puppetverse, vagrant, jekyllfication

January 28th, 2013  |  Published in puppet  |  1 Comment

Hey, my colleague Max Martin at Puppet Labs had a piece about standing up a Linux dev environment in Puppet and Vagrant published at Linux.com today. It’s the first of a two-parter that provides a nice, practical Vagrant/Puppet walkthrough. I believe the plan for the next part is to include a github repo you can clone to get all the bits he covers in the tutorial. Once both parts are published, you won’t have any excuse not to give Vagrant a try. That’s another way in which 2013 is totally kicking 1985’s ass: No typing in those Compute! Gazette hex listings with the checksums at the end of each line.

Speaking of Vagrant, I cleaned up puppetverse a little today. There’s still some room for improvement, but my main goal was to get rid of the parts that were particular to my immediate needs (documenting hiera) and organize things a little better so that it’s clear which modules, manifests, and files are part of the Vagrant boot process, and which will be included by the puppet master once it’s up and running independent of Vagrant’s provisioning phase.


I’ve taken a stab at getting this blog moved over to Jekyll from WordPress three or four times in the past couple of years. Each time, something’s been not quite right.

Verdict: We live in a world of tradeoffs. I’ve tried three basic “export to Jekyll” approaches, and they’ve all had issues:

  1. The Jekyll + MySQL method pulls in the content pretty well, and posts keep their category. They lose their tags, though. I don’t think that’s necessarily a problem: My current template doesn’t even expose tags, and I can’t see much evidence Google has ever found many of the tag pages.

  2. The exitwp method ate some of my markup alive. Whole tables and spans vanished in just the first six or seven posts I reviewed after a migration. It’s a Python-based migration method, and I am not looking for a “get to know Python” project.

  3. The WordPress export to Jekyll plugin method never got past parse errors.

Do I blame myself for the problems I had with approaches 2 and 3? I might as well. I settled on Markdown some time after I started dot unplanned, and I didn’t always deal with Markdown’s limitations in a constructive fashion. Any parser written by a conscientious person unwilling to take responsibility for the universe of awful HTML people can come up with is in its rights to give up and sit down.

That said, all my recent posts look pretty close to correct when I use the Jekyll + MySQL migration method, so if I can bring myself to shed the tag metadata I wasn’t using anyhow …

… I’ll just need to decide if I really need to do this, or if it’s something I talked myself into wanting to do because it didn’t work very well the first time I tried it, triggering some weird nerd combat reflex that wouldn’t allow me to put the idea behind me until I knew I could make it work.

I mean … If you have a WordPress blog you know two things:

  1. It’s very popular, and so it is well supported for standard blogging purposes.

  2. It’s so popular that no matter what comes along to replace it in the next several years, should something that great come along, that thing will have to have very good WordPress migration support.

Jekyll, though? It’s critical to the docs toolchain I work with daily, but a lot of the personal use cases I’ve read seem to come down to git maximalism, WordPress performance concerns that are completely addressable by well established caching plugins, and security.

I totally hear the security concerns. I also hear an undercurrent of fascination with the deathless novelty of static site generators, and that’s fine, too. The question I’ve got to ask myself is what happens after I move to Jekyll. At that point, my content will live in a bunch of Markdown files. If I decide I’m tired of a git-based publishing workflow or whatever, it’ll probably be on me to write the scripts needed to get my stuff out. That doesn’t sound like a ton of fun now, and I wouldn’t trust the Me of Now to decide what’s going to be fun for the Me of Later Down the Road. After all, the Me of the Past played a shit-ton of World of Warcraft, and the Me of Now does not think that sounds interesting or fun at all.


  1. Rummaging Through the Basement :: dot unplanned says:

    February 3rd, 2013 at 5:42 pm (#)

    […] conjunction with a static site generator called genpage. So the other day? When I mentioned “the deathless novelty of static site generators?” That’s what I was thinking […]

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