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A Blog!?

Back in December we talked about starting a community blog, much like you'll find on some other StackExchange sites. We have now officially launched PiVersify on tumblr.

Our goal is to publish community written articles on topics that frequently come up on this site, or are a demonstration of cool projects we've done with Raspberry Pis. Ideally, there'll be an article every weekend, but we may publish a little more if we get a large amount of community contributions.

Who's running it?

Primarily, me. I, Jacobm001, am the Editor in Chief as @SteveRobillard likes to refer to it. Additionally, the three moderators, @SteveRobillard, @Goldilocks, and @Ghanima will help with curating content.

What are you writing about?

The first post discusses some of the basic pitfalls people run into while installing software on the Raspberry Pi. After that, I'm planning on starting a series on Tmux. The series will include things like installing software from source, scripting tmux, and more. :)

How do I contribute?

We've created a github repository to store articles that will be published. There's currently two folders, draft, and master. Files that are in master are published, or have been queued for publishing. Those in the draft branch, are well, drafts.

To contribute, simply fork the draft branch, write your content, and submit a pull request. We'll review the submission and post it when appropriate.

For those of you who'd rather not use github (why?): send an email to rpise@emaildodo.com; please use an easily accessible file format, e.g. plain text, rtf, or github flavoured md.

What can I write about?

Anything that's related to a Raspberry Pi! Unlike our main site, we're going to be much less restrictive about topics that are exclusive to the Raspberry Pi. If you have a tutorial that you think would be a good lesson for Linux beginners, that's great!

Suggested topics:

A Bonus for Community Contributors

You may remember the site's Christmas Giveaway. @Ghanima won a Pi, but has decided he would rather contribute it to the blog. So, it's been decided that it will be awarded to the community member who contributes the most popular article in the next 3 months.

  • Related (but not dupe) meta.raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/403/… – Ghanima Mar 13 '16 at 21:02
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    i just relized the number of things that are "asked" on the meta but are acutally more like announcments:) – sir_ian Mar 13 '16 at 22:37
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    I'm thinking of writing something about the camera module, maybe some tutorials about slo-mo and timelaspse, but don't count on it happening anytime in the next month ;) Too busy – angussidney Mar 14 '16 at 10:10
  • @angussidney: Please do :) – Jacobm001 Mar 14 '16 at 16:55
  • @Jacobm001 I'll write a tutorial for Nano as soon as I figure out how to use github ;) – Patrick Cook Mar 15 '16 at 0:18
  • @PatrickCook I might write an answer here (which is more relevant to our situation than the linked one) which explains how to use it in simple terms – angussidney Mar 15 '16 at 5:35
  • I have made a chat room for discussing our blog: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/36995/piversify-blog – angussidney Mar 15 '16 at 5:42
  • Errr... is it 'PiVersity' or 'PiVersify'?? It shows differently in places :) – Wilf Mar 21 '16 at 18:22
  • @Wilf: The later... where did I goof it? – Jacobm001 Mar 21 '16 at 18:22
  • The right sidebar – Wilf Mar 21 '16 at 18:29
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    @Wilf: ah fixed. – Jacobm001 Mar 21 '16 at 18:29
  • Is the blog configured for SEO organic search? I just tried Googling some of the content in the blog articles currently published and none of them are showing up in my search results. – PhilM Apr 10 '16 at 18:32
  • Doesn't Stack Exchange have their own blog system? blogoverflow.com – Kevin Brown Aug 6 '16 at 1:45
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How to submit an article to the blog

  1. If you haven't already, go to Github and create an account
  2. Download Github Desktop from here and install it. Follow all on-screen instructions to sign in etc. Keep it open in the background.
  3. Go to the repository here and click the 'fork' button in the top right:

fork button

  1. When the repository is 'forked' to your account, click the 'clone' button to download it to your computer

clone button

  1. When it prompts you where to save the project, leave it as the default (My Documents\Github\Repo-name) or put it somewhere else. Press OK and wait for it to clone.

  2. Navigate to the repository and make your changes (i.e. copy paste your article, written in markdown, into the root of the project with the filename in the format YYYY-MM-DD_post_title.md)

  3. In Github Desktop, use the dropdown in the top left to switch to the drafts branch. (switch to the drafts branch rather than PiVersify/drafts, as this is your forked copy)

branch selector

  1. Click the 'changes' tab at the top of the screen. Add appropriate descriptions etc, then click the 'Commit to drafts' button.

commit

  1. Sync by pressing the 'Sync' button.

  2. Make further changes, edit, proofread, etc, and create a new commit each time. When you are finished, make a final sync.

