Moving the blog around again (and again)

A funny thing happened recently. I was sitting at my desk one afternoon playing with the new iA Writer updates, and I wanted to test iA Writer’s new style check features, so I opened my Blot folder.

Uh oh, I knew right away that this was a mistake, because it reminded me how nice it is to edit simple Markdown posts in iA Writer (or BBEdit, or Typora, or Ulysses, or Emacs, or…) and have things magically collected and posted to a blog.

WordPress can do anything. It works with all kinds of other tools, and its ecosystem is unmatched. It also bores me and I don’t like using it. Editing with “blocks” can be handy, but more often than not they get in the way. To avoid this, I bought the Iceberg editor plugin so editing would feel more like living in text files.

I don’t like writing in Iceberg. It seemed like a great solution at first, but it feels like an editor pretending to be something it’s not. (Or more accurately, it’s pretending not to be something it is). You know what feels like editing a Markdown file? Editing a Markdown file!

My move to WordPress didn’t stick. I can never get comfortable in WordPress for any length of time. There are too many things about it I don’t like.

I don’t like any of WordPress themes I’ve found. They look like they were designed by recent graduates of some SEO-self-branding-professional-development course conducted by a YouTuber “coach” fresh out of a real job. If I cared about an “audience” or subscriptions I might feel differently, but I don’t, so I don’t.

I don’t like updating plugins and themes on a daily basis, even though it’s easy to do. I don’t like having to host yet another app/stack.

Long story short, while I pretend to have valid “reasons” for doing this, they’re really only cover for the fact that I do it because it’s fun.

So yeah, this blog is back to being managed by Blot. Blot is an occasionally fragile but glorious tool made and supported by one person (Is it still just David?) and remains a pleasure to use.

Fun, huh?

I almost forgot about blog-cli for Blot

Now that I’ve (re)fired up this Blot.im-based blog, I needed to go through the usual round of learning how to easily create posts for it.

I nearly always post from my Mac, so this leaves the command line as a good option. I’d almost forgotten that I’d forked a repo from @kahlil and tweaked it for use with Blot. (His works for other static site generators like Hugo).

My fork is here: https://github.com/jackbaty/blog-cli

Note that I haven’t done any work to make this generally usable, so you’ll want to tweak things somewhat. Probably starting with ./lib/template.js.

Then set the path and editor (see usage instructions) and it’s ready to go.

It’s nice being in a terminal and typing something like blog cli-for-blot and being tossed into my editor du jour, ready to write.

Theme change

I ran a quick poll to see which theme people preferred for this blog. Opinion was split, but since I was already inclined to use the Daring Fireball-inspired version, I applied some confirmation bias and went with that one…for a day.

After living with it, I found it hard on the eyes. I simply don’t like dark themes as much. Images looked awful and were displayed rather small/narrow. Also, other than the specific background color, it really did look like daringfireball.net and that just seemed weird.

So for now I’ve reset it to the default theme and will work on some tweaks to that. Sorry it’s so boring.

Apologies to RSS users, since none of this matters a whit to you :)

Wall for Blot

Wall for Blot from Amit Gawande and David Merfield.

I have been working with David Merfield on a little side project. The idea started simple - what if there was a simple posting interface for Blot? In extension, something that one can use to write and publish a post to Dropbox. Blot is simple as-is for writing and posting (it’s all files). But there are times when I do want to quickly post from my web browser. And for such times, I still need a simple writing interface.

Posting via simple Markdown files is nice and all, but sometimes one wants to just drop some text into a browser and be done with it. Wall helps with that.

I miss Blot

Since archiving my Hugo blog at baty.net and moving my blogging to copingmechanism.com, I’ve been feeling nostalgic for a simple, text-based workflow. By “simple” I don’t mean locally rendering a static site (ala Hugo) and syncing it to a server. That sounds simple, but really isn’t. It started when I “accidentally” opened my Blot folder in VS Code (don’t ask). There all my posts were, organized in folders, as plain text.

Mmmmmm, nice.

Blog posts fall squarely at the “Records” end of the Thoughts vs Records spectrum, so posts in plain text are ideal.

Blot has always struck a good balance between the simplicity of text and ease of use. I like using CMSs like WordPress and Ghost because the words are right there: type, save, done. Blot works much the same way, but with only plain text, on my local machine.

I wish I could say that I wasn’t thinking of reviving this blog for something, but I’d be lying.