It's quite a long time that wordpress is annoying me: all the daily updates (as soon as you're using plugins). There's even one of these update that was supposed to be painless that have corrupted all my posts. I had to set back the language informations on all my posts. That's really my favorite activity to fix wordpress plugins bugs (I love so much PHP).
My site was not looking as I had wished, that's the problem when you're using themes made by others. With the old theme I had also noticed that there were some bugs, and I couldn't find what was causing them.
And wordpress is sooooooo slowwwwwww. So I have started to look for something else.
This post is not about pissing on wordpress. I could have tested the recipes to make wordpress faster, and I didn't.
I have looked again at softwares that I had reviewed when choosing wordpress, but nothing had changed significantly.
My needs are quite simple:
- I want to have something cute without doing too much CSS and web designing ;
- I want multi-language natively and have it easy to handle ;
- if possible I would like to write posts in another language than HTML ;
- finally if I could import easily the articles from the old blog, it would be really nice. I can do it myself but it would be so better if it could be done automatically.
Seeing how others are doing it, I started testing static site generators. I discovered that there are plenty, just search "static site generator" to be convinced.
You have the ruby based generators, but my feeling was that I would have to know ruby if I choose one of these. So I haven't even tested Jekyll, Octopress or others.
I have only tested python based ones:
- Hyde: the dark side of Jekyll but written in python ;
- Nikola: looks like a fork or an evolution of Hyde ;
- Blogofile: blog oriented ;
- Pelican ;
- and many others that haven't met my requirements or were not working.
I have installed all these, installing is always very easy:
- create a virtualenv ;
- some pip install ;
- a magical incantation (name of the project) with some arguments ;
And there you are, you have a sample static site.
The real work starts now, you have to work on the theme, fill some content, see how you can import posts from your old wordpress blog.
All these projects look the same, once you've tried one, you won't be lost when trying others. They all support many template languages: Mako, Jinja2, reStructuredText. It's the usual problem with choice, when you have too much it's hard to choose.
Anyway I have quickly evicted Pelican and Blogofile, I didn't like them. So I have concentrated my tests on Nikola and Hyde.
I have tested Nikola first, a script was available to import wordpress content. Quickly I had a blog with my old content. Multi-language is native and was working well.
But when I have tried to customize the visual aspect, I hit some magical tricks talking of bootstrap, bootswatch. At the end I didn't manage to have something that would please me visually. I gave up with Nikola as I didn't want to do web designing and CSS stuffs.
Anyway I had my old blog posts in markdown format, this could be useful.
Inquiring on Hyde, I discovered that a blog that I'm following was made with it. Moreover the source are available, so I told myself "cool, it will be only the visual aspect to customize".
So I started to manage a static site with Hyde, building templates from scratch based on bootstrap. For sure, like with Nikola, I have really well avoid to put hands in CSS and web design :)
Documentation for Hyde is really poor, fortunately you can use some sites that publish their source code. Multi-language has to be done by hand, you can also use plugins to help. You have to know python to have something useful (my intuition for ruby was correct !) Beware that there's 2 version of Hyde around and of course they're not compatible (it would be too easy).
And the winner is ...
At the end, I managed to have something that I found cute with Hyde. But when I tried to build some meta-data (posts per month for example), it started to be really complicated. So complicated that I started to wonder about the Hyde choice.
I had my old post in markdown format. I had templates in jinja2 but that could be easily migrated to other template language if needed. I was really successful when I wanted to avoid web design and CSS :)
So finally I have migrated my templates in Mako to run with Nikola, and my new blog is generated using Nikola. It natively handle French / English posts, archives, RSS. The site looks like I wish with a boostrap based theme. I have imported all my old posts.
When you want something you must master the subject: if you want a website you will write HTML and CSS.
PS: of course to have Nikola work as I wished, I had to make some subtle changes and use the upstream version. But that's why we love so much OpenSource software, isn't it ?