On moving away from WordPress

My lifelog has been running on WordPress since 2005. Before that, I relied on Movable Type for a while. Back then, content management systems were rather straightforward. They were basically HTML forms, cookie-based sessions held together by spit and wire, strapped to a MySQL database. You’d just log in, type words and mark up in one box and upload an image in another box. Finally, you’d submit the form and your words were presented back to you as a new part of your website in your browser.

That’s all there was too it.

WordPress today is… complicated. It’s grown into this sprawling system with buttons and gizmo’s. It’s a byzantine PHP backend which is hidden under piles of JavaScript. A lot of effort has been put into enhancing the author experience, handing as much control as possible over the layout while trying to avoid having the author put down a single HTML tag or CSS selector.

Paradoxically, the entire experience has been putting me of from writing regularly. Logging into WordPress, starting a blogpost, mucking about with blocks, filling out post settings and metadata,… all of it feels like a drag. It certainly does get into the way if you just want to write and publish quick notes on a daily basis.

I discovered that people of the Gopherverse keep gopherholes and phlogs. And people of the Circumlunar Space keep gemlogs. It’s all plain text textfiles strung together with markdown or gopher menus. In the same vain, the last decade also saw a resurgence of static website generators on the plain Web. This blog is just generated from markdown through Jekyll.

I’m just saying that a database driven website authored through a convoluted content management system isn’t the only way of bringing your thoughts to the masses.

I’ve already pondered about moving away from WordPress in the past year. My daily forays into the Smolweb are only convincing me more and more to just take the plunge. It would imply finding a good alternate technical solution to write using plain *NIX tools, and turning that into a website. I would also need to migrate all my existing content, which comes in at 2.415 published items after 16 years. And I would have to re-think the visual part, which I find rather fun to do.