Jekyll blogging from iOS

I blog using Jekyll, a really nice static site generator. I wanted to see whether I could, with a minimum of apps and fuss, write posts on my iPad, and publish them up to my blog.

A text editor - Byword

After a bit of research, I found that Byword, a text/markdown editor with a load of keyboard shortcuts and a decent markdown preview, looked perfect for my blogging needs. This has direct publishing to WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Scriptogram blogs and Evernote built-in, but sadly not Jekyll/Git.

Jekyll uses YAML for it's metadata, but as I only use a title and overview snippet (as date is take from the filename), I'm able to type these by hand easily into Byword. Testing Byword as purely an editor, I was able to edit several draft blog posts in dropbox nicely, and preview them (in markdown preview form, not in my final site form) from within Byword.

an iOS Git Client - Working Copy

The second part of the puzzle was an iOS GIT client. There are several on the market, but Working Copy seemed to be the oldest and most full-featured. This has support for both Github and BitBucket, and a really nice diff tool and simple editor build in.

I was able to clone my blog repository, then open a copy of my post files in byword, by sharing direct from Working Copy. The only downside of this is that starting from Working Copy and sharing to Byword, you are editing a copy, which you then have to export/copy back to Working Copy.

Luckily Working Copy has support for treating itself as an iOS document location, so from within Byword you can go Open Other... > Locations > More... (setting Working Copy to be a location) then choose blog post markdown files directly from your git Working Copy repo within from inside Byword.

This has the advantage that you are not editing a copy of the file, you are editing the file itself! Edit and save as you would normally, and switch back to Working Copy when done, and you can see the blog post file there ready for commit with changes.

I then have a quick scan of the diff and commit up to the BitBucket master branch, and the aerobatic instance I have connected publishes out the post automatically (if you were using github pages the outcome would be the same - a commit triggers a publish).

Next steps

In conclusion, for a first step this is really heartening, as there's only two apps involved, with editing of a single file. This post was written using the above workflow, and I hope to write a lot more.

As part of National Blog Post Month (#NaBloPoMo) the spin off from the novel writing month that writers often partake in November, I thought I would try and write a few more quick and short posts for November - lets see how far I can go with this.

Next: Establishing a regular run

Previous: Useful Git commands for (code-savvy) designers

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