My Own Personal Waterloo

Things have been a little slow around here lately.

I decided to move the blog portion of my website to some sort of flat-file CMS. Idealistic dreams of dropbox powered writing workflows, the freedom to write with any text editor, being forced to learn to code in a practical way…it was all so beautiful.

It hasn’t been going well.

I started working with Statamic back in December. The idea being that I’d get everything moved over in time for the new year and that I could relaunch the site along with a new podcast.

But that was a different time. A time of optimism, open evenings, and reckless underestimation.

It was also before our baby became crazy colicky at night.

It was without understanding how deep the rabbit hole of learning to code my own site would actually be.

It was before weekly snow storms and resulting daycare closings. Days full of kids, nights full of catch-up work, and weekends in recovery.

But I’ve finally made progress.

I’ve got my Statamic theme working.

I’ve exported all of my posts from Squarespace, and formatted most as markdown files.

My server is now symlinked to a folder in Dropbox, so posting will be as simple as creating a new plain text note on OSX or iOS.

The only thing left is to try and make some sense of my mess of RSS feeds. They’ve piled up over the years like the Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s time to clean them up. Feedburner is long overdue for the ol’ heave ho.

This has been my own personal waterloo.

But it hasn’t been without positives. I’ve spent tons of time working with the command line in Terminal. I’ve navigated through a few different hosting companies and products before figuring out what I really needed. And I’ve finally had a good reason to dig in, really get immersed, in coding. It took a real project to do it. Sites like Code Academy are great in theory, but without a good motivation to spend late nights problem solving and pulling your hair out, I’ve found those learn-to-code sites to be a little more idealistic than useful for my needs.

The new site should be ready to go soon. You’ll know when it happens because 10 repeat posts will go out over RSS. Apologies in advance…

Some Other Platforms:

I spent some time with a few different platforms while working this out. Some brief thoughts on each:

Postach.io is a great idea, but it doesn’t have the depth that I want (and probably don’t need).

Scriptogr.am seems like a ghost ship. It’s there, it looks like a good solution, but I can’t tell if anyone is still at the helm.

Skrivr uses wonky file names, and honestly I’d like to self host.

Dropplets doesn’t work on mobile.

Markbox is still really immature.

Ghost is SUPER buggy when posting from iOS.

Kirby required a bit too much PHP for my taste, and I just couldn’t get it to work without fiddling around with htaccess.

Second Crack was made to do exactly what I’d like to do, but installation takes serious server-side acrobatics. I never thought I’d have to use VIM, and I’ve now seen horrors I can never unsee.

Pelican seems really great, but to say that it’s command line intensive is like saying calculus is math oriented.