Have you ever wondered how a blog is born? The story behind this blog begins with my interest in stepping back from the CMS world, primarily Drupal, to discover the joys of static site generation. The journey begins in earnest at the 2016 DLF Forum: Milwaukee on the eve of the United States’ 2016 national election, when all the buzz that wasn’t political, was about building static web sites, and Jekyll.

A few weeks after the DLF Forum this server was born, thanks to the my colleagues in the Grinnell College (GC) Libraries, and Grinnell’s Information Technology Services (ITS) department. JekyllDev was its name, and Jelkyll development was its intended purpose. Life and work quickly got in the way of interests, as they are apt to do, and JekyllDev subsequently sat idle for nearly 2 years. During that span my work offered opportunities to learn about ‘DevOps’ technologies like Ansible, Vagrant, Docker, and ultimately Docksal.

I was introduced to Docksal at a Drupal conference in the Fall of 2018, and immediately looked for ways to inform my local development work with it. About the same time there was renewed interest in creation of a static site associated with a project destined to appear in the Humanities and Social Studies Complex, the HSSC, at Grinnell College. I wondered if Docksal could help me, and others at GC, with development of a Jekyll site? It could, but along the way I discovered that Docksal already had a pre-built ‘template’ for spinning up development sites in Hugo. So I started to play with that…Hugo sites created using Docksal. It’s an absolutely awesome development workflow!

Using Docksal I was able to quickly spin up local copies of my work, including the blog you are reading now. But my workflow for pushing content to production was still lacking something. I wanted an efficient, Docker-based deployment strategy that would accommodate collaborative development and provide quick, automated builds. Fortunately, I stumbled upon the tremendous work of Juan Treminio, specifically his blog post titled Setting Up a Static Site with Hugo and Push to Deploy. It is exactly what I was looking for. ITS was kind enough to rename JekyllDev to something a bit more generic, namely static, and this server, static.grinnell.edu is the result.

My next post will attempt to chronicle the steps my associates and I took to complete the configuration of static.grinnell.edu, and ultimately to create this blog following Juan Treminio’s lead.