Getting the blog back together

The other day I was reading one of my old blog posts, and I was struck by how happy it made me. I wrote that post during a time in my life where I was programming a lot and really enjoying it, and returning to that post brought me back to that time in my life where my joy for my work was overflowing and I could scarcely contain my excitement to share what I was learning with the world. A few exhausting jobs later, and I almost don’t recognize the guy who wrote those posts. For the last several months, programming (and frankly, much of my work in general) hasn’t felt joyful at all. I miss that old version of myself. I wanted to bring him back.

I’ve made some changes lately. I quit my job and took a new one that I’m extremely excited about (more on that in a future post). I did the 75 Hard and re-evaluated my diet, exercise, and substance use habits. I got engaged. A lot has changed since the last time I wrote here, and with these changes has come a bit of my old self: I want to write again.

So, I’m back. I have a few posts cooking in the near future that I’m looking forward to releasing soon, but today’s post was originally just going to be an announcement and a reintroduction. But when I tried building my site to preview my posts, I found that after 2 years and several new computers, my jekyll installation wasn’t working, and so I needed to make a few tweaks to get my site working again. This ended up turning into a bit of a rabbithole, so I figured I’d share that story, too.

Is this thing on?

One of the reasons I’ve loved working with Jekyll over the years is that it just works. It’s always been easy for me to build, run, and test my posts; and configuring plugins and other goodies has been simple and well-documented. However, it’d been a few years (and several new laptops) since my last post, and so when I tried and I found that stuff isn’t working any more. My trusty bundle exec jekyll serve command ended up puking up some absolute nonsense, which mostly boiled down to this

Installing commonmarker 0.17.13 with native extensions
Gem::Ext::BuildError: ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension.

    current directory: /private/var/folders/t1/f1qn55zs1ms8m0q6n4mdf7sh0000gp/T/bundler20240427-78980-sbeze4commonmarker-0.17.13/gems/commonmarker-0.17.13/ext/commonmarker
/System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.6/usr/bin/ruby -I /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.6/usr/lib/ruby/2.6.0 -r ./siteconf20240427-78980-ujdl51.rb extconf.rb
creating Makefile

current directory: /private/var/folders/t1/f1qn55zs1ms8m0q6n4mdf7sh0000gp/T/bundler20240427-78980-sbeze4commonmarker-0.17.13/gems/commonmarker-0.17.13/ext/commonmarker
make "DESTDIR=" clean

current directory: /private/var/folders/t1/f1qn55zs1ms8m0q6n4mdf7sh0000gp/T/bundler20240427-78980-sbeze4commonmarker-0.17.13/gems/commonmarker-0.17.13/ext/commonmarker
make "DESTDIR="
make: *** No rule to make target `/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/SDKs/MacOSX.sdk/System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/2.6/usr/include/ruby-2.6.0/universal-darwin23/ruby/config.h',
needed by `arena.o'.  Stop.

make failed, exit code 2

Gem files will remain installed in /var/folders/t1/f1qn55zs1ms8m0q6n4mdf7sh0000gp/T/bundler20240427-78980-sbeze4commonmarker-0.17.13/gems/commonmarker-0.17.13 for inspection.
Results logged to /var/folders/t1/f1qn55zs1ms8m0q6n4mdf7sh0000gp/T/bundler20240427-78980-sbeze4commonmarker-0.17.13/extensions/universal-darwin-23/2.6.0/commonmarker-0.17.13/gem_make.out

An error occurred while installing commonmarker (0.17.13), and Bundler cannot continue.
Make sure that `gem install commonmarker -v '0.17.13' --source ''` succeeds before bundling.

In Gemfile:
  github-pages was resolved to 209, which depends on
    jekyll-commonmark-ghpages was resolved to 0.1.6, which depends on
      jekyll-commonmark was resolved to 1.3.1, which depends on

After poking around online a bit and trying a few more things to fix it, I realized that the problem was that my dependencies were just too old to be compatible with the version of Ruby on my system. I briefly considered trying to use rbenv to install an older version that was compatible, but then I had a better idea: why not just upgrade my site to use a later version of Ruby, delete my Gemfile.lock, and just try everything from scratch?

Turned out, that worked perfectly. The change, as with most things like this, ended up being quite simple.

We’re back baby

After upgrading everything, clearing the old lockfile, and reinstalling, bundle exec jekyll serve works perfectly, everything looks great, and I’m ready to start writing some new posts (just so long as I don’t take another 2-year hiatus, ha). Very pleased that Jekyll just works again, and even more pleased to be excited to write again.

I’ll see y’all soon.