Just a little more detail would be nice

I’m finding it a bit irritating getting a page build error in my blog. I suspected Prose.io initially just because there’s some weird stuff happening with the cursor in the new editor, but github isn’t really helping by giving the rather generic error ‘page build failed’. That really doesn’t tell me much.

Problem is, running windows, it’s pretty difficult to get an installation of Ruby, the dev tools, the Jekyll gem and all that running properly. It’s possible, I’m sure, but not really supported.

I actually have a lot of fun developing for windows. I like Visual Studio 2012 and MVC4. The toolset just keeps getting better and more pleasurable to work with. But there are times that I sorely consider switching to Ubuntu and developing solely in Linux. Probably single page web-apps with a ruby on rails backend… but it’s seriously going to feel like starting from scratch.

In the end, it took about an hour to sort. Installed Ubuntu 13.04 desktop on a USB stick, add a few packages (ruby, rubydev and jekyll) install git, set up a new ssh key and clone my repository, then try and build it with Jekyll.

Turns out, an old post had an unescaped ampersand character within a a-tag’s href field. In the past, that’s never been an issue. But looks like there’s been a minor breaking change. I modified the offending file and we’re back up running again. Joy!

EDIT - 15 Dec 2016 - It used to be difficult, but it’s really pretty trivial now. And Windows no longer feels like a 2nd class citizen.

One of the biggest gotchas I found with Jekyll development (using Visual Studio) was that VS would include BOM at the start of a UTF-8 document by default. Unfortunately, either Jekyll, or Github pages doesn’t like Byte Order Marks, so you need to configure VS so it does not automagically include BOM when saving… after I figured that out, I’ve been finding site development with Jekyll on Windows pretty seamless since… But I definitely lost a lot of hours until sorting out the issue.