Migrating to Pelican

Eric Gustafson


After a 2 year hiatus, I’m working towards writing more about work and technology. I gave Octopress a try, but in the end concluded that I wanted a Python_ solution. I evaluated a few packages: Hyde, Nikola, and Pelican. There were two other Python based static site generators that I did not look at, but should probably take a look at – both got positive mentions in the blogosphere: Acrylamid and mynt.

Why did I choose what I chose? Everyone has different motivations and I find understanding peoples motivations is more insightful than debating “what’s better” – to that end, here were my motivations and conclusions:

Static Site

My motivations are the standard and obvious. This is a simple site that I’m blogging to. I’m a software developer so I have greater mastery of emacs than Word as well as a hard time keeping files in a folder when there’s version control. GitHub has turned common development tool into a social movement and to that end GitHub Pages is an awesome advancement to the “state of the art” and a key aspect of the ‘social’ in Social Coding.


... why I chose Python


... why I’m giving reStructuredText a try (include a reference to the rst-cheetsheet)


... why I chose Pelican

Migration Process

So that I have a (reproducible) record of how I to where I am, the following is what I did to setup the site, including migrating the old, Octopress content.

1. Get up and running under Pelican

  1. Install Pelican from pip (use GitHub source)
  2. Port old articles from Markdown to reStructuredText
  3. Tweak basic configuration to align with existing GH-Pages site.

2. Move things under git and commit

  1. Clone a new copy of the GH repo.
  2. Create an archival branch and push the old source to it.
  3. Stomp the ‘source’ branch with the new, Pelican source.
  4. Generate the production site into a local directory.
  5. ?? use :code:ghp-import to commit to the ‘gh-pages’ branch.
  6. git-push from ‘gh-pages’ to the ‘master’ branch on GitHub.


Further exploration and refinement I’d like to undertake – in no particular order:

1. Cleanup blogroll

The blogroll and social links at the bottom of each page could use some tweaking.

2. Tweak the Theme

I used the example theme from the getting started by Smashing Magazine and it’s a pretty good starting point. There are certainly a few tweaks that may or may not be doable through the config. I’d also like to change the color scheme which I’m sure will require tweaking the theme.

3. (re)Theme

I’ve let my HTML / CSS skills dwindle; I don’t use them much, but being able to craft an HTML page for some evil purpose is a good skill for any software person to have in their back pocket. It looks like the Bootstrap project has gained a reasonable reputation in this space and creating a Bootstrap_ derived theme would certainly blow the dust off of my web page-ie skills.