How This Blog Works

By Björn Lindström in Software about WWW, HCoop, Git and Automation — 

This blog is created using the Zola static site engine. I use a combination of GitLab CI and cron to automatically upload it to my web server whenever I merge a change to the Git master branch of the home page.

The elektrubadur.se source code is kept here in GitLab [Update 2023-06-07: elektrubadur.se sourcecode moved to Sourcehut]. While writing a post I just run zola serve on my computer and can look at a dynamically updated website on a local web server.

Once ready, I commit on a branch and push it to GitLab, and then make a merge request. This might seem a bit silly for a one-man project, but this way I can disable pushes to the master branch entirely, which can help prevent an accident.

The repository includes the separate repository web-build as a submodule. It contains some scripts used to build and publish the web site.

My website is hosted at HCoop, a hosting cooperative. Because it uses AFS, passwordless login requires the use of Kerberos, so I can't just push the page using a deploy key.

So, rather than pushing the website there, I'm pulling. I've put the script fetch_website.py from web-build on the target host, and makes it run it as a cron job:

*/5 * * * * k5start -qtUf "/etc/keytabs/user.daemon/$USER" -- "$HOME/scripts/fetch_website.py" "https://gitlab.com/bkhl/elektrubadur.se/-/jobs/artifacts/master/download?job=build" "$HOME/www/elektrubadur.se"

The k5start thing is another thing needed because of the use of AFS and Kerberos. The point here is that you give the script a URL to a GitLab artifact, and a target directory, and it will deploy it if there's been any change.

The entire script is a bit long to post here, but it basically checks if there is a new artifact in GitLab for the website, built from the master branch, and if there is downloads and deploys it. It saves the ETag in a file, so that it can compare to that and skip downloading unless there has been a change.

Credits for tools used making this page, inspirations for the design &c. are also on About This Page.