New Year: New Blog


My previous "blog" was "written" with Hugo and hosted on Netlify. I use quotes because for the last two years it had no content at all so it wasn't much of anything. Today I was chatting at work with some folks about what blog platforms we use and I wanted to not feel like such a poser.

That preface out of the way, I've decided that a new year means a new blog and I'm resolving to write weekly about my various adventures and thoughts revolving around technology here. Hopefully 2020 is a better year in oh so many ways. "What is this new blog written in?" you ask. It's Hexo and it is running on Zeit Now.

Why did I chose those two? Despite my firey hate of all things JavaScript, it is a useful language to learn, the community around Hexo seems much more vibrant, and it's stupidly easy to use. As for my decision to use Zeit, it seems like if I want to jump into any squirrely experiments with different cloud platforms and serverless functions, Zeit is much more flexible than Netlify while still retaining the simple Github-based workflow that I like.

Given how much easier it should be to maintain and update this blog, I'm hoping it will be easy to keep that resolution to write here biweekly. 🤞

How I set this up on OSX

  1. Delete old empty blog commit
# nuke everything, boring git stuff
git rm -rf *
git commit -m 'Dump netlify and hugo'
git push origin master
  1. Install NodeJS and hexo
brew install nodejs # could also download the pkg or YOLO curl | bash
npm install hexo -g
  1. Use hexo init to make a new blog from the default template

Since I already had a git repo checked out, I had to use hexo init in a subdirectory and move it out.

hexo init blog
mv blog/* .
  1. Fiddle with _config.yml commit

Yet another YAML file in my life. Browsed through it and fiddled with settings like title, url, etc.

  1. Make the beginnings of this blog post commit

Created a new file source/_posts/ by calling hexo new 'New Year New Blog'. Filled it out with some pretty standard Markdown content.

  1. Add a theme and fiddle with it's settings commit

I was originally going to use git submodule to checkout my fork of the theme I found but then I remembered that submodules are terrible so I used git rebase -i to pave over that chapter of history, replaced it with a literal copy of my local checkout of my fork (minus the .git folder) and force pushed git push origin master -f over the evidence. 🔥📁🔥 I'll just pull down from upstream on my fork and copy over the files whenever I want to update or make changes.

In Hugo, themes can also have settings. So I fiddled around with those a bit. 🤷‍♂️ I just have to remember to copy the _config.yml hacking I did back over to my fork of the theme.

  1. Make this blog post :inceptiontop: commit

Checked out what it will look like locally with hexo server.

  1. Login to Zeit create a new project

I created a new project, filled it out with the details for my blog and linked it to my Github repo. I restricted the permissions to the small set of static sites that I deploy and not include the hundreds of work forks. It's pretty easy to update them again later, if you search for a repo but Zeit can't find the repo, Zeit offers a link to the app config on Github.

Once the repo was added, Zeit immediately began build it (I think it uses npm actions in package.json) and then deployed it to a temporary domain.

  1. Setup Zeit domain

I didn't want to have to deal with NameCheap and CloudFlare for this silly blog, so I ported DNS management over to Zeit on NameCheap. For some reason the bulk edit didn't like the single character subdomains on Zeit (for example, but the "Manage" screen was fine with it. 🤷‍♂️ Sounds like a fun bug for someone that isn't me to fix. DNS migrated super-quick and easy.

NameCheap DNS Setup Screenshot

I decided I wanted to add a screenshot, which required adding hexo-asset-link via npm i --save hexo-asset-link.

That's about it. Hopefully you've learned something from this overly verbose guide. 😅 Hello to all the crawlers and bots out there!