As much as I like and appreciate WordPress, there is no way for me not to see how bloated it has become over the years. It is definitely good to have all the conveniences that WordPress affords us, but all those extras are great for CMS’s and not a blog, which is why I chose to use it years ago. Over the last several months, I have been researching different options and most of them have lead me to static website generators. There are a bunch to choose from, but, ultimately, I think I will be moving to the most popular one, Jekyll. There are many benefits, especially with performance, to using a static website generator. The things that are drawing me to it are simplicity of creating content and the amount of control over customization. I have been testing out Jekyll for the last few weeks and it has not been disappointing. In fact, I am constantly finding new ways to improve my site.
Writing in Jekyll is so simple. It has a built in Markdown support. I’m using the kramdown version of it. There are other options. Almost all of the writing I have done in the last few years have been in markdown, so this is great. Everything is text-based and I have Sublime Text set up to create new posts/pages with keyboard shortcuts. I have a handful of other software that streamline my workflow, but I think I’ll write a separate post about that.
Jekyll uses Liquid as their templating system. I am still new to it, but it seems to be a solid language. Jekyll also has SCSS support which is great. I am very familiar with that styling language. With just those two features, I can really make my blog my own. On top of all that, Jekyll has a truly robust plugin system. Though I don’t know Ruby, I have been able to take existing plugins and modify them to work the way I want them to. There are so many more things you can do with Jekyll that I really don’t want to list them all out here. If you have a geeky streak, Jekyll is definitely worth checking out.
This is going to be the trickiest part. WordPress has so many pieces to it. There isn’t a simple way to move all my posts to Jekyll. I have tried the suggested method and the “Export to Jekyll” WordPress plugin, but they have not been great. The plugin helped me get all my posts converted to markdown with categories and tags intact, but I will need to clean them up, especially the posts with images. Also, it did not export out the comments. I’m still exploring my options with that. I will be hosting it myself instead of as a GitHub Page. As I am still in the designing stage, I am not worrying about that at the moment. I may just launch the site after I finish the design and just worry about comments and other details later. Having built so many WordPress sites over the years, I have no issue creating a backup of it and slowly merging all my content into Jekyll. I hope to get Wasted Continuum migrated within the next month. We will see.