On Blogging Platforms

I have been looking into various ways to streamline my blogging problem so that I can focus on writing than worry about hosting or plugins.

One of the obvious choice is to go for either Blogger or WordPress.com. Blogger would be very convenient as I am heavily invested in Google services. One of the first things I do on any computer I use is to log into my Gmail account. Both Blogger and WordPress.com provide free blogging but can be very restrictive in what can be done and what can’t be done.

I am inclined to stick with self-hosted WordPress as it is popular and it would be nice to learn more about it. My list of things-to-learn is too long and it seems I am spending more time learning than using platform to get my work done. Self-hosted WordPress comes with its own baggage in form of money, plugins and regularly keeping up with updates. It requires you to buy a hosting plan which can cost anywhere from $50-$100. An open source project requires some a little prepping up. That means one has to find plugins and keep up with updates and security. While this is all fun but can take sometime out of your writing.

Total control over presentation and writing workflow are the two most important aspects of blogging for me. Anything I write and the way I present it, is an extension of me. I am putting myself out there in the open world. I have a strong opinion that world should me more text like and not picture like. I would not like to catch anyone’s attention. I would like to communicate with a few seekers and conversationalists who think alike. I would like users to read my website in any form them like which may or may not involve a terminal emulator. My search for a better blogging platform which satisfies above mentioned criteria brings me to static site generators.

Static site generators are programs that convert text file into webpages. That means I can use my deprecated terminal emulator to write and easily publish html pages using something like Github for free. The templates can be fully modified. It uses Git. The writing can be done in my own environment and I don’t have to spend ours learning about a complex content management system like WordPress.

There are a few static site generators out there. One of the most popular ones are Jekyll, Pelican, Octopress, Hyde, etc. I decided to go with Pelican. Pelican is written in Python which will help me learn little bit of Python and be easier to understand.

One of the disadvantages of Pelican or any other static site generators is lack of web editor. I am sure there are static site generators that can hook you up with web-editor but Pelican requires you to run it and than upload pages to Github. One can use VPS to run Pelican but than that will put you in cycle of yearly payments. It doesn’t make much sense for me to invest excessive amounts of money on a personal website.