Starting a Blog with Pelican and Arch Linux

I’ve been thinking for a while about blogging about some of the geeky stuff I do on my computer. Mostly in order to document my technical misadventures for my future reference, with the possibility that they might be useful to someone else out there. Recently I decided to do it, and that I’d use GitHub Pages to host the blog. I’d use some sort of static site generation tool to help me make the content pretty, because there’s no way I was going to play around with HTML.

There are a lot of static site generation tools out there, the most popular and best documented of which is Jekyll. Normally the fact that it’s well documented would be enough to sway me to use it, but it has a big disadvantage that made me look elsewhere: It’s not in the repos for Arch Linux (my Linux of choice).

That means I’d either have to install it from the AUR (but this was a no-go as it had about 10 other AUR dependencies and I don’t really like AUR helpers) or via ruby gems. I’m not a fan of those language based package managers like gems, pip, cabal-install etc as they are typically a lot less versatile than distribution-level package managers like apt-get and pacman.

So I did some searching for a similar tool that was in the repos, and came across Pelican. Pelican is in the Arch Linux community repo, so installing it is exactly this simple:

$ sudo pacman -S pelican

I followed this blog post, and also the official documentation to get up and running, but when I tried to compile a markdown test-post, I got the following:

$ pelican
WARNING: No valid files found in content.
Done: Processed 0 articles, 0 drafts, 0 pages and 0 hidden pages in 0.07 seconds.

A google search revealed that since I didn’t have the python markdown library installed, I couldn’t publish anything written in markdown. The official documentation suggested I install the library with this command:

$ pip install markdown

but as I’ve said, I wanted to do things via pacman, so instead I ran this command to get it working:

$ sudo pacman -S python-markdown

I like that Pelican is written in python. Even though I’m very much in the static types camp, I’ve always had a soft spot for python. It’s another small advantage over Jekyll, since I’ve never used ruby.

Hopefully this is the first of many posts on my new Pelican blog!