Gray Matter


Choosing a New Blogging Platform Shouldn’t Be This Difficult

RT Cunningham | June 18, 2021 (UTC) | Blogging, Web Development

blogging platformI’ve been using my custom blogging platform since I started this blog. I had grown frustrated with the blogging platform I had been using for years, the self-hosted version of WordPress. During the last year of use, I had been using a custom PHP script to convert it to a static website, and even that annoyed me.

My Custom Blogging Platform

I’ve changed my custom blogging platform so many times, I can’t tell you when I did what. The backend ingredient is a LEMP stack, without the M (LEP, I guess). I’m not using a database for anything, so it’s just Linux, Nginx and PHP. The front end ingredients include TinyMCE (version 4, not 5) as my web editor and PHP SmartyPants to display pretty quotes, dashes and dots.

I tried all kinds of storage formats, eventually settling on individual PHP ini-style files, which can be parsed with PHP’s parse_ini_file function. If you look at the source code of almost any page, you should be able to see all the things I put into it. While building, I pretty much played it by ear. I have no training whatsoever in any form of web development. The area I really lack in is web design. I designed this website, and I’ve never liked the way it looks.

Looking for a New Blogging Platform

Unlike some people, I don’t have an issue with the advanced features that many platforms keep adding, including WordPress. The block editor irritated enough people to cause the creation of a fork of WordPress, called ClassicPress. Both WordPress and B2Evolution are forks of the original b2/cafelog, which itself no longer exists.

I’m familiar with other blogging platforms and content management systems, no matter what you want to call them. Even so, I have no desire to learn the nuances of any or each of them. I don’t like database-driven content management systems because the database server is the bottleneck when it comes to speed. You can make a database server fast, but only if you have a lot of memory to spare.

I like Publii, but the free themes (only four at this time, I believe) leave a lot to be desired. Not in appearance, mind you, but in the ability to customize them. I don’t want to buy one of their premium themes unless I’m content with how customizing one would work. Static site generators tend to suit me more than full-blown content management systems.

Speaking of static site generators, I’m once again contemplating setting up WordPress and then creating a static site generation script. The first time I did it, I didn’t know a lot of what I know today. I’m sure it would be way easier for me to get it all set up. I’ve already set up an instance on a VirtualBox machine. I’ve been playing with it for a couple of days, just going through the settings and such.

There are a lot of things I can’t do with my custom blogging platform. I’m sure I could figure it all out, eventually, but I don’t want to figure it all out. I’m tired of programming. I don’t even write as often as I did a few years ago.

Image Attribution: OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

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