Publishing Articles with Git

If you’re deploying to your own server and keep your pages in a Git repository, then I definitely recommend working through what follows. Committing and pushing your changes publishes them immediately on your site, which leads to a smooth workflow.

We’ll setup two repositories; one on your local computer (so you can preview your changes locally before making them live) and one on your server.

This page isn’t relevant if you’re deploying to Heroku as Heroku requires that you check your content into the same repository as your copy of Nesta (see the Heroku deployment docs).

Creating a local repository

We’ll make the local one first and copy any existing content into it. I like to keep mine inside my local copy of the nesta source code and to call it content. If you’re going to do the same you should add “content” to the .gitignore file so that you needn’t worry about accidentally checking your articles into your local copy of the Nesta code.

On your workstation, create a content directory inside your nesta directory:

$ cd nesta
$ mkdir -p content/pages content/attachments
$ echo content >> .gitignore
$ cd content
$ git init

If you already have any article or category pages copy them into these new directories now. Then add them to your git repository.

$ git add .
$ git commit -m "First commit."

Creating a remote repository

Now we can login to the server and create the remote repository:

$ ssh your.web.server
$ mkdir -p git/content.git
$ cd git/content.git
$ git --bare init

Back on your workstation, you can tell your local repository about your remote repository and then push all your content onto your server (this gives you a handy backup repository, should you accidentally lose your local repository in some kind of freak accident):

$ cd nesta/content
$ git remote add server ssh://your.web.server/home/user/git/content.git

Adjust the path in the above command accordingly – I like to store my Git repositories in my home directory, but you can put this repository anywhere you like.

Publishing via the remote repository

You’ve probably noticed that Nesta doesn’t know anything about your remote Git repository yet, so it won’t be able to serve any of your web pages.

We’re going to write a git hook that will copy a fresh set of pages from your remote repository to /var/apps/nesta/shared/content (the default location for an application that is deployed with Vlad). It will also remove any cached .html files in your public directory. Create a file called hooks/post-receive script in your remote repository and add the contents of this script to it:


rm -rf "$SHARED/content.old" "$SHARED/"
git archive --format=tar HEAD | \
    (cd $SHARED && tar xf -)
mv "$SHARED/content" "$SHARED/content.old"
mv "$SHARED/" "$SHARED/content"
find "$NESTA/current/public" \
    \( -name \*.html -or -name \*.xml \) -exec rm {} \;

You may need to adjust the path in the NESTA variable to suit your setup.

You’ll also need to make it executable:

$ chmod +x git/content.git/hooks/post-receive

Now (back on our workstation) we can try publishing a new page:

$ echo "# Test page" > pages/test.mdown
$ git add pages/test.mdown
$ git commit -m "Added test page."
$ git push server master

If everything has gone according to plan you should be able to see your new page at http://your.web.server/test.