This is my third attempt at a “personal” blog. I’ve run JetplaneJournal.com (a casual tech review site) since 2007, but haven’t really ever been able to get into the habit of ‘personal’ blogging.
It’s always easy to blame the tools for your own laziness, but part of the issue was the amount of friction involved in posting a quick link or note to my old WordPress-based blog. So I decided to dive into the world of simple, static blogging systems such as Jeykll, Octopress et al.
I soon discovered that most of these systems have one major drawback: it’s 2013 and tablets are poised to take over the world. Yet the majority of blogging engines require you to run a collection of scripts to generate and publish updates or posts. While this probably can be configured to be fairly seemless, it hardly seemed like a step forward compared to my existing WordPress setup, which can be updated from a plethora of mobile apps.
Enter Kirby CMS
I’m not sure where exactly I discovered Kirby, but after reading the basic premise and a few tutorials on the site, I was eager to give it a try:
In a nutshell, Kirby is a lightweight self-hosted, file-based, PHP (hear me out!) CMS system. You create templates for various page-types and write your pages as simple .txt files using markdown syntax.
I have three folders, one for each of the pages currently on this site. Within those folders are subfolders for each article that contain the article text and optional media assets. Creating a new post is easy-peasy:
- Open up iA Writer on my Mac, iPhone or iPad
- Write my post
- Save it to a new folder on my Dropbox
The Dropbox folder is shared to my server where Kirby takes it and publishes my post.
Part of my reasoning for wanting to move away from WordPress is to avoid the hassle of maintaining and regularly updating the system. I’ve actually spent far more time fiddling and tweaking Kirby, so that argument doesn’t really hold.
But part of the reason is that Kirby is the first CMS system that I can get to grips with and really customise. It’s extremely simple and modular, so I was even able to take a stock website template from Themeforest and modify it to work with Kirby without too much hassle. Just drop in the right snippets, tweak the CMS and you’ve got a site up and running.
It’s also help me hone my web development skills a bit – I contributed a few minor tweaks to some Kirby plugins on Github and whilst adapting a pagination system to your own liking isn’t everybody’s idea of a fun night in, I found the challenge quite interesting!
Let’s see how long I stick with it, but so far I’m loving Kirby CMS and can strongly recommend it, if you’re a bit technically inclined and want something flexible without too much overhead.