Looking for a Simpler Way

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I've wanted to do a few little tinkering projects recently around CSS Grid and also maybe a git-based CMS for blogging.

Writing shouldn't be a chore. I write all my notes in Markdown.I have for years. I work in text editors whenever possible and hate having to rely on services inside a browser to collaborate or create content.

WordPress has done marvelous things over the past few years. They've come a long way into the domain of true commercial CMS competitors. They achieved the goals I always knew they were capable of.

But at the same time, I feel like it now surpasses my needs. I almost never post anymore. I'm more time poor than I used to be and WordPress became an unfamiliar landscape based around SEO and social media and competing with platforms like Squarespace.

I just want to type and post. I want to dabble and play. I want to test out concepts and designs in a much simpler way.

So, I'm going to experiement, starting with Netflify. The theory is that I should just be able to write a blog post in a text file in my text editorand push it to my git repository.

So I'm going to try to minimise the friction between writing and publishing. I used to find it easy and enjoyable. I wonder if I'll get to do that again.

At the moment I'm still waiting for the DNS to propogate, so there's nothing there. This, I'm sure, will be small steps taken over a long time. But I've needed a project around this part of my life for some time.

Post Script: Also, WP doesn't seem to be playing nicely with my Firefox settings at the moment, so that's just another barrier. Sigh.


  • Willem van Ketwich
    10 June 2019

    While you’re checking out new blog engines, check out Hugo. I use it for my blog (http://seso.io) and it integrates directly into github and builds from markdown. There’s a few other static site generators out there too like Jekyl and Gatsby that may be worth looking at as well. The best part about static site generators is that they can be hosted by github for free. HTH.

    • Josh Kinal
      10 June 2019

      Thanks, Will. I’m running Netlify on a Hugo template at the moment. I already pay for web hosting for a bunch of other things, so that’s never been an issue.

      Netlify made it really easy to install but I’m curious about running Hugo, Jekyll or Gatsby without it.

      It’s been a long time since I got my hands dirty with code, so I’m expecting this all to take quite a while.

      • Willem van Ketwich
        10 June 2019

        Ah, well funny you should ask, I happen to have done a blog post on it here: :)


        But there’s also plenty of other resources out there on how to do this:


        You basically have a repository under your name that is your name: e.g.


        .. and set the relevant repository settings for github to identify it as a static website.. it can even use a custom DNS.

        In my blog I’ve split the build and deploy process into separate repositories, but this isn’t a requirement – it can all just be on the wilvk.github.io repo if need be.

        Jekyll has been the defacto for github pages for a while but Hugo is becoming more popular as it runs on Golang. Gatsby is a relative newcomer and is gaining popularity as it’s written in React.

        Static pages can also be deployed and run on AWS S3; and can even use AWS CloudFront to reduce latency for visitors from far away places which is pretty cool (but that’s a bit more of an advanced topic).

        On my blog I’ve integrated Google Analytics for website visit stats and disquss for visitor comments – so you get most of the functionality of a live website on a static website.


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