New site

Here I am again, with a new blog platform and site design. This time around, I have some interesting things to say about it. The reason for this particular rewrite was to unify my writing. Since I joined Icelab, I've published the bulk of my writing onto the blog over there. This is entirely my intention, since it all helps to raise awareness of the good work that we're doing, but it does leave my personal site looking rather unloved. Now I mave made it so all my posts are available in a single place, right here. Everything is available in snippet form on the home page, as well as in the archives and the feed. When you choose to read a particular article, you will be taken back to the Icelab site for the articles originating from there, while my personal articles you will see in full here.

This was all remarkably easy to achieve using the small but powerful toto Ruby blog engine. Eschewing the traditional database, Toto reads your articles from files on disk, and is happy to parse Markdown for you. Since we also use Markdown on the Icelab site, I can simply paste in copies of those articles verbatim, and toto is good to go. Then, if I add a url attribute to the article's metadata, Toto will link to that URL for viewing the article in full. For example:

title: Embrace the Metaclass and Extend Your ActiveModels
date: 2011-03-25 16:47:00
location: Canberra, Australia
url: http://icelab.com.au/articles/embrace-the-metaclass-and-extend-your-activemodels/

Part of the challenge in building [RentMonkey](http://rentmonkey.com.au/) is dealing with...

This is possible through one minor extension to toto:

module Toto
  class Article
    alias_method :local_path, :path
    def path
      self[:url] ? self[:url] : local_path
    end

    alias_method :local_url, :url
    def url
      self[:url] ? self[:url] : local_url
    end
  end
end

And that is all the Ruby hacking I had to do. Rather nice!

Also of interest is the new design. I'm using CSS media queries to create a responsive layout that works well at all window sizes and across different mobile devices. I'm also using Typekit to clothe the whole site in the lovely FF Tisa Web Pro web font. I'm also finally hosting this site on Heroku. The simple everything-is-in-git philosophy of Toto makes this a breeze. No comments here for now, but it's easy to contact me, and I'm always open to amending articles based on feedback.

The design is my own doing, so naturally it is minimal (and contains approximately two colours), but I hope it gives the words (and code samples) room to breathe. I now have a much more prominent sidebar than ever before, because I have more to tell you than ever before. You know about Decaf Sucks and Dispatch, right? Or that we're aiming to change the real-estate scene with RentMonkey? Hopefully my sidebar can do a little to help tell this story.

As for the rest of the story, now it's up to me to write it.