Coding Range

From four to eight

May 16th, 2013

Back when I wrote Hello World 2.0, I was enthused about blogging with Squarespace. True to their marketing, they took the need to battle with layout and custom HTML out of making my Wordpress post manageable with a great WYSIWYG web interface, and kept everything nice and simple. Experiencing a product is the best way to try it, and I had been playing around with a trial for a couple of weeks at the time. However, their editor gets buggier the more you try and do with it to the point where I was spending more time fighting the WYSIWYG editor instead of writing. Again.

Unfortunately, my writing habits have changed over time. I’ve gone from just sitting down at a computer and writing to pre-preparing snippets or entire posts and then publishing them at once. And for that I’ve been using Markdown. For most of my recent posts, I’ve been using a combination of MarkdownPad and iA Writer to write markdown, and then just throwing it into a Markdown block in Squarespace and hitting publish.

So if I’m effectively only using Squarespace as a server-side Markdown translator, what do I really need it for at that price?

Effective immediately, this blog is now powered by Octopress. Octopress sits on top of Jekyll to let me write Markdown on my home machine, then from that generate HTML and upload a static site to my server, as opposed to the more traditional method of placing all the load on the server with a quasi-static (dynamically generated but for all intents and purposes static) web page. This allows the site to load faster, run with less overhead, and gives me much more options for hosting, too.

As a developer, I’m also paying attention to performance metrics. Self-hosting lets me tweak with the web server in ways that a hosted solution such as Squarespace doesn’t expose. Content is appropriately GZipped with expiry times set for caching, scripts minified, etc.

I’ve had to manually port over the old content, and I think I got most of it, and all the important content. I’ve had to use a redirect for the RSS feed (now Atom), so I’m hoping most RSS clients will see the change and continue trucking.

Hopefully now, with a framework more conducive to my writing workflow I can again write more. I noticed I seem to have posted less and less frequently in the passing months, so here’s to getting back up to scratch.