Why Octopress?

Finally, the site is up and ready! Now, all that remains is for me to make all this effort worthwhile and start blogging regularly.

The experience of setting up this blog, however, taught me a lot of things. Not just the lessons required to setup Octopress or this particular theme (Greyshade) or the DNS, but …. oh, who am I kidding, that’s the set of things I gained out of this entire experience. But they are not really worth sharing, except probably the incident where I ended up with an infinite loop of URL redirection because of an error in configuring the DNS!

So, this post will be less about the hows, but whys! Why did I choose Octopress (and Greyshade) and why do I expect this to be a good choice? That’s the question I will focus on.

  1. Blogging right from my editor

    While this might not make much sense to a lot of people, it means a lot to some of us to be able to do most of the things from within our favorite editor. Being a vim fan myself, it gives me immense pleasure to be able to write this blog from the editor. The fools who’d argue that one could just copy the content from one’s editor for blogging doesn’t know the importance of formatting, hyperlinking, etc. in blogging. It becomes all the more important when you aim to write blogs that would tend to include code snippets. Like Latex, I could write most of the content first and worry about the formatting later. That brings me to the next point …

  2. Not having to worry about formatting

    I quite perfectly fit the stereotype of developers who lack any sense about the UI/UX. Many a times Vicky has laughed off at the interface I found ‘usable’. In such a case, it only makes it harder for me to imagine how the out put of my blog should look like. What Octopress (or most such tools) offer, like Latex, is that most of the formatting decisions are taken care of without asking me. For instance, I needn’t worry about the size of the heading or the color of the <a> tags. Should it look green on hover or yellow? I needn’t worry about that. While at the same time, I get the ability to tinker parts that I do need fixed or changed. This might be probably a good example of Paradox of Choice. I don’t have to think about making responsive UI, or the alignment of text or the margin-width, which saves me from making a lot of decisions and I feel less tense!

    Having tried some platforms prior to this, I know that most platforms don’t offer smooth writing/formatting tools. My experience with Blogger was quite troublesome when I kept running into issues with the blockquote tag and had to resolve it by looking into the HTML itself. Wordpress and Medium seemed to provide great formatting tools for general blogging, but none that had good support for technical blogs right out of the box. Sure, there are plugins and being a geek I could have found them, but it only convinces me that they were not made for technical content.

    Moreover, being a vim fan, I enjoy tools that focus on commands/instructions based on ‘typed commands’ rather than key combinations. vim’s support for markdown only makes it easier for me to be sure of getting what I expect.

  3. Writing in offline mode

    While this might be more of a perk that I expect to use over time, this is barely something I have required as of now. Since the setup doesn’t require a special server to interpret the content, I can preview and/or save a draft whenever I want. Only to deploy do I need access to the Internet. However, as I am connected most of the time, this might not be as useful.

Anyway, this is me just getting started with this platform and resuming blogging after a long time. Maybe I’d have a lot of changes to these initial thoughts, maybe not.