Scott Watermasysk Husband, Father, Bootstrapper, Developer, Builder, Shipper.

Introducing Jekyll Rest

Executive Summary - Jekyll Rest allows you to publish to a Jekyll based site which uses Github as a repository.

One of the things I like about the Jekyll + Github + Netlify combination is there is nothing to manage. No backups. No (major) concerns with hosting. Ultimately, nothing to do but write1. This is actual serverless IMO.

The trade-off is a slower publishing flow and usually being tied to a computer with Git access. Most of the time this is not as big of an issue as it would seem (how many of you blog more than once a week). However, I am continuing to try and flush out my “shorts” concept and always needing to be at a computer with Git access was slowing me down.

I had initially hoped I could leverage Zapier and avoid writing any code. Unfortunately, Zapier2 only got me about 50% there. Zapier is willing and able to receive a post from me from just about any tool (web, email, and even SMS), but I could not figure out how to correctly format my content to make it work with the Github V3 rest API3.

The more I play with Zapier, the more convinced I am I could make it work, but I soon realized that sending in posts from various devices require a bit more finessing of the data. This ultimately made writing it in Ruby even more appealing.

In the end, I built something I am calling Jekyll Rest. It is a single endpoint you host on your own in a matter of seconds on Heroku.

It has just one endpoint, create. This endpoint was written to be as flexible as possible. You can specify all of the individual parameters (title, date, body, etc.) or you can send it a block of frontmatter. It will do its best to decipher what you meant, even extracting a title from your content if necessary. The rules for this are defined on the GitHub readme.

With this endpoint, you can do a couple of things:

  1. You can add it Zapier. This enables you to compose blog posts via email or SMS.
  2. Automate your workflow.

I have done both. I have it set up now so that I quickly email and txt new short posts. I also built a simple UI that helps me share various things I find interesting.

  1. I will someday how I can see blogging as just writing ↩︎

  2. Zapier is amazing. ↩︎

  3. The biggest issue was base64 encoding the content ↩︎