, it wouldn't describe the market size of course, but the worthiness of pursuing it.

That's the idea of Jekyll, which is what this is based on. Doesn't explain what makes this a "blogging framework for hackers" (other than their choice of using Jekyll).

Check out the plugins for sharing code http://octopress.org/docs/blogging/code This was obsessively designed with hackers in mind.

> The idea is that you can write your blog posts in your favorite coding editor instead of some web form.

What's so hard about using your own editor and when you're done, pasting your text in the web form?

That's how I always used Wordpress, but it's not exactly elegant. You always have to make little edits in a small textarea box. No syntax highlighting. Need to submit the entire article to save (instead of command-s). You lose your cursor position when you save (super-annoying with longer posts). Wordpress doesn't support markdown natively. etc.

Probably that it takes six pages of instructions to get it up and running.

Exactly why I prefer static pure HTML pages whenever it has a tiny chance of being good enough. That is for hackers in my book.

This is a static pure HTML page generator.

Everything is explained thoroughly but there are really only 3 steps, all on the first page http://octopress.org/docs/setup

1. Clone Octopress 2. Bundle install 3. Rake install

The reset of the documentation is about deploying, customizing, and updating.

I didn't knew about redradtable, it looks interesting, thanks for the link.

[Disclaimer: self advertisement follow ;-)]

I think that my own blogware fugitive[1] is by far more hacker-friendly than octopress. It only depends on git and it integrates completely in the normal git workflow by using hooks to generate static html from files. Also, the article files just contain their title (the first line of the file) and then the article itself. All the meta data are those from git: creation and modification dates, authors...

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2799246

Octopress is a framework for Jekyll, which — like most static site generators — was built for hackers. Octopress is a well designed starting point for Jekyll blogging.

It's built around Git, you have to fiddle with the command line to post stuff. Those two things alone make it Not For End Users, at the very least.

I guess it's supposed to be because you can post via the command line which, last time I checked, does not make you a hacker.

If you're looking for blogging software for hackers, look at http://wingolog.org/software/tekuti/.

From the page:

  Tekuti means "I'm telling you" in Oshiwambo.
  It is weblog software written in Scheme, using Git as its persistent store.
'Nuff said.

This is basically taking Stammy's tutorial and making it into a nice packaged framework: http://paulstamatiou.com/how-to-wordpress-to-jekyll

Good show.

I've been using Octopress for a few weeks now and really like it (I stumbled across it on github and started using the new version before it was released).

Static site generators are great, but you still have to do the design, which is a non-starter for a non-designer like myself. With Octopress I was able to get a great looking, Jekyll-powered blog up and rolling as easily as using Wordpress.

I'm still a lot more impressed with the Python spinoff of Jekyll. It's called Hyde (http://www.github.com/hyde/hyde) and in my opinion a LOT more functional. I do wish that the documentation was a tiny bit more complete though.

If I were going to make a new site based on Jekyll, I'd seriously consider Hyde instead.

I haven't tried Hyde, but I did switch to Blogofile (http://blogofile.com), another Python blog compiler, after trying Jekyll for a while.

The really nice thing that I personally like about Hyde is the fact that it is very component based. For example, it uses Jinja2 for templating. Which is extremely similar to Django templates. It really is a nice little setup that let's me do some neat things very easily. Very powerful.

Another thing I like is that Hyde will regen only the files needed to be regenerated. You can of course force a full regeneration of the site, but as your site grows (particularly blogs) the slower regeneration gets. This means that for simple things like adding a new post to the site can mean very quick regeneration.

Jekyll is certainly an inspiration, but it seems to be lagging behind in basic functionality of some other more interesting projects.

I guess they never heard of Tokyo Promenade. It's a blogging engine implemented in C99 with no external dependencies on top of Tokyo Cabinet.


Promenade don't have a lovely orange octopus. :D

Sad but true. Octopi can make or break a project.


All octopus jokes aside, thanks for pointing out The Changelog podcast. I had not heard of this one before and it looks like they cover a lot of great topics.

I found it via GitHub's "Explore" section which is also a gem.

This looks nice. :) Haven't had a chance to try it yet, but it looks very promising. I very recently built a jekyll blog, and while playing around with the CSS was fun and educational, my blog seems kind of shabby in comparison with wordpress blogs and the like, and I don't know if I'd be able to get my design skills up to the point where I'd be able to make my blog look that good.

The most surprising thing and biggest issue I can see right now is that there's "a" theme - I was expecting several. But I imagine that there will eventually be support for more (user-contributed) themes. I also like the syntax highlighting (I think pygments looks kind of ugly), although I'd also like to see more support for customizing the highlight appearance, like maybe removing the background.

I'm not quite sure what this offers over jekyll apart from a few more tags and a slightly more opinionated deployment strategy.

I was half expecting a combination of the wordpress admin panel + jekyll backend (kind of like gollum except for blogs). Now that would have been imPRESSive.

I feel like I've unleashed a monster by posting this, personally I quite like the opinionated install for Jekyll especially the code plugin / view. Will be using it for my next blog install

can someone summarize why I should move to this from Jekyll? The website is a bit unclear on that.

I don't think you should. It's the work you did when you setup Jekyll that Octopress now has out of the box.

If you're already using Jekyll, you might consider moving to Octopress if you like the design, plugins, or rake tasks. It's MIT licensed, so if you would rather just snag those and integrate them into your existing blog that's fine too.


There's no official affiliation with Github. I started thinking through the branding for Octopress in 2009 when it first came out. I was looking for a good mascot and around the same time David Lanham did his 'Bubble Bay' design for a firefox campaign http://davidlanham.com/art/bubblebay/

I started thinking that an Octopus would be a great mascot. They're intelligent, flexible, and have loads of personality. And I asked David to do the artwork for the logo.

The 'press' part was taken from Wordpress, but mainly because I really like how subtly different it is from Octopus.

Original jekyll is better.

Hackers should write code, not blogs.

And that code should be documented, right? A hacker-centric blog could be a good tool for that.

"TCP/IP won because we focused on writing the software, not the documentation" - Vint Cerf [1]

Hackers write code. If you write code and documentation, you're an engineer, good programmer, etc.

Think about what you are you saying when you're "hacking on some code" -- you are intentionally writing code that is bad, but cleverly bad enough to get the job done. "Thoroughly documented hacks" are about as nonsensical as F. Scott Fitzgerald exquisitely writing about how great it feels to take a piss.

[1] While I really want to get this confirmed from the man himself, this is unfortunately sourced from a twitter post and not entirely verifiable at the moment: http://twitter.com/#!/pcalcado/statuses/74071761897005056

I believe he meant that IP won over, say, X.25 because OSI stack was overcomplicated. In a same way SMTP (67-page RFC) won over X.400 (a huge book).

Hackers think, write code and then they may consider to document something about it. This is in contrast to engineers, who think, document then implement things.

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