I’ve been using WordPress for a long time, and it always served me well. The installation is easy to do, the maintenance is painless, there is a plethora of good plugins and themes that make the it a pleasure to use.1 The only downside for me is that Wordpress is a little resource hungry, or should I say, that my Wordpress installation with all the plugins I have added increased the resource demand. This was never an issue when I was using TextDrive, but since I changed to a small instance of a Virtual Private Server (VPS) resources don’t abound.2 That been said, the server has been working admirably well, considering its capacity and all the services I have installed.
So instead of trying to optimize the Wordpress installation, or increase the VPS resources, I have finally took the plunge and converted my personal web pages from Wordpress into a static generated site. There are several good alternatives currently available3, so much so, that it took me a while to choose one. I was undecided between Hugo, Jekyll and Pelican.
Hugo is a fast, easy to install almost everywhere and written in Go. Although it is relatively recent addition to static site generators, Hugo has gained much attention with a fast release cycle, and a healthy number of contributors. The fact that is written in Go, a language I plan to learn it in the future, also weighted favorably.4
Jekyll is much more established and mature, has a large community and probably is the most popular of them all. It is written in Ruby, a language that I’m already comfortable with and is a pleasure to use. The upcoming release has many interesting features, and it seems that it is experiencing a renaissance.
In the end I decided to use Pelican, it is a mature, fast enough and written in Python. I’m not as comfortable with Python as I am with Ruby, and using Pelican can create more chances to get better at Python. I also liked the documentation, the file structure, the fact that it uses Jinja templates and it is easy to add extensions and plugins. There is also good praise about it, and a wealth of blog posts about the process of setting it up.
Any of these tools would be equally adequate, and since they all use simple Markdown files with metadata, changing from one generator to another is not very difficult.
I was planning to take this opportunity to create a theme from scratch but fortunately, and very unusually, pragmatism prevailed, and I opted to modify an existing theme instead. So I forked pelican-sundown and created pelican-midsummer. For now it is good enough.
What about the old posts? I’m trying to convert them, but is not a priority and this might take some time.
The auto-update feature have consistently worked without any major issues. ↩
I could go on and on, on how I feel about the handling of Lifetime accounts by Joyent after acquiring TextDrive, but much have already been said about it. Since the TextDrive debacle I’m convinced that VPS is the way to go. It is easy to change providers and to configure the server to our needs. ↩