You're reading a compendium of Rizqi’s misadventures in design & coding.

Permalink • October 15, 47239

Seeking A Better Blog Platform

We all mock Wordpress, but we’re still short a new de facto blogging tool.

A few months ago I was tinkering with the concept of a tweet-based blogging platform: simply @mention the service, and it’d compile a list of your brilliant thoughts over the years.

Two problems with that.

  1. 140 character blogging isn’t exactly ideal.
  2. Seriously, have you seen the kind of content that lives on twitter?

Still, it’s a compelling solution for some. It fits some people nicely — like artists, who would easily fit a painting’s URL in 140 characters, or people who don’t want to grab an extra app on their phone (a rather common trend these days, with fancy SMS-based services). I’m still not sold that it’s worth having to dig around the Twitter API and figure out how to get all this to work, though.

At its core, the real problem is that blogging is hard. Not just hard to write for, but hard to customize, if you’re a code-nerd like me. We see blogs so often that our heads boil them down to this:

CREATE TABLE `posts` (
  `id` int(10) unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  `title` varchar(255),
  `content` varchar(1000),
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`),

We know how well that goes. Two hours in, we start getting frazzled working out a good infinite-depth recursive category data structure, or fleshing out a Bootstrap-driven responsive interface. It’s never as simple as it looked at first sight!

And all I want to do is write!

Of course, I could try to beat back my developer tendencies to build everything myself, but that means giving up my nerd card. The page you see now is the result of an overnight’s effort in developing my own little blogging platform.

Codenamed Tabard — you can find its full source over on Github — it’s a quick and dirty flat-file blogging platform. This is no new concept - I personally used Kirby in the past, so I carried along its philosophy. You would write markdown in any editor you want (plus some Yaml if you need extra details), push it up to your web server (or just write it through SSH like the vim user you are) and it’ll be published into a blog post. It all runs on laravel, just as a little experiment. Full instructions are on Github.

Now, I know that I invoked xkcd #927 for this —

— and I do feel kind of guilty for not using, say, October CMS, which is also built on Laravel. It was a fun build — and not one I spent much trying to “architect” as much as I usually do. As an experiment, I welcome you to give it a spin if you need a quick-and-dirty blog in Laravel. Maybe one day I’ll actually refactor it!

P.S. That twