Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Who needs Jekyll for GitHub pages? Introducing Hyde!

I've been playing with various blogging/CMS engines since I started messing about with code. I even played with the fore-runner of WordPress for a long time before moving my own blog over to WordPress and now over to blogger. I created another one a little while ago that could be hosted on Google Drive but it didn't really peak my interest TBH, then along came a lovely article via Feedly (I love Feedly - I love it so much I've paid for it! Why don't you?) about GitHub pages. The article was lovely except that it wasn't really aimed at Windows users (what can I say? Windows works for me and seems to work a treat with most things I ask it to do... there's something about messing with Ruby though that leaves me feeling cold).

Anyway, the article talked about using Ruby to generate a static site using a combination of markdown and a Ruby gem by the name of Jekyll. This, after thrashing around trying to get the bloody thing to work on Windows 8 for a little while, got me thinking about my original GDB and about how cool it would be if I stored markdown rather than Base64 encoded HTML within my spreadsheet. So I got to work making that happen.

Thankfully all this happened during the Xmas and New Year break so I had some time to play (plus ample opportunity to play seeing as whenever I'm not playing/coding, driving, drinking or sleeping I'm an emotional mess) so I got to work and created a markdown powered dynamic blogging engine that seems to work a treat as a replacement for Jekyll on GitHub pages while using Google Sheets as a backend! Strangely enough I decided to call it Hyde. It's not likely to be fast but it does the job a treat and I'm going to write some instructions about it's use later on, in the meantime you can see it an action here.

Friday, 20 December 2013


I love music, I really do, which is just as well seeing as I'm tone deaf. #1 son makes and produces music and some of it is really to my taste (very little not TBH) so along with SoundCloud I've tried most of the online music services going. Rdio was lovely but I found Spotify a wee bit intrusive... then Google Music came along and I was in heaven. A wee few squid a month means I get to listen to nigh on anything that takes my fancy... and I do do so... all day long! As well as all the music I've been collecting since my adolescence. Coding with music should really be obligatory!

Thing is though, I do need to talk to other people sometimes and I end up losing the Google Music tab while I'm away with the music fairies. I end up getting reminded that there's a meeting or a scrum that I need to attend and whilst I can always go without pausing the music I find that my headphones (without my head between the speakers to muffle the sound) tend to distract others with that there tinny noise! Thus I decided to spend a few days of my annual leave creating a remote control in the form of a Chrome Extension. It should just display a play/pause icon that, when clicked, plays or pauses the music I'm listening to.

It seems to work for me but I reckon that the whole spirit of opensource should mean that if anyone else can see an improvement then I should embrace it - thus it's hosted on GitHub. Please do take it and play, but please do help others by sending your enhancements back.

Eventually I'll work up the bottle to submit it to the Chrome Store but I think I need to do a wee bit more research along the way yet.

UPDATE [21/12/2013]: Research is done and the extension is now available on the Chrome Store here: gMusic.

Cool ehh?