  3. Press the 'pull request' button in the top right. Switch the branch to be merged to PiVersify/drafts. Add an appropriate title and description.

pull request screen

  1. Wait for your request to be accepted! *

* Your request is not guaranteed to be accepted

** I haven't actually tested this personally, but it should work. Please feel free to make any changes.

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I've just noticed a couple of problems with the blog:

  • Inline code (and possibly code blocks) do not have any styling, and hence show up as normal text. It would probably be a good idea to implement this styling, given our subject.

  • Level 3 headings (<h3>) and possibly smaller headings format as normal text


Also, I may be nitpicking a bit, but would it be possible to write the blog post filenames in the format:

YYYY-MM-DD_post_title.md

That way the files will be sorted in Github in order of publishing date, and hence will be easier to match up with the posts on the blog itself. Alternitavely there could be a separate folder for each month.

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    Both issues have been fixed, and I have updated the naming format. – Jacobm001 Mar 14 '16 at 16:55
  • @Jacobm001 Thanks! – angussidney Mar 15 '16 at 5:27
  • @Jacobm001 Another question/concern on the formatting ... why is the text formatted into such a narrow column in the middle of the page? There is a lot of empty white space on either side. This isn't really an issue for text, but I would like to insert some images (screenshots) and they are going to be too small and difficult to read if constrained to fit in such a narrow column. – PhilM Apr 20 '16 at 18:53
  • @PhilM: basically because that's what the settings for the template we used is. How wide would you suggest making it? – Jacobm001 Apr 20 '16 at 18:55
  • @Jacobm001 One option is to make it as wide as the page allows, unless there is some reason to make it narrower. Perhaps it is narrower because it makes the text easier to read. Another option is to simply allow the images to display in a smaller size and enable "Click to Enlarge" for each image. This technique is straightforward for html/javascript, but I have never done this with the Markup language used for the blog. I'll research if this is possible, look for examples, and try it.. – PhilM Apr 20 '16 at 22:27
  • @PhilM I don't think that it should be full width - on large high resolution displays, one paragraph would fit on one line. However I do think that it could be a bit larger, or we implement your idea. In the mean time you can just tell people to right click view image. – angussidney Apr 21 '16 at 1:12
  • @angussidney Yes, agreed that full width would look awkward. I found some online resources showing how to "Click to Enlarge" the image which is a common technique I've seen on other blogs. I'll experiment with it when I have some time. If possible, it would be nice for the visual presentation to be a little more polish than right-clicking. After all, we are techies and should be able to figure this out :) – PhilM Apr 21 '16 at 4:08
  • I just learned that blog templates with extensive space on either side of the text column are intended to provide screen real estate for advertising and other content. – PhilM Apr 28 '16 at 22:40
  • @Jacobm001 I'm experimenting with the Click to Enlarge image feature. Do you have any preference on whether it displays the larger image in the same browser window as the text (requiring the user to click the back arrow to return to the text), or displays the image in a new browser window? – PhilM May 3 '16 at 5:45
  • @PhilM I suggest for further discussion you drop into the blog chatroom to avoid clogging up the comments. You should be able to ping jacob from there. – angussidney May 3 '16 at 6:46
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This is very interesting, and I have read most of the Blog posts.

How is a normal raspberrypi.stackexchange.com user supposed to find it?

There is no link on the web page or Tour indicating how to get there. I am not sure myself, I seem to have stumbled over it.

  • One of the community ads that rotates through on the sidebar is for the blog. – Jacobm001 Jun 9 '16 at 18:25
  • @Jacobm001 seems a bit hit or (mostly) miss. I can't recollect having seen any recently. – Milliways Jun 10 '16 at 5:40
  • I set the announcement post on "featured" here on meta. It should therefore show up on the main page in the "Featured on Meta" box. Community however removes the "featured" tag after some time... – Ghanima Jun 13 '16 at 19:32
  • I too was unable to find it ... but what's worse ... I STILL can't find it. Does this page not have a link to the Blog? Can we post the link in this particular thread? – Kolban Jul 22 '16 at 15:16
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"draft" and "master" are git branches, not directories (I hate the term "folder", it reeks of Windows)

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