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Meeting Notes

Homebrew Website Club Baltimore had our second meetup of February at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center on Tuesday, February 20th.

Here are the notes from the broadcast portion of tonight’s gathering! – I shared updates on my learning log -> article workflow and how this process has been great for lots of reasons. Namely, it’s been a solid way for me to track my learning throughout the weeks and to also see the ebbs and flows of my development. Taking notes on what I’m working on and then refining these notes into larger articles has been informative for me as I’m able to identify trends in my learning.

I also have been working a lot on practicing my HTML and CSS skills. I built out our wedding website this weekend, and then started rebuilding it once I learned CSS Grid. One other constant area I’ve been researching is decoupled CMSes. I’ll be sharing more on that in later updates this week. This is especially pertinent as I’ve been spending time troubleshooting some of my ongoing WordPress issues. – Marty was here in spirit! – Has been working on using Ghost as a blogging platform for his site. If you go to you’ll see Derek’s blog that is powered by Ghost. Derek has also been thinking about restarting his #100DaysOfCode challenge as well as working through Wes Bos’s JavaScript 30 series.  Derek has also checked out a new YouTube channel called Layout Land, which is a great source of information about CSS Grid and Flexbox.

Derek also wants to start using a static site generator to pull in his content written in Ghost. He’s looking into something like Hexo, a static site generator powered by NodeJS. We chatted a bit more, and Derek is basically looking into something like a JAMstack setup where his content is able to be written in a platform like Ghost and then pulled into a static site.

He’s going to keep rolling with Ghost and then diving into something like Hexo or a process similar to Jonathan’s with local writing that is pushed to GitHub that is then grabbed and served via a postreceive hook on a server. – Today, Rhea learned that she’s already been using Markdown in a journal app! Also, she discovered ways that she can start using Markdown in her writing process. Rhea learned about the versatility of Markdown as a writing format and how Atom can be configured as a powerful writing tool using plugins such as Markdown Writer.

The main chunk of her work tonight was related to getting Atom setup for Markdown writing. Also saw a brief demo of how to use command line to publish to GitHub. Rhea is going to work on reformatting her personal site and then revisit it and see what tools and processes she wants to use. – Mary is excited to be reconnected to the internet again (got a new phone!) after a few days of lacking connectivity. She wants to figure out how to do collaborative writing with GitHub. Also, Mary identified that she has a need for a fast process for capturing notes, but also wants to come up with a collaborative workflow for writing. She has some ideas for a collaborative dream record keeping site!

Dishon – Doesn’t currently a domain, but will soon! Started today with following along in the Markdown activity but decided that he wants to focus on HTML and CSS before diving more into the content.

Dishon is currently working on a website for his app development company. He has been working on building out a layout from scratch using HTML and CSS. Dishon has the front page of his site constructed and is working to tweak it a bit as he continues to grow his HTML and CSS skills.

Additionally, we discussed the differences between tools for appearance and layout as opposed to tools for writing content. For example, Markdown is a great way to write content once you have a site constructed and configured.

Dishon is also working on figuring out how to transfer some of his designs into CSS. Having a great time working on this so far. – Darius has successfully transferred his domain from to Hover! His next step is determining hosting and pointing his domain to his new host. He wants to transfer completely off and recreate his site on a self-hosted instance as he wants more customization options for crafting his site identity.

Darius has been doing a lot of work on the 3D Print Shop site and has been developing his CSS skills in the process. He’s also been figuring out lots of CSS fixes as they arise in his day to day work.

Darius has made progress in the process of getting his site set up and configured. Once this is done he’s going to start building out his site.

Feb 20, 2018 homebrew website club meetup at Digital Harbor Foundation

Left to right:, Dishon,,,,

Other Discussion Topics

Today I led a quick activity on using Markdown for writing. I should have presented this a bit better to incorporate everyone’s use cases and interest levels, but it was relatively impromptu. I’m going to refactor this into a larger, structured activity that can run again at a later time. We covered the following topics:

  • What is Markdown?
    • Pros/cons of writing with it
  • How to set up Atom as a Markdown writing tool
  • Quick intro to Git and GitHub
  • Working toward a writing workflow using Markdown and GitHub

We also talked briefly about decoupling content and presentation, and the JAMstack. Derek is working to develop a solid workflow where he is able to integrate Ghost into a static site. I mentioned looking into Netlify and Netlify CMS as well as other services such as Contentful as possibilities to consider. We talked about my Hugo workflow and how it’s heavy on configuration but is a really worthwhile experience once it’s up and running. I’ll write an article outlining this process with a high-level overview as well as a walkthrough of the technical setup. I also want to continue to research Netlify as a service, especially now that I know more about the company.

We also had a good discussion about domain names and how to tell people to get to site or content if you have a long domain name. Mary shared that she uses business cards as well as shorter handles for social media. She directs people to other social media that contain links to her site.

We also discussed the web and identity, as well as references to the IndieWebCamp Baltimore: Identity and the IndieWeb discussion session.

Lots of great discussion tonight! I’m looking forward to our next one in two weeks.


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