Blogging platforms

I’ll also recommend Hover.com for domain registration. I’ve been using it since it was Tucows and it’s already been great.

Edit — also based in Toronto and generally good people as far as I know.

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The way you’ll do this is to point your registrar’s nameservers to your web host’s nameservers. Each web host will have unique instructions for doing this. It’s usually a self-service activity using web forms.

I can understand wanting to do this, but it can create issues when you want to move from local to a server, because Wordpress has a bad habit of using absolute paths. Migrating to a new site can involve risky search-and-replace through database dumps. Not ideal! It’s far more common to do all dev work remotely on the destination server.

This does not necessarily hold true for other blogging platforms.

A combination of PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It is possible, but not required, to make low-level edits. The degree of difficulty around this depends on the level and nature of customization you’re looking for.

You have themes, which handle layout and typography. Then there are plugins, which can add specific functionality. Then there are changes to core, which should be rare and unlikely for a simple blog to need.

Theme editing can be a pain in the arse, because it requires a lot of PHP and Wordpress tribal knowledge. It’s nothing like straight HTML/CSS/JS.

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I’ve been using MAMP to host locally then migrate without any issues on that end. the only downside is having to import/export content and plugins and that can get messy. usually my internet is slow so it’s nice doing stuff local.

but edit: yeah I’ll back up @jasonw22 to say that it is a steep learning curve. there’s a lot of pretty specific knowledge, but once you get over the hump it’s easier cuz a lot of times websites aren’t all that different. if yr just diving in to make a site for yourself I’d recommend not even using a CMS. it’s more of a tool for clients imo

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here’s a guide for what yr looking to do @ht73

https://www.taniarascia.com/local-environment/

the process has worked well for me thus far

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Given your level of experience with development in general, never mind Wordpress as a platform, I would highly recommend starting with a hosted Wordpress site.

Wordpress themes are complicated and difficult to create from scratch, you will likely find one that is very close to what you want and do some basic modifications. Anything more will require more serious dev work.

Wordpress has all the tools for basic style editing built into the admin, so you would do everything through there and never need to host anything locally at all.

All content, including content that goes into the theme templates, is edited through the admin interface.

If you dive into modifying code directly for Wordpress themes without knowing the ins and outs of how the system works you will run into issues very quickly.

For functionality WP works with plugins, again all managed through the admin interface. Unless you’re developing your own plugins or customizing them at the code level, you won’t need to look at code for this at all.

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Just to add that the experience of working with
a WordPresss site (or other CMS like it) once it’s running is not so far from any other web app, like posting here or sending emails in a browser, or editing in Google apps, etc. Of course there’s some more to it, but in general it is along those lines.

And you can save and preview drafts in place before publishing them, if that’s your reason for thinking about editing on your local machine.

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If they offer a package that has Wordpress already installed then that should be enough to get started.

Wordpress is entirely in the browser, you don’t need to install anything. Unless you get into deeper customizations it will all happen on your new Wordpress site directly through the browser based admin tool. It is easy, which is why it’s the largest platform on the web.

There’s little risk to just trying it out, reading/watching a few tutorials, and knowing that you may have to start over after you learn your way around a bit. Which is all normal and fine. :slight_smile:

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I would suggest hosting it on github pages, it gives you versioning and a web-based editor.

I am not fan of having a build-step like jekyll, instead, I build everything directly in the front-end. My wiki for example, uses only front-end javascript, and requires no build step. And I still get RSS, and various other APIs.

I’d consider it, it’s a lot more fun to maintain in the log run. I realize it’s not a “platform”, it’s just a suggestion, if you’re willing to have your own blog, why not make your own platform as well. I would be happy to help you do so if you decide to go this direction.

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I had a great experience using Hugo to develop a complex website. It is quite similar to Jekyll, which I had built a portfolio website with, but with less installation overhead (you just install a single binary) and super fast (the whole site can be built in just a few seconds). There was also a modern feeing dev watcher (something that rebuilds the site on save when you are changing files). Doing complex theming can be a little tricky (you have to get the files in the right places, and that is not always immediately apparent what is expected if you want specific url patterns)

I do not have experience with using the CMS add on stuff that’s out there for Hugo and Jekyll, but that would definitely be needed if the person maintaining the website is not comfortable in git/editing mark down files. For bloglike things for a “non-technical” user, WordPress or simple wisywig no-coding-required square space-like things are probably going to be easier.

For my current personal site building I tend towards using react (with the create-react-app boilerplate), and I’ve done some stuff with next.js (which is a lightweight wrapper around react to make state generated sites…similar to gatsby). For hosting and domain name purchases I have been impressed with ZEIT, and I’ve also heard great things about glitch, surge.sh and netlify. They are purpose built tools for hosting static sites, and can end up being cheaper and easier than managing your own stuff with digital ocean.

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This sounds nice. Any suggestions for someone that wanted to adapt xxiivv for use as a pretty standard blog? Meaning posts in a chronological order, with some kind of automatic date based navigation and an rss feed. Which pieces of the platform would I need and what would I need to alter to get that result?

