Jake Worth

Note: any code contained in this post is more than a year old. Please use at your own risk.

Why is your blog on Rails?

I've been asked this several times. With all the great alternatives such as Github pages and Jekyll, why choose to maintain a Rails application for blogging? Why go to the trouble?

It's a fair question. One I occasionally ask myself, usually after building a Middleman app. Now that I'm into Phoenix, the question looms even larger. Here's my answer, distilled from several emails and conversations.

Rails is My Business

I initially tried to capture my inspiration for this app while I was writing it, in this post. To summarize, 90% of my work is in Rails, and wanted my blog to be able to showcase my abilities.

Control

If I had to add thoughts since writing that post, I want total control over my blog. To be able to do weird queries on my posts that only a relational database can support. To be free to deploy it anywhere. I want a UI where I can update posts and projects without pushing any code. I want to be able to use any CSS framework, any JavaScript libraries, any analytics or tracking software, any monitoring software, that Rails supports. I want to add social integration that I can control. I'd imagine Github Pages supports some of these, but not all of them.

Anytime you are working with a proprietary framework, your options are limited to the features they choose to implement.

Github pages seem great. Go that route to get something on the internet. Having a development blog has changed the course of my career in many ways. I just happen to personally enjoy the challenge and freedom of doing it myself, from (relative) scratch.

Experimentation

These days, my blog is a playground. Anytime I have a third party integration, library, or gem release I want to try out in client production work, it goes in this blog first. I upgraded to the Rails 5 beta long before the official release— it's a useful tool that makes my professional work better.

Conclusion

I'd suggest any developer maintain a long-running side project like this blog. Spinning up one-off projects is a lot of fun. But the challenge of maintaining something long-term, over multiple major framework releases, is rewarding and educational.

Jul 4, 2016

← Writing Elixir Sigils :: My Hashrocket Blogroll →
Hi! I'm Jake Worth, a developer at Hashrocket, based in Chicago. I co-organize Vim Chicago. Read my blog, learn about my work, follow me on Twitter and Github, get in touch.