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Tips for Speeding Up Octopress Site Generation

As I blogged about earlier, Octopress is a great framework for writing blog posts and packs in all the features for writing a code-centric blogs. Of course, it goes without saying that the blog also looks awesome as if designed by a true designer. Some of the nicer things about writing posts is that there are rake tasks that do most of the grunt work:

  • rake new_post[“Just type the title of the post here in plain English”] This will create a new file under source/_posts called 2011-09-29-just-type-the-title-of-the-post-here-in-plain-english.markdown
  • rake new_page[about]
    This will create a new page under source/about, called index.markdown
  • rake preview
    This sets up a local webserver on http://localhost:4000 and starts monitoring the source folder for any changes. It automatically generates the corresponding HTML/CSS for the Markdown/SASS files respectively.

Speed up

If you have just migrated from a Wordpress blog or have lots of posts under your source/_posts, the rake task that generates the HTML output can take a very long time (several minutes). Obviously if you are just working on one post, there is no need to wait for the entire site to generate. What you are looking for is the rake isolate[partial_post_name] task.

Using rake isolate, you can “isolate” only that post you are working on and move all the others to the source/_stash folder. The partial_post_name parameter is just some words in the file name for the post. For example, if I want to isolate the post from the earlier example, I would use

rake isolate[plain-english]

This will move all the other posts to source/_stash and only keep the 2011-09-29-just-type-the-title-of-the-post-here-in-plain-english.markdown post in source/_posts. You can also do this while you are running rake preview. It will just detect a massive change and only regenerate that one post from then on.

All set to publish

When you are ready to publish your site, just run rake integrate and it will pull all the posts from source/_stash and put them under source/_posts. Now you can run rake generate and then rake deploy to publish your updated blog.

If these seem like lot of commands to remember, don’t worry, they will become second nature once you do it few times. As a summary, below are all the tasks that we talked about in this post. The description of each task comes from the Rakefile used by Octopress. I just did a rake list -T to get a dump of all the tasks.

  • rake new_post[title]: Begin a new post in source/_posts
  • rake new_page[filename]: Create a new page in source/(filename)/index.markdown
  • rake generate: Generate jekyll site
  • rake deploy: Default deploy task
  • rake preview: Preview the site in a web browser
  • rake isolate[filename]: Move all other posts than the one currently being worked on to a temporary stash location (stash) so regenerating the site happens much quicker
  • rake integrate: Move all stashed posts back into the posts directory, ready for site generation
Tips for Speeding Up Octopress Site Generation
Pavan Podila
Pavan Podila
September 29th, 2011