A shift.

So I finally caved and switched this platform to Ghost. I had been flirting with this idea for a long time, and the release of the 1.0 version of the Ghost platform and the my general inactivity on the site, I felt that this was an excellent time to make the move.

Moving back to a dynamic site still carries with it the same issues and concerns that I had when I switched to a static site. There are many more avenues of attack and ways to compromise a dynamic site. Performance will never be as fast as it is with a static site and the software needs to be managed.

None of this has changed.

What I did find, however, was that there were significant breakdowns in my static site workflow that worked against my posting. What I value in a dynamic site is the ability to move my ideas from the edit screen to published post in a relatively short period of time. That was never possible in a static environment. I could create amazing sites with both Hugo and Pelican, but the update process, moving from markdown article to published post, required significantly more time and work. This created, at least in me, a sort of paralysis of posting. I have a dozen or more half-started, now-discarded, posts that were trapped in that editing phase.

Ghost, or really any dynamic site, solves that problem. I chose Ghost because I do the majority of my writing in Markdown and I like the sleek feel of their editor. Finally, there is Quill which allows me to post via mobile again. I didn't realize how much of a loss that was until I didn't have it.

Does this mean I don't use static site generators? No! I still do. In fact, All of my research notes are built in MkDocs. What I discovered is that the very issues that were hampering my blogging were valuable in my note-taking. In that space, there is already a segmentation in the workflow: I am often moving from written text (physical notes) to Markdown and adding and revising as I do. There, I need a system where I can track updates (git) and publish my notes in an easly accessible, searchable, format. Because the notes are not time sensitive (I am not trying to post a set of notes daily, for example) I can revise and add as I go. I'm planning a more detailed post on this later, but I think the lesson is not that one tool is better than the other, but that different tools suit different methods.

Another break from the past, is the fact that I actually paid for this theme. I am becoming more practical in my old age. I like building my own themes, but I have enough sites and work (that pesky dissertation isn't going to write itself) to do that I didn't want to spend the hours working on a new theme for my own site. Eston by mikedidthis wasn't horrendously expensive and is easily editable and customizable. I have added a few small tweaks here and there, but I actually really like his work. This will be a nice base to build on.

I am looking forward to seeing how it develops from here.

Cover Photo by Daniel McCullough / Unsplash