This is a static blog powered by markdown files. The files live in a git repository, and a build process turns those markdown files into the site you are reading now. This has proved tricky to have a writing workflow that can be done completely from iOS, but as this test will hopefully prove, it can be done.

software used

Ulysses for writing. The app supports both macOS and iOS and I already use it for writing this blog on the desktop and publish short posts via Micro.blog

Working Copy for git management. It would be nice to have a command line environment that also integrates with the Files app, but it’s a good gui app.

Photoshop for image editing. Procreate might be a better option for this, but this is mostly force of habit.

Netlify for building and hosting. Netlify has a PR process to create a preview site based on a PR branch. That way I can preview what this post will actually look like once it’s done without pushing it to the real site.

wiring it all together

Ulysses supports external files, so I can clone the repository in Working Copy and I can open the content directory in Ulysses. I’ve already configured my static site to build .textbundlefiles which is how Ulysses bundles markdown and images together.

Once I create the initial post, I start a new branch, push up a commit and create a new pull request in Github. This causes Neflify to create a new preview site where I can see what the post will ultimately look like.

It’s not exactly a “quick” turnaround — my blog takes about 2 minutes to generate. However, it’s absolutely doable and I didn’t have to leave my iPad to do it. A few more editing rounds and I can merge the PR into the main branch and the post will appear on this site a few minutes later.

what could be better

A basic command line environment (that isn’t done via emulation like iSH.app) and package system would be the ultimate proverbial “multiple birds, one stone.”

Having to push a commit to see the built output adds quite a bit of overhead. A full development environment (with node support) would go a long way. Github Codespaces is an option when I have to do “under the hood” maintenance on the site. However, both scenarios require an internet connection to fully iterate — it would be nice to have a local option.

I miss my TextExpander shortcuts. Definitely one of those things you don’t notice how much you actually rely on it until it’s not available.