In 2018 I wrote my own blog engine and it's time to move off.
# Tooling is fun until it isn't
I like writing code and thought this was going to be a fun, easy project. How hard is it to write a blog engine anyway?
The truth is I would rather be writing or coding new things then building and maintaining something that's been done thousands of times by other people. Yes, the foundation of a blog isn't hard, but the challenge is in the details. Here are some bits of grief I encountered:
Yes, Frozen-flask allowed me to turn my site into a static site. However, the compilation time took over 5 minutes. While I ran my site locally on localhost, testing out additional features to see how they rendered in the final build took too long. For example, my plans to optimize page/image loads and add search came to a screeching halt.
The end result was that for all my fun in writing the Mountain blog engine for myself, I felt uncomfortable with the results. Every time I visited my blog to write I would see the problems in the current system, try to fix them, then step away.
It's been time to migrate my blog for a while.
# Choosing a new blog engine
A few months ago I wrote up these requirements:
- Must be a static site because Jamstack rocks.
- If not using .html extension, must easily redirect from .html to as not to annoy old readers. Netlify's redirects are perfect for this kind of thing.
- Search needs to be a thing.
- Powered by VueJS because it's my favorite frontend framework.
So when I saw that my coworker, Amanda Quint had started a Vuepress blog I decided to give it a try. Setup was easy, but as always the challenge was in the details.
# Migration challenges
My current blog is over 7 years old and has over 130 articles. I ran into a number of problems with converting from a forgiving blog engine I wrote to something designed to prevent you from having missing content. There was also coming up with a theme.
Fortunately for me, my co-worker and friend Ahmad Mostafa helped me out. Together we converted my blog over. He did a ton of work on my blog conversion and for that I am very thankful. I look forward to collaborating with him in the future.
# Moving back to GitHub
Yes, I'm hosting my blog repo on GitHub again. While I've been a user of GitLab for many years, and vastly prefer it for private projects, GitHub is where most the open source communities I'm involved in lives. Time to come back.
# Going forward
We'll be making changes in the days to come. Some things we'll be doing:
- Add page transitions like what Amanda has on her blog.
- Increase the accessibility of the design.
- Change the front page hero panel in some way.
- Write more articles!