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The Vagrantbox.es Story

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Back in June Vagrantbox.es (a website I maintain for third party hosted Vagrant base boxes) dissapeared from the internet for a few days. This was completely my fault, the (lovely) hosting people ep.io had unfortunately closed down the service they had in beta and I’d been so busy that I hadn’t had chance to move it elsewhere.

The original version of the site (I had the code and good backups of the data) was a pretty simple Django application, but I’d used it to experiment (read over-engineer) with various bits of tech including Varnish, Solr, some ORM caching and lots more. This had been great, but it made it less portable. I had everything described in Puppet, but with virtually no spare time I decided to go a different route.

I threw a flat version of the site up on GitHub, served it using Nginx on Heroku and added a quick Fork me on GitHub badge to the top. Suggest a box moved from being a web form to a pull request. It’s fair to say I did this pretty quickly and made a good few typos on the way. But within a couple of weeks I’ve had 8 pull requests either fixing my bugs, removing dead boxes and adding new ones.

What I’m going to take from this is, if you’re building a community project that’s aimed at developers, then throw the content on GitHub. In my case I have the entire site on there too but I think that’s secondary. Pull requests are much better than any content management system or workflow you’re likely to build, and even more importantly the time to implement something drops hugely.

With all the spare time I don’t have I’ll be thinking about a content management model using GitHub for content, pull requests for workflow and post commit hooks for loading that content into a site or service somewhere.


Published at DZone with permission of Gareth Rushgrove , DZone MVB .

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