Since 2011, this blog has been powered by WordPress. As of today, it’s entirely static and generated by Jekyll. Isn’t it funny how things have changed?
WordPress is a very cool product. It does so many things so well and has managed to dominate such a huge portion of the web that it demands respect. I can sum up my feelings about it pretty easily:
- The templates and plugins system is great, mostly.
- The basic WYSIWYG editor is fantastic until you discover Markdown.
- It’s easy to update your installation and your plugins, except when it’s not.
- Update recommendations help keep you safe, as long as you check frequently.
In other words, its strong points are really strong but its weak points – its risky plugins, the horror that is troubleshooting when something breaks, the need to constantly be on top of security as a result of its huge API – are pretty big for someone who just wants a place to talk shit every few weeks or months.
Sometime last year, we launched an official site for Neo4j.rb, Neo4jrb.io, and decided to host through Github.io and use Middleman. It’s been wonderful. My big takeaways from a year-ish of working with a statically generated blog:
- Local dev and Git deployment > remote Admin page. It makes writing as convenient as coding.
- Vim and Markdown > WYSIWYG editor. It makes writing as fast as coding.
- We essentially don’t have to worry about security.
- Modifying HTML and CSS > modifying themes.
It was kind of a no-brainer. I wanted something to help me write more often and this seemed like a good excuse, so I took the plunge. Even though Github.io is free, I decided to self-host because I like having an SFTP server and space to experiment. A search revealed a WordPress plugin to migrate content straight to Jekyll, so that made the platform decision easy. Ultimately, migration was simple enough:
- Basic new server setup: nginx, users, updates, etc,…
- Export old content using this plugin
- Install rbenv, Ruby, Jekyll and related gems
- Install git and configure post-receive hook, mosty descrived here
- Tweaks to migrated new blog: styling, fixing some things the migration didn’t get right, install/configure jekyll-archives
It took most of a day, when said and done, but none of it was what I would describe as “hard.” There are still some styling tweaks to make but I’m happy with it, overall. The real hard part comes next: actually writing more often.