The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 01 May 2011]

Closer to the metal

Nic switches from WordPress to Jekyll. He’s excited. Everybody else is bored to tears.

If you’re reading this site through an RSS reader, you all of a sudden had a bunch of old posts show up as new. Sorry about that. The reason is that Captain Can’t-Leave-Well-Enough-Alone had to go and switch to a new blog engine.

And yes, reading bloggers talking about their blog systems is often the same kind of fun as reading about somebody’s dreams. “Ooooh, the doll was really me, but with a machete for a hand…” Splendid. Do tell me more.

So the rest of this post is for people who care inordinately about blogging systems. Everybody else can move along and enjoy their day.

The problem with WordPress

I’ve powered this blog with WordPress since 2006, when another content management system had a rather spectacular meltdown—the kind of meltdown that takes a few days of non-stop effort to restore and in the end only validates that you made a bad decision.

Oy vey.

But let it be said that WordPress has served me well. At this point WordPress is a mature and solid content management system. It’s the first thing I recommend to people who are new to blogging—a fantastic system for people who aren’t nerds. Hell, I built a news site on WordPress, one which is run by students on a day-to-day basis, and works shockingly well.

But for myself, I don’t enjoy blogging with WordPress any more. It’s big. It’s slow. It has the kitchen sink built in. The abstraction chain is too great—I looked at the HTML my blog outputs the other day and was stunned at the sheer amount of JavaScript and HTML my plugins were pushing out. In short, there’s too much magic, magic of the bad kind. I need to be close to the metal and know what’s going on.

Being the paranoid kind, I also have this kind of subroutine running in the back of my mind all the time saying, “Your blog is going to get hacked! Did you install the latest security patch? Did you? Did you? Larry? Larry?

That little voice is no fun at all.

Making the move

Prompted in some part by Brent Simmons, who rightly finds it unconscionable that blogs in 2011 are still keeling over from a fireballing/slashdotting, I wanted to find a system that would allow me to serve static HTML and not have to worry both about performance. As a side-benefit, I wouldn’t have to worry about security as much either.

Jekyll fits the bill. What we have here is a system that allows you the flexibility of a content management system, but serves up baked HTML. It’s the best of both worlds. I, for one, am signed up.

Apart from the Wiki at GitHub linked earlier, there is an indispensable guide to migrating to Jekyll from WordPress. If you want to follow me into the wonderful world of baked blogs, please read it. It’s wonderful. Kudos.

At this point, I feel liberated. It’s a good, good thing.

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