The Static Site Generator Mambo

Spotlight on the middle of the stage.

Enter an awkward floating eye with gyrating shoulders. Jazz hands abound.


I've been running this site on Jekyll for three or four years now. It's been a gas, truly. I have bent my mind around some of the idosyncracies over the years and by all accounts, it appears like it has a bright future ahead of it. In fact, Octopress 3.0 looks to be around the bend, which should make Jekyll even easier to use for kooks like me.

That said, Ruby—the language Jekyll is written in—has been a friction point.1 I can understand snippets and have dedicated more than a few late nights poking my fingers in different pies to make Jekyll due my bidding with reasonable success. But I will never be a Ruby, and therefore a Jekyll, master. Together they are a ship that deserves a more worthy captain to take them into new and unknown waters. I am a mere garbage barge operator; my longing for the seas extends only as far as my gaze from the moorings of this dump.2


The crowd prepares themselves for what can only be described in peculiar dialects of languages that have become extinct because their native speakers had, well, terrible taste.


I have been playing around with different “social networks” lately like Ello and Tumblr to post different sorts of content. Each have neat-o interfaces that are well suited for their particular jobs that are, dare I say, fun to use. I'm not arguing for a backend to my static site generator, rather I realised that I have aspirations for new forms of content beyond the basic “blog post.” I'm not abandoning my blog, instead think of it as buying new furniture for this dumpy old place.

Here's what I’ve been thinking I need:

  1. Make it easier to start creating something. There are too many times in a week/month/whatever that I want to make something and forget that writing a post in Jekyll is a multistep process—that’s after I've cobbled together scripts and TextExpander snippets to help out.
  2. Create different boilerplates for different types of content beyond pages, posts and links. Think audio (no, not another podcast: no RSS, just a short snippet or thought), music embeds, videos, moodboards (all hail the grid!), etc. The more I have prepared for the more likely I am to experiment.
  3. Don’t worry about how polished everything turns out. Half the draw of something like Tumblr is that it looks terrib—raw. It looks raw and cool. Yes, that’s what I meant. (Besides, you don't do this for a living any more AND no one visits. You are just speaking to the wind, so as the British say, “Why not have a go?”)

So I don't have a solution. I haven't picked up a programming language or created something new. Instead, I have constructed a problem and written up a shopping list. Its high time I look for a new dance partner.


Shake, now shuffle left. Cha-cha-cha.

“It's all gravy when you've got moves like mine.”


  1. gem update to beachball-of-death, amirite? 

  2. The metaphors in this post are getting wild. 

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