Maia McCormick

Programmer, writer, nerd

Taming the Octopress

I was messing around with my website yesterday, and trying to make two sub-websites for my ‘Music’ and ‘Programming’ hats in a single Octopress install, and I really was going to be on time to my dinner plans except once my website experiment was borked and I tried to restore my previous site… well, long story short, it was the borked-est, and I spent an hour then and an hour today hunting around with Allison trying to fix the problem. Turns out that in trying to roll back my changes, I’d introduced some discrepancy between my master and gh-pages branches, and I could get around all of this on github with force pushes (-f), but not so easily with actually deploying my site (rake deploy). In the end, I had to go into my Rakefile and add a plus sign somewhere that tells Octopress not to worry whether it’s doing fast-forward commits1 and just commit anyway.

So, my website is alive, I have lost hours of my life to the jaws of the Octopress, and I may be switching to Jekyll or Pelican soon. But in the meantime, all of this made me intensely curious about git! I hit up Mary for a mini-seminar, and I wrote it all out on my blog to make sure I understood it. See: my post on the inner workings of git.


  1. To quote from the Git docs: “When you try to merge one commit with a commit that can be reached by following the first commit’s history, Git simplifies things by moving the pointer forward because there is no divergent work to merge together — this is called a ‘fast forward’.” Or, look at this explanation in pretty pictures. By default, Octopress will only deploy (which includes a commit) on a fast-forward, to avoid accidentally messing up any intermediate branched stuff.

Comments