When I was starting this blog and was researching what options are out there in terms of blogging systems, I was looking for a simple developer focused blogging solution that I could use for publishing posts hosted on github pages. I found Octopress and decided to use it, mostly because it popped up often in Google search results and had a tag line that I liked: A blogging framework designed for hackers. And it was fine.

Recently though, I stumbled upon JBake. I liked it so much that I'm switching my blog away from Octopress. JBake is something that I often thought about creating myself. Here's what I like about it:

  • It's written in Java and uses Java related templating technologies that I'm familiar with. While I'm no stranger to Ruby, I am primarily Java developer and I'm happy that I can now use Freemarker as a template engine for my blog pages.
  • It's simple. It has templates and content folders where you put, well, templates and content and that's about it. It took me about 10 minutes to understand the structure and start customizing. When I'm publishing a post with Octopress, I have to go through a tutorial every time to refresh my memory on how to do it (admittedly, the reason for this is in part because I don't publish very often)
  • I find it easy to customize (for my simple needs). I don't even have to read the docs about how to do it - it's logical and self-explanatory.
  • Managing Octopress through git (as recommended on Octopress web site) is too confusing for me. For JBake based blog, I have one git repository in which I keep the sources (templates/content/assets etc.) and another one for generated output folder in order to push it to github pages.

There's one thing I miss in JBake - I wish it had "watch for changes" mode that would automatically build the pages once a change in content or templates is detected.

Finally, to be fair, in retrospect I probably shouldn't have chosen Octopress. It's not what I've been looking for in the first place. Without knowing JBake existed, I probably should have used Jekyll - the engine that Octopress is built on top of. JBake is in fact inspired by Jekyll and Jekyll provides the simplicity that I was actually looking for.