New blogging system

Blogging Meta Communications Social Networks News Publications Infrastructures DevOps Software Architecture Software Development

We are launching a new blog at Group4Layers. It wouldn't be news if it weren't for the fact that we have developed an internal blogging system from scratch. Although it has not been a particularly complicated and tedious task, we have given it a personal touch to accommodate our current needs while allowing us to try some new ideas.

Although we usually comment on current issues through social networks when time allows us to do so, their restricted format and length limits our expressiveness. We do not intend to publish constantly or with too dense articles, since it is another job that requires many hours to do it properly. Rather, we intend to give a brief outline of the work and ideas we generate, as well as the projects and disciplines in which we are involved.

As our team is mainly technical, we saw the need for a way to produce new articles comfortably, providing high resilience and avoiding having to act with generator systems, verifiers, deployments and a whole CD/CI machinery for this purpose. Thus, the blog is designed and developed under a new editing concept, despite being integrated in the Group4LayersCom web application (yes, the commercial web has always been conceived and developed as a complete application, especially in the infrastructure and backend area). This new aspect focuses on a polygonal evolution and orchestration, starting from a triangular base, that is, with 3 fundamental vertices.

Blogging System Scheme

Simplified architectural scheme of the new blogging system (overview - systems, modules and roles).

There are two mandatory fixed vertices: Group4LayersCom and Group4LayersBlog. The former uses all the infrastructures, services and building systems that we are used to and that require planning and verification. The latter focuses on maintaining a git repository with a specific build and structuring scheme. In addition, both vertices communicate through a common exchange protocol.

The bulk of the blogging system logic is incorporated into the Group4LayersCom web application. This is able to manage the blog, operate with the repository, build indexes and sitemaps, establish a caching system, prebuild assets (rendering) of the articles and act on a management API, among others. In short, it is a system flexible enough to enable many operations related to the publication of articles for the blog, while providing good performance, energy savings for the server and an increased usability of the entire platform.

On the other hand, there are as many optional vertices as there are blog users, being editors and managers the important roles. In this way, with the simple modification of the Group4LayersBlog repository (commit, push) and the appropriate notification to the blogging system, everything necessary to activate the new article on the commercial web is launched (processing, parsing, building, etc). This protocol supports multiple management operations to facilitate the most common use cases by an editor and administrator.

Finally, we have chosen to develop an internal editor for content creators. The BlogEditor facilitates the construction of articles, being able to visualize the final contents as they will be published on the web, but from a temporary work environment inside a simplified IDE (Integrated Development Environment). It has spell checkers, custom language support (yaml with markdown), file and image manager, fast viewing modes (mobile, tablet and large screen), keyboard shortcuts and automatic parallel building modes, among other features. A validation system has been included to facilitate the correct editing of publications. In addition, such temporary content is preserved on the server, so that it supports working sessions. In this way, a technical editor can continue writing with his favorite tool (i.e. vim or emacs), and when he wants to verify and view the future publication and presentation, he can use the internal Editor provided by the Group4Layers website itself.

Group4Layers Blog

BlogEditor - WebIDE of the blogging system.

However, with this release and the internal tools developed, we are now moving into a new communication area. Since we are very busy involved in interesting projects, we will try to publish something exciting from time to time. As our customers know, their products and needs come first, but we will try to release at least one article per month. ;-)

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