I hate ruby or why I'm switching blogging platforms

I'm moving to a new blogging platform. I'm still going to use GitHub pages but after a few years of using Jekyll, I'm switching to Nikola.

I think I've got the move worked out but if you're reading this via an rss or atom reader, make sure to check back in a couple of days - you might have to re-subscribe.

Why am I switching?

Because I hate Ruby.

Ok, not really - I barely know the language. I was already a Python guy when Ruby came along and I didn't see any real added value to switching.

This isn't really about Ruby though, it's really about how that which we don't know is strange and frightening. In this case, the ruby ecosystem.

I started using Jekyll because that's what was supported by GitHub pages. It's fairly simple and it basically worked. It had a few warts, specifically, I've had problems getting org-mode blog posts to publish just the way I'd like and it's hard to debug when a post has some bad markup in it, but it got the job done.

Recently, though, I've had to re-install Jekyll a number of times and for me, that's been a nightmare.

One is supposed to just be able to sudo gem install jekyll.

Ok, so you need some packages installed:

sudo apt-get install ruby-dev

But I've got ruby 1.9 and I need ruby 2 point something. Ok:

sudo apt-get install ruby2.0 ruby2.0-dev

But that fails since we're still running 1.9. Every time I look for a solution I go down the ruby ecosystem rabbit hole.

All I want is Jekyll!!!!!!

Why can't I just pip install jekyll like I can do with Python packages!!!!!

In truth, there's nothing wrong with the ruby ecosystem, It's just something I'm not familiar with. I probably had to go through the same battles with Python it's just that I did them incrementally over time.

The truth is, setting up a development environment should be much easier. It used to be that I installed Linux, it had C installed and I just had to install make. Now it's all about tool chains, virtual environments, containers, and more.

I think this is what Roy was talking about when we traded tweets on using development environments in an Ide or in the cloud.

If it's hard for me to get an environment running, imagine some poor soul who just went through a "learn to code" web site and now has to figure out how to set up his or her own machine!!!!!!

I don't have a solution but at least it hasn't stopped me and others from trying new things.

Two of my CS blogging friends, Garth Flint and Alfred Thompson have in their own ways talked about this same issue. Garth, showing a bias towards VB yet still working to get his head around Python. Alfred shows the same disdain for Linux and the command line as I show towards Windows. All this leads to valuable learning experiences and discussions.

Personally, I'm also going through this battle as I continue to explore Clojure.

So, I'm going to finish the changeover to Nikola in the next day or two. Remember to check back in case the feeds aren't working.

Once I make the change, I'll talk about Jekyll vs Nikola as actual blogging platforms.