Content over layout

Grading this course will not take into account how beautiful results of the work are formatted. We more easily focus on content by using Markdown, an increasingly popular language used to document code and/or write blogs published on the web.

Markdown is convenient as a tool to publish on the web, especially when used in combination with GitHub Pages and git (If the assignment pages include links, you are supposed to have a look at those!). Equating webpages to files in a GitHub repository means that we edit and publish a website the exact same way as we version our code: git add, git commit, and git push the website, collaboratively and versioned. When setup correctly, a tool called Jekyll will automagically convert the markdown into HTML.

Github for Education

Did you already request your github student pack? You might want to visit github for education to get benefits like private repositories. (BTW, all repositories created in the course are private unless you change that, so no worries about your future career!).

If you are not yet fluent in git and Github, then go ahead and study the online training material provided by Github. If you are unhappy working with the command line (a skill which I do recommend taking the effort to acquire), consider Github’s OS X or Windows tool suites (the Windows one is convenient).

How to Create a Blog Post

After familiarizing yourself with git (or refreshing your memory) with the resources above, continue to write a mockup blog post in Markdown syntax, as a model of the process of creating the results of an assignment.

Follow this link to the Classroom for Github Bigdata Blog 2019 assignment, login with your github account, and accept the assignment.

This creates a private repository under the rubigdata “organization”, specifically for this assignment. This newly created repository rubigdata/bigdata-blog-2019-USERNAME will contain an example blogpost in the file.

In order to publish this page go to your Github repository on Github and navigate to the settings tab. Scroll down to the Github Pages settings and select master as source to enable Github pages. After a little delay your repository should appear on If you would like your blog to look a bit better than plain HTML, you can select a theme in your repository settings after enabling Github Pages.

Editing the Blog post

Now in order to add your own content you must clone the private repository and edit the contents of

Finalize the test assignment

The goal in this first assignment is to just complete your first repository that contains a simple site, composed in Markdown, published online for free; with no actual content, just to make sure the process is familiar. You can use the results of this template as your own simple site, and deploy the same steps in the rest of the course to bootstrap new blog posts, one for every real course assignment.

If you are just starting out using git, it is fine to use just simple markup and limited styling. Have you been committing and pulling for months or even longer, then you should figure out how to use the Github pages features for a blog series instead of having to create separate files manually (background info and this excellent blog).

See also