A New Direction for ChrisVanPatten.com

It’s been only a few months since I last tackled redesigning ChrisVanPatten.com. It was a spur of the moment thing (it usually is) in the middle of BarCamp Rochester. While the previous design was okay (it was brimming with my trademark simplicity) it wasn’t quite what I wanted. And frankly, while I hoped a redesign would encourage me to blog a bit more, it didn’t.

So I’ve decided to try again, and this time not only have I completely redesigned, I’ve actually switched blogging engines. I’m now using the flexible and powerful static-site generator Jekyll.

“Now hold on,” you, the client who frequently comes to me for WordPress-related services, might say. “Why are you using this Jekyll thing? I thought you were a WordPress guy?”

In a nutshell, I am a WordPress guy. I love and evangelize the platform, and I’m excited to be helping to organize the upcoming WordCamp in Buffalo this October. WordPress is the foundation of Van Patten Media, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that, at the end of the day, I did make a switch. My reasons are thus:

  1. I love Markdown. Formatting text in Markdown is far more pleasant than HTML (and I can still use HTML if I so choose), and means I can write posts in just about any environment, whether I have Microsoft Word or a simple command line.
  2. It’s geeky! Jekyll is straightforward to set up, but it’s for geeks first. It’s fun to play around with, and it tickles my geek bone.
  3. We’re working on building a new deployment architecture at VPM, and the majority of it is based on Ruby. Working with Jekyll, one of the prototypical Ruby applications, is a great way for me to familiarize myself with Ruby and “the Ruby way.”

WordPress continues to be my platform of choice for clients and my business, and I don’t forsee that changing any time soon.

So I hope you enjoy this new (fully mobile-friendly) design. It was fun to put together, and I’m excited to get back into blogging.

P.S. I haven’t installed any comments modules (e.g. Disqus) for the redesigned site. I’ve decided I’d much rather keep conversation in email or Twitter. I’ll be looking into ways to integrate those discussions here soon!

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