Moving from WordPress to Jekyll & Amazon S3 – A Progress Report

I'm only a budding developer, so my experience with getting Jekyll up and running on Amazon S3 has been frustrating. I've learned a lot, but I've also spent a lot of time reading documentation, searching for solutions, scrapping full installations and starting all over again. I thought I'd record the tasks/processes that worked in case it helps someone else.

Let me start by saying that there are as many ways to make this setup work as there are developers. If these instructions don't work for you, take to your search engine of choice, make a cup of tea, keep a notebook handy, and settle in for awhile.

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Finding Myself through Code

Just a note to let you know that you may experience some downtime and/or 404 not found messages while trying to access this content over the next little while. I’ve decided to move away from WordPress and give hosting a static website a try.

Why am I doing this? It has nothing to do with WordPress; not really. I (mostly) enjoy working with WordPress and will use it for many other projects in the future, but I need to challenge myself as a budding developer, and deploying static websites using Jekyll is one such challenge I’ve taken on.

So far, I’ve managed to run the site for Maptime Vancouver on Github Pages using Jekyll. Even though the configuration process left me scratching my head and swearing a few times, I enjoyed the work and, perhaps more tellingly, I loved how that success made me feel. Instead of running away the moment I ran into a problem I couldn’t solve, I persevered and eventually worked my way through a solution.

Somehow I managed to make it through this long life by sidestepping most intellectual and professional challenges that came my way. I’ve learned that I didn’t do this out of feelings of inadequacy, I did it because I allowed myself to create a world where I’m afraid to fail. Failure wasn’t an option for me, I thought, because as a black woman, I had to be twice as good as anyone else if I expected to get half as far. So rather than putting in the hard work, I checked myself out of the race, out of life and experiences. I let myself believe that I was okay accepting less.

Eventually the lie caught up to me.

I grew tired of hitting professional roadblocks and recommitted to strengthening my code skills. Thanks to a boss who has known me for a long time (and is probably long tired of my bitching and questioning), opportunities were recently created that allowed me to put some of my code skills to the test. More amazingly, even when the project went sideways, I didn’t view it as a failure. It’s the worst type of business-writing cliche there is, but this “failure” became a learning opportunity that revealed strengths and commonalities instead of reinforcing divisions and silos.

I’m learning. I’m growing. There are possibilities all around me, and my brain is crackling with excitement. Sure, I swear a lot more, and my brow may be permanently furrowed, but trust me when I say I am blissfully happy to be doing what I’m doing.

This was a long-winded way of saying that if you’re looking for specific entries on this website, you may not find them for a few days (hopefully not weeks).  You might be mildly inconvenienced, but hopefully the mental image of yours truly happily hacking away in the background will extend your patience.

Thank you.

A List of Things I Wish I Could Do

  • Swim, especially on hot summer days.
  • Ride a Gran Fondo
  • Make plants grow
  • Run
  • Dance – I don’t mean club dancing, or boogeying around your living room, I mean dance as in modern, ballet, jazz, tap.
  • Hike up a mountain
  • Speak another language fluently
  • Retire
  • Get a Ph.D.
  • Write with my left hand
  • Play guitar
  • Play drums
  • Knit
  • Paint
  • Draw
  • Sculpt
  • Make art of any kind, really
  • Stop taking antidepressants
  • Ride a motorcycle
  • Ask someone out on a date
  • Give myself a manicure and pedicure
  • Grow a really righteous afro

This is just the list as it exists at this moment in time. Ask me again tomorrow and there may well be a dozen other things added to it or taken away.

The Murder Victim? Your Library Assumptions.

I’ve just been appointed to the editorial board of In the Library with the Lead Pipe, a peer-reviewed journal founded by a team of international librarians who work in various types of libraries. Lead Pipe publishes works by authors from diverse perspectives, including librarians, support staff, administrators, technologists, and community members.

Initially I’ll mostly focus on editing and on working on the site redesign committee, but I’m also hoping my participation will provide a much-needed kick in the pants to get me to write more long form pieces.

This is a great honour, and I’m excited to work with such a talented group of people!

Mapping with Leaflet.js and OpenStreetMaps

You guys.

I made a map.

Thanks to Lyzi Diamond‘s super-easy Hell yes, Leaflet! tutorial, I made a map.

I’m excited about this for a couple of reasons. First, it is the first time since I really started focusing on improving my skills that I actually built something useful, and second, it means that using Leaflet as part of an upcoming work project is not only a possibility, it’s a certainty. And I’m going to be the one to build it. If you’re curious about how I did it, check Lyzi’s tutorial, or just view source on the page to see the comments in my code.

Now ‘scuse me while I strut.