Last Monday, I switched my blog to a new domain, a new (static) hosting instance, and a new blogging engine, Octopress. After a week of living with it, here’s a brief list of my thoughts about the experience of blogging with a static site-generating engine.
Being able to write and preview my blog posts when offline is a big plus, especially if your wireless chipset is one for which Ubuntu’s support can be politely described as flaky.
It’s also a lot easier to write distraction-free: even writing in gedit is more productive, and more fun, than writing in the default WordPress editor. TinyMCE’s formatting quirks were, to be quite frank, a pain in the arse.
Setting up your source files in a remote git repository is enough of a pain that I haven’t bothered to try it, but I imagine that once it’s set up and working, the convenience of being able to update your blog from anywhere far outweighs it.
The theme is really easy to customise, and wonderfully easy on the eye. It does, however, have a problem on the Windows Phone version of Internet Explorer—the navigation bar is replaced by a pop-up menu which renders as empty on the Windows Phone browser. (This is probably IE being a bit shit rather than Octopress’s fault, though.)
In short, I still recommend WordPress for most users. If you have a Unix-like OS, though, and like the idea of submitting your blog posts with a
rake generate && rake deploy followed by a reassuring thunk of the return key, Octopress may be for you. It’s great: definitely consider it if you’re a programmer or hacker of any kind.