After a while of having Metaphoric lay dormant (the last thing I posted was back in 2011), I started thinking about what I could improve in order for me to actually start using it. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about; actually I run into plenty of interesting stuff during an average day. I built the last Metaphoric when I was really into making everything dynamic and using CakePHP on a daily basis, so it used Cake backed up by the Croogo CMS (as I was too lazy to write the functionality myself). Turns out this was an unfortunate choice, because while I’m not too lazy to write blog posts, I actually am too lazy to maintain the blog software itself. After a while the Cake version got outdated, Croogo got outdated and everything got terribly slow. So I sat down and looked at the things I thought would be important for my new blog:
Low content-creation treshold. When I was writing blog posts I often found myself typing its content in a text editor, only to copy it over to the CMS later and save it; obviously repeating the process when I was making a change. Saving changes was slow, adding files was a pain, markup was a pain… actually everything about the content creation process was a pain. This needed to change.
Modified layout. The last one was actually a little too fancy, and didn’t focus too much on what a blog should focus on: reading. Didn’t want to spend too much effort here; just take some parts of the existing layout and make it simpler and more reading-friendly.
Static content. I don’t care much about having everything dynamic anymore; blog content after all is simply static content; so that’s the way it should be presented.
I started MetaphoricJS a while ago to play around with EmberJS, but decided this is also not quite suited for a blog (I don’t remember which article pointed this out, but blogs are mostly about sporadic users viewing one or two of your posts, why have them download a whole bunch of JS?). Besides, I get a lot of EmberJS playing time at my job at SRXP these days. So instead I took an entirely different approach:
I like having everything in repos; so why couldn’t my blog be a repo? Step 1: create Git-repo for blog.
Posts are just text files in the repo; every post is simply a file written in Markdown, which of course means I can still mix in HTML wherever I like. But oh no, what if I want to create a post while on the road without access to my own computer (read: private key for checking out the repo)? Solution: put the entire thing on GitHub, which supports sweet inline-editing of the repository.
Screw managing and storing content yourself: I already used YouTube for videos; now I’ll use SoundCloud for sounds, and whatever-box for whatever may come up in the future. There’s a better solution for everything than the one I have the time to come up with.
A Rakefile takes the sources and turns them into a blog, neat, fast and static. Comments were spam-only until now, so these are out. I can always add Disqus or Facebook Comments later, no biggy. I’ve been wanting to use this Rake-thingy for a while now; seems everyone is using it these days. The only experience I have with Ruby was in my first year of Computer Science, and I recall we did not get along well. Ruby is really popular though, so maybe we got off on the wrong foot and it deserves another chance.
And so, here it is: the new, simplified Metaphoric. I’m looking forward to writing about more stuff, especially next week after my knee operation when I won’t be able to do much.