An Efficient Blogging Setup

Hello World

I never thought I would be a blogger. It seemed so narcissitic to me, but I have come across a lot of useful information or cool ideas on people’s blogs. With that in mind, this blog will have a technical orientation since I know that nobody cares that I took a trip to the zoo yesterday. To prove it, here is the technical setup of my blog.

Blog setup

I took some time to figure out what the best system would be for blogging, and came to the conclusion that a blog is static, so all the overhead of a creating static pages is kind of ridiculous when simple static pages suffice. There are two huge benefits with static content:

  • performance- I don’t have to worry about being dugg
  • security- a lot of attack vectors are removed if you are just serving static web pages.

Static blogs are a good idea. However, as far as I know there are no user-friendly static blogs. But a normal blog can make static pages, giving the best of both worlds at the cost of complexity. I have read that moveable type has good support for static pages.

Rassmalog

I couldn’t find any static blogging systems programmed in other languages I wanted to learn, so I looked at ones programmed in Ruby. I chose rassmalog because it has every feature I need, a small code base, active development, and is extremely well documented. Very similiar alternatives are hobix and rog. Blog posts are written using Textile syntax in your editor of choice. Hyperlinks and inserting variable information is done using eruby templating, and the system is configured with (human friendly) yaml. Commands are done through rake- to put out a new blog I just type

rake upload

To preview my entry in the browser while I write, I run (as suggested in the rassmalog documentation)

while true; do rake entry; sleep 1; done

And the new content will be there when I refresh my browser.

The only real problem with the static blog approach is comments. But I was already thinking about using an external commenting system, so I went with it. So comments on this blog are provided by disqus and require javascript. If you don’t have javascript, you can still e-mail me. There are some other commenting services, in particular intense debate seemed just as good, but I haven’t actually used that system.

Host Setup

I am using a fast web server from Russia called nginx that is faster and more leightweight than apache, and becoming popular for serving static content.

This is all hosted on slicehost where I have a virtual server with root access for $20/month

I was able to get a domain through a yahoo special for $3 for the year.

© Greg Weber. All original code snippets are placed in the public domain.
Written on Fri Jan 18 01:00:00 2008.
Tagged as blog, nginx, rassmalog, ruby, slicehost.
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