Why I didn’t switch to Jekyll

Two weeks back the idea of using Jekyll, a static site generator, to power this blog came back into my head after reading this article by Paul Stamatiou. I had experimented with it somewhen last year and liked it so far but then just forgot about it.

I like the idea that I have everything under control, that there is no database and I just serve static files. Plain and simple. No extra markup coming from a CMS or plugin. So the idea of switching to Jekyll began to take shape.

I wasn’t quite sure if it would be a good idea, so this past week I got up early everyday and started writing a new theme for Jekyll, which, shouldn’t I like my new “CMS”, would be easy to port over to WordPress. In the end that’s what I did. And here is why.

The basics of Jekyll are pretty simple, so after I had a baseline of what I wanted I started to read about how I could migrate all of my posts and metadata from WordPress to Jekyll. There are tons of articles, GitHub Gists and whatnot. But I had trouble making it work. But after hours of struggling and trying dozens of different techniques and scripts I finally had what I wanted. Dozens of markdown files with all the content. 2671 files to be exact. (I used Exitwp and did some cleaning up manually.)

Build Performance

But here lies the first problem. Performance. Building the static site takes relatively long with that amount of posts. And you have to go through that with every change you make on your site or when you write a new post – or when you preview a new post. While developing I only ever generated a handful of posts to speed up the process, but nevertheless, I could see that building performance is or would be a problem in the future. Static site generators might probably be better for smaller sites and blogs which don’t write a lot of posts. But I plan on keeping this blog for the coming years or maybe my whole life, who knows.

This is a good cue, because I have no idea what I want to do with this blog in the future. Maybe it stays small with just one author and not a lot of other features besides articles. But I don’t know, it could also be possible that one day I want to grow it into some kind of magazine or something. And what then? WordPress is capable of pulling that of, Jekyll or any other static site generator is probably not.

Writing and publishing

In the end the only thing that really matters is, are you writing blog posts or not. And to be honest, WordPress makes it pretty damn easy for anyone. You have internet and a browser? Fine, you can blog. You can even use an app on your phone or tablet to publish articles. It’s not that easy with Jekyll. You need a command line, you whole git repository, ruby and whatnot. So another plus for staying with my beloved WordPress. And with some easy tweaks you can write Markdown in WordPress, too. I use Markdown Extra Plugin.

Site Performance

One thing that’s bugging me since I think a lot more about performance is that WordPress can get a little cluttered, code wise. It’s easy to install plugins which inject stylesheets and scripts on every page resulting in extra requests even if you don’t need them. But you can make WordPress really slim if you want to. You can remove code from wp_head and you can edit plugins or simply deactivate a bunch that you just don’t need.
And to further boost the performance, you can even serve static html files with tools like Cachify. Or automatically generate and deliver webp images with Optimus. Both awesome plugins written by my friend Sergej.

So in the end I stayed with WordPress. It’s extremely flexible, future-proof and fast if you treat it the right way. And although  I’m by all means no PHP expert, I know how to customise WordPress and I like to build sites with it.

New Blog Design

The new design is a tad simpler than the old one, but I might be putting comments back in and link an archive page and something like that. Also visual tweaks will always happen on the fly. But for now I like it as it is. Clean and simple. If you like to see the source code. It’s on GitHub. Enjoy!

If you have any further questions or feedback, feel free to tweet my at @_martinwolf or send me an e-mail.


SnapRuler for Mac Update

SnapRuler is a tool I use every day and don’t want to live without ever again. I wrote about it in the past and they just released an update with a bunch of nice new features.
For example, you can now hold down ctrl while making a selection to go into some kind of slow motion mode which makes it a lot easier to measure pixel perfect. Great app which is worth every penny. Get it today on the Mac App Store.

Instagram with new feature: Photo Maps

Everything you need to know is explained in this video. I think it’s really great.

WordPress 3.4 „Green“

A release that is especially cool for all the non-developer WordPress owners, who want to change some appearance things themselves. This means it’s good for theme developers, too.
You can find the new developer features in the WordPress Codex.

Post QUOTE.fm recommendations from your iPhone with Reeder 3

Today Reeder for iPhone 3.0 was released. I’m very happy to tell you that QUOTE.fm is one of the newly integrated sharing services.
You can now easily select text while reading a great story in Reeder, tap „Share…“ and select QUOTE.fm.

In the next step you can type a comment and select a category. Exactly like on the website, in the bookmarklet or the Chrome Extension.

Besides the QUOTE.fm integration Reeder 3.0 is an amazing update to an anyway great app. I use it every day. You should too.

flickr introduces responsive photo page

flickr blog:

Flickr’s “liquid” design adjusts the photo page and image size based on the size of your browser window. With that your photos will look great on a laptop screen, and look even more stunning on larger screens.

While I was thinking about how my perfect photo sharing platform would look like, one of my first thoughts was that it should be responsive. So that’s definitely the right way to go. Applause flickr!
But I have to say the positioning of the ‚comments and faves‘ section is a bit strange.
There is also a blog post about the technical stuff.

QUOTE.fm Read WIP Demo #2

Not to long ago I showed you the status of my work on QUOTE.fm Read. I also said I wanted to show you my progress along the way. So today I have a pretty nice update for you, I think. And yes, in the meantime I also did some other things.

So let’s get started with what’s new. The comments are finished and look mostly like the ones you already know from QUOTE.fm.
Furthermore I replaced the standard OS scrollbars in the social reading mode with JavaScript scrollbars. They look and behave almost exactly like the ones you might know from Mac OS X Lion. They looks nice and if you don’t need them they are simply out of your way.
Today I started working on the functioning of the customize buttons. You now can change the font size, line height and width of the text. Up next are the fonts and color themes.

Have a look, click a few buttons, resize the browser and so on and let me know what you think. However, I have to say that everything is work in progress and only tested in Safari and roughly Firefox.

Start QUOTE.fm Read Demo.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.1 Release Candidate 2 now available

Adobe Labs:

April 26, 2012 — Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.1 release candidate 2 is now available.

I’m using LR4 RC1 since it’s release. In my experience it is already faster than the 4.0 Version. So I will update immediately to RC2 since it fixes some more bugs.

Embedded recommendations, updated source & article pages

Marcel Wichmann:

We’re happy to announce that, starting from now, you’ll be able to embed recommendations on your websites. Whether it’s your blog, your tumblr or your self-hosted collection of knitting tutorials, everything’s fine.

Today we released embedded recommendations for QUOTE.fm. We hope you like them as much as we do. They look like this:

Say hello to the new Flickr Uploadr

flickr blog:

Today, we’re excited to announce a new feature that will make it even easier and faster for you to upload your photos and share them with the people who matter to you. Introducing the new Flickr Uploadr!

Yesterday Flickr announced their new (HTML5) Uploadr. Looks great as far a I can tell from the images and feature list. The new uploader will be rolled out over the next few weeks. If anyone of you already has it, I would be happy if you share your experience.
There are even more infos on the technical details and a video on the flickr code blog.