I haven’t updated this site for a long time. Why? In one word: Friction. I had a hacker-based approach to editing blog posts that involved a combination of git, Jekyll, shell scripts, renewing my own Let’s Encrypt certificates, and more. All of those little tasks meant I was spending more time maintaining my blog than writing. That had to change.
Recently, I was having lunch with a friend and former coworker. He mentioned Blot to me. The website didn’t look too hot on my phone. “I know, I know.”, he said. “Give it a chance on the computer.” I’m glad that I took his advice.
What is Blot?
You configure Blot via its web dashboard, but that’s all you can do online. You can’t edit blog content there. Blot uses regular text files, Markdown files, images, and more, and makes blog posts out of them. How do you edit and maintain things? You store files in Dropbox. Blot monitors a shared Dropbox folder and once it notices a change, it pulls in the updates and generates or updates blog posts.
This means I can use any text editor I want, on any platform, as long as I can save a file to Dropbox. Game. Changer.
There are many features described on the Blot help site, and if you want to get more in-depth by customizing further, you can visit the Developer site to see how to make your own theme and other customizations.
Some of the things I like about Blot:
- Editing content via any editor that can modify Dropbox content
- Ability to use Markdown
- Handles drafts and future-dating posts
- Pages, Posts, and other content
- Theming, including building your own
- Web-based dashboard for configuration
- Ability to use your own domain
- SSL-enabled by default, using Let’s Encrypt
- Ability to live preview drafts
- It’s paid ($20/year per site), so it won’t just disappear
Migrating from Jekyll to Blot
Migrating from Jekyll to Blot was easy. There are scripts that convert Tumblr, WordPress, Jekyll, and Squarespace blog posts. I didn’t have that many pages, so it was easy for me to simply modify the files I had to work with Blot.
I started with the following folder structure:
_assets/ drafts/ pages/ posts/
I simply put my Jekyll
_posts files into the
posts folder, moved any static pages into
pages, and renamed my
assets folder to
I then modified the metadata at the top of each post to remove the yaml header
--- and made some other minor changes:
I then went to the dashboard and modified a few settings, including configuring my custom domain, permalink structure, Google Analytics code, and a few other items. Blot automatically configured my Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate and more.
I was able to migrate my site in about 30 minutes, using one of the default themes.
I’ll work on migrating my existing theme over to Blot, and will also post about editing entries from mobile devices.
Now I have a site I can edit anywhere with very little friction, I hope to keep the site updated more regularly. In fact, this post was whipped up in about 10 minutes on my Mac in iA Writer.Posted on 2018-03-21 #site #blog #blot #howto