Sure,

Okay, so my blog is made of multiple parts, but really for a simple blog, you only need one of these:

  1. A database of content, examples: blog.ndtl & recipes.ndtl.
# blog.ndtl
SUPERB TITLE
  BREF : This blog post is about bees.
  DATE : 2019-02-03
  BODY
    Today I saw a bee.
  1. A way to parse that content, indental.js.
indexes = indental(blog.ndtl) # This turns a ndtl file into an object.
  1. A way to display that content, well, we’re going to use html. For rss, I convert indental to rss.js.

You now have a fully front-end database of content, that is human readable and editable, so you don’t need any 3rd party tool to edit. Use any text-editor to edit your database.

On Templating

  1. Get url query, like supersite.com/#some_title.
query = document.location.hash # 'some_title'
  1. Find that query in your database.
entry = indexes[query] # { 'superb title' = {} }
  1. Show it on the template.
document.body.innerHTML = <h1>entry.title<h1>

Voila!
You now have a lightweight, open source, secure and P2P-able blog.

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I use WordPress professionally. For a standard portfolio site/ blog, coupled with a security plugin (wordfence, sucuri), and regular updates, I would not consider security a big problem. It’s very very easy to get off the ground with WP and despite its foibles, it provides a lot of baked in great-to-haves.

I strongly prefer the self hosted paradigm for reasons of data ownership and anti-corporate control.

I would register a domain at namecheap.com (look for coupon codes or use an extension like honey) and host via dreamhost.com. Used to use webfaction for hosting but they have been since acquired by godaddy and I will not patronize them for ethical reasons.

In the non WordPress universe, I’ve heard good things about ghost.org (mentioned above) and always been curious about https://getkirby.com/ - a “nodb” cms that is managed through a file system (through which relationships between objects can still be maintained).

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Ghost is great. I think you can put it on Heroku for free.

I really like Gatsby. I’m a JS dev and I already knew React, so it was kind of obvious choice for me and it really puts the fun back in making simpler sites.
Out-of-the-box performance in Lighthouse audit is great, there’s a plugin for image optimization that makes it almost trivial and querying data with graphql is soo convenient. So far I used gatsby for landing pages, bare-bones blog with data stored in repository as markdown files and portfolio site with headless CMS and it worked great in all scenarios.

For personal blog use I would take a look at hosting it on netlify - the free tier is very generous, site is automatically built from selected git branch (and, at least when using github, pull requests to this branch are also built on separate URLs for preview) and it supports web hooks (so if you need more fully fledged CMS it can be easily integrated with something like contentful).

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I’ve recently been looking at building a new personal website / blog as well. I considered Gatsby because I have worked a lot with React before but really using react seemed quite heavy weight for what I wanted. Which was essentially just static hmtl pages.

I ended up deciding to give zola a go - and so far it seems pretty good. Adding new blog posts is as simple as writing a new mark down file and then pushing to github, and just hosting a static site doesn’t come with all the security concerns of Wordpress and the like.

I also use Hover for domain names and it is fine. :slight_smile:

I found Ghost and Wordpress too maintenance heavy when self hosted and prefer Static Site Generators (SSG). Unfortunately SSG are too techy for most.

Personally I’m more interested in backends as a service which I can use to generate static sites myself and then publish on netlify, now, surge or S3. I’ve recently made an Airtable to Netlify static site generator for a portfolio and I’m currently tinkering with the Are.na API for a personal blog. I’ve also tried Contentful, but found it too be too expensive for small projects. I really like Airtable as a backend, but it unfortunately doesn’t support push, which is a pita, but solvable with a Netlify “refresh” function.

Hope to pick up this project of mine one day as it seems it would take the techy edge off SSG’s.

https://llllllll.co/t/interest-check-audio-podcast-releases-site-engine/8670/11

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Adding https://craftcms.com/ to the list. This may be the next one I try.

Also maybe food for thought, if you are a markdown nerd, your md editor of choice may offer publishing integration with various platforms. Worthy of factoring into your decision. (Could have another thread on markdown/writing editors, I love Ulysses!)

Being a long-time blogger myself, this discussion has me giggling. I’ve been using WP since 2005, and sometimes I think about using a lighter platform, but the static CMS you’re posting are a bit on the nerdy side. Do you know if there is something similar, but simpler, that I could use and update from an iPhone?

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As a non-coder with simple needs in a website, Squarespace has been great for me. Lots of templates to start from, (relatively) simple object blocks to build pages and options for different types of image galleries, audio clips, etc.

Here’s my site as an example that anyone can do it! :smile:

Matthewgavette.com

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^^

I’m going to check this out, thanks. Most of this thread is over my pay grade.

I’m in the same boat, the desire to write about my public land activism experiences, post pics of destroyed habitat, and post Freedom of Information Act files but have no knowledge of writing script.

Might I inquire as to cost for yearly domain registration and hosting?

Btw, what is the camera that you are holding in the about page? Looks vintage.