Monthly Orchid Update (7 Part Series)
I love watching basketball, which makes March one of the best months of the year as the NCAA National Championship, March Madness, takes place. My top pick, Michigan State, has already defeated Duke and is well on their way to becoming the National Champions!
It has also been quite a "mad" month for Orchid too, with lots of big changes in progress. From being able to publish your site to Gitlab and Bitbucket, to integration with Github Wikis, and a re-theming of the documentation site all underway, it's safe to say that I've been quite busy!
This is a monthly newsletter around Orchid, the newest and best static site generator for the JVM. There is a growing need to keep the community up-to-date on all the happenings around Orchid, and here I will share Orchid's progress during the previous month! Follow along with this series to stay on top of Orchid's newest features, track adoption on Github, and see who's using Orchid!
A beautiful and truly unique documentation engine and static site generator.
Orchid is a brand-new, general-purpose static site generator for Java and Kotlin, with a focus on extensibility and aimed at developers looking to improve their technical documentation. Orchid was born out of a desire for better-looking Javadocs and frustration with how difficult is it to manage large Jekyll sites and keep it up-to-date with your code.
Orchid supports a variety of plugins, including a wiki, static pages, blogs, and much more. It aims to have high compatibility with many of the existing static site generators, such as Jekyll, Gitbook, and Hugo, so that migration to Orchid is painless. And if you can't find a plugin to do what you need, Orchid provides an intuitive way to add your own private plugins and a rich API so you can make your site as beautiful and unique as an Orchid.…
As of the time of writing, Orchid is at 175 stars on Github. And this month, in particular, I have been absolutely blown away at the growth on Github. With 4 pull requests by 3 contributors, numerous issues opened and questions asked across Github, Twitter, and Gitter, and more than FOUR TIMES as many downloads on Bintray this month as last month, Orchid is seeing unprecedented growth that I could never have imagined.
Thank you all so much, I certainly could not keep working this hard without your incredible support! But these successes are entirely because of you, and I love to give credit where it is due, so let's drill into this a bit deeper.
- @alejandrohdezma helped out to fix a bug using the wrong FontAwesome icon (#239)
- @ Sumo99 got rid of the last of Lombok, paving the way for a pure-Kotlin future! They also helped remove Google Plus social links now that the service is officially dea. (#243 and #249)
- @ dkowis fixed a broken documentation link (#252)
The 31-day period ending February 28th saw a bit shy of 700 downloads.
The stats show that downloads really started to take off around the end of the month, which is when I published the tutorial on how to use Orchid to document a Kotlin project. I would highly recommend you check it out if you haven't already.
Meanwhile, The 31-day period ending March 31st saw more than 2600 downloads! And questions from y'all on how to use it have increased to match, and I'm so excited to be able to help solve your problems with Orchid!
All of these statistics are freely available on Bintray, go here to check it out for yourself.
Orchid is currently at version 0.16.7. There have been no major changes since last month, mostly just a series of bugfixes on the Copper theme and minor usability improvements.
Orchid's docs are getting a reboot! When I started work on Orchid, Bootstrap was the only CSS framework I knew of. I had no idea there were so many great options out there, and ultimately I have come to really enjoy Bulma for its simplicity and flexibility.
And so, I've been building the "Copper" theme, based on Bulma, to serve as the home for all of Orchid's own documentation, and also of its supplemental libraries. Here's a preview:
Also coming with the new theme will be a major overhaul in the content on the docs site, as I continue to iterate upon the docs and figure out the best way to present the information to you.
From the very beginning, Orchid was created to be infinitely flexible, able to work with a wide variety of different systems and content structures, but until now it has been fairly closely tied to just Netlify and GitHub. I myself regularly use Microsft Azure and BitBucket at work and want to use Orchid in those places, and I can imagine y'all do as well.
So work is currently under way to make it easier to integrate Orchid into those different Git platforms, so you do not need to change your current processes to fully utilize Orchid's power! Soon, you'll be able to use the native Wikis on Github, Bitbucket, Gitlab, and Azure DevOps as a headless CMS, and you'll also be able to deploy directly to their static hosting platforms and create releases!
You don't have to be an expert in Java, Kotlin, Orchid, or anything else to help out the Orchid project. There are a number of ways you can contribute right now:
- fixing typos and improving the clarity of documentation articles
- converting Java classes to Kotlin
However, I am currently looking for more skilled help with a couple specific areas:
- I'm looking for people who currently use the features of the git platforms I'm imtegrating with, to help build their integrations:
I would also love the help of a designer to make a really great home page and a new logo for Orchid.
Please reach out to me if you're interested in contributing to the project for any of these specific issues, I (and the whole community!) would really appreciate it!
Are you interested in getting started with Orchid? There simply is no better way to manage all the documentation for your project, and I'd love to help you get set up!
If you have an open-source project that needs docs, are building a new portfolio, or are building any other kind of static site, I want to work with you to get you set up with Orchid! Comment on this post, send me a PM here on Dev.to, or contact me here and I will be with you every step of the way.
And as always, let me know if you start using Orchid so I can feature you in next month's update!