Migrating blog from GH Pages to GH Actions

Published: May 11, 2020 by Noe Nieto

This is how my blog looks before update:

Before update

GitHub Pages is cool, but it only supports a fixed set of themes. After several years of neglect, the COVID19 quarantine gave me enough spare time to give my blog some long needed attention.

Initially I wanted to use the foundation theme, but after some thought I ended using bulma-clean-theme because colors are nicer and also has some degree of configurability.

These are the things I did:

  • I added a new front-page layout to present the latest 5 posts.
  • Configured the new navigation menu links:
  • Setup a page for the posts archive
  • The about page was ugly and had to go, so i replaced it with a link to my main page.
  • I also upgraded Jekyll to 3.8

I also worked a bit on the deployment. I want to make the deployment automatic. GH Pages didn’t like my customizations, so I had to find another way.

GH Actions to the rescue.

I ended up concocting something like this:

name: Jekyll site CI

on:
  push:
    branches: [ master ]
  pull_request:
    branches: [ master ]

jobs:
  build_and_deploy:
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    steps:
      - name: GitHub Checkout
        uses: actions/checkout@v1
      - name: Bundler Cache
        uses: actions/cache@v1
        with:
          path: vendor/bundle
          key: $-gems-$
          restore-keys: |
            $-gems-
      - name: Build & Deploy to GitHub Pages
        uses: joshlarsen/jekyll4-deploy-gh-pages@master
        env:
          GITHUB_TOKEN: $
          GITHUB_REPOSITORY: $
          GITHUB_ACTOR: $
      - name: Rsync the build
        uses: Pendect/action-rsyncer@v1.1.0
        env:
          DEPLOY_KEY: $
        with:
          src: _site/
          # Remote server and path. i.e user@server.com:/var/www/server.com/
          dest: nnieto@opal7.opalstack.com:/home/nnieto/apps/blog_noenieto_com/
      - name: Display status from deploy
        run: echo "$"

The steps of this pipeline are:

  • Checkout the latest changes on master
  • Cache bundler dependencies.
  • Build the blog and save it to the _site folder.
  • Upload the site using rsync.

To configure the rsync connection to my server I created a SSH keypair using the Ed25519 algorithm. After that I copied the private key and pasted it as DEPLOY_KEY into my repo’s encrypted secrets.

I added .nojekyll for to my repository so that the GH Pages robot won’t try to build my site.

Finally I reconfigured my DNS to point to the new server. And this is the way it looks now.

After update