/ Development Tools and Software

The Perfect Blog Hunt

Finding the perfect blogging platform is, as I've found out, not easy.

This odyssey began with Wordpress. Yes it did everything I wanted, but it just didn't do it quickly enough. Yes I know, caching etc etc, but come on its only a blog, it shouldn't need that level of optimisation out the box.

In Wordpress, theres definitely more time spent tweaking and updating than blogging.

Theres also a layer in hell specifically for plugin updates...

Then onto Canvas, it seemed a match made in heaven, build with Laravel and has a bare bones style. The love affair didn't last long.

The formatting was horrible and I spent more time trying to get posts looking right than writing them. This was a shame as I really liked its simplicity. Yes, I could have contributed to the project or hacked it to suit my needs, but basically all I wanted was a simple framework that made writing blogs simple and painless.

Next up was Postachio, which in case your unaware is a blogging platform that pulls posts from Evernote. Great, I love Evernote and already use it for writing bits and bobs. A few drawbacks though,

  • it's expensive if you want anything out with the free options (it's free for 1 site with basic customisation).
  • For what is going to be a tech blog, Evernote does t really have any code formatting and can't really handle markdown natively.

The hunt for the perfect blogging framework continues, next stop... Ghost.

I had read about Ghost before but never really considered it as it was a paid hosted service, I wasn't aware it also had a version you could host yourself. I put off using it as its build in Ember and runs on Node.js and to be honest I couldn't be arsed setting it up.

Retrospectively it wasn't hard to setup, I setup Apache to forward proxy to the Node.js port and setup pm2 to keep node running. I did struggle getting https to work correctly over the proxy, but some cursing and vim editing got it working.

Viola! It now runs in a (hopefully) nippy manner, all posts are written in pure markdown and stored in SQLite, although it can also use MySQL or Postgres. I really do like the editing screen, which is split vertically with the left hand side for markdown and the right hand side for the view. I feel I've been missing out by not using markdown for blogging before, it's a simple quick way to create posts.

So for now, Ghost is the top dog (some may even say top blog), nice simple style, is pretty nippy and no nasty surprises so far. Fingers crossed.