Blog refresh: WordPress

I’ve come full-circle. My very first websites circa-2005 were built with a CMS (Joomla or WordPress). I started messing with custom themes and plugins (which is how I really learned to code) then drank deeply of the semantic web koolaid and started hand-coded everything in XHTML, CSS, and PHP. I migrated to a static site generator seeking simplicity and reduced hosting costs, and now, umbrant.com is again powered by a full-fledged CMS: WordPress.

I’m still a fan of static site generators, but my old blog was hobbled by tech choices I made in 2011 when I first set it up. Since I didn’t speak Ruby, I passed over Jekyll and chose Hyde, a Python clone, as my static site generator. I made a lot of customizations to Hyde to get it to work the way I wanted, and shortly thereafter the Hyde project then stopped maintaining their stable version while working on a complete rewrite. I think this rewrite never finished, and the rise of other Python SSGs killed off the project.

A screenshot of umbrant.com powered by Hyde. Memorialized here for posterity.

 

This meant I was spending time maintaining my forked version of Hyde rather than writing blog posts, and making any change almost always required poking at the infrastructure. It was also difficult to blog while away from my computer, since publishing required setting up a circa-2011 Python development environment, git, and my Github and AWS credentials. I managed to slightly streamline this by dropping S3 in favor of Gitlab pages, but it was still a complicated system.

The writing experience was also poor. I like writing Markdown as much as the next guy, but there’s the inevitable trip to Daring Fireball when you reach for some uncommon syntax, and a few compile/test/fix passes at the end for syntax errors. Including and managing rich content (e.g. pictures) was entirely manual. WordPress isn’t the best at these things, but its miles better than the alternative.

So, WordPress. I made the perfunctory search for alternatives, but WordPress was there in 2005, it’s here in 2018, and it’ll likely remain a top-flight blogging platform for years to come. Most of the other platforms also support importing from WordPress, so it was worth the time to manually convert my existing content. There are some additional things I’d like to customize that go beyond CSS, but the memory of maintaining Hyde quickly soothes those urges.

New version of umbrant.com powered by WordPress. Theme is lightly modified.

 

Welcome to my new blog!

1 comment

Welcome back to the blogosphere!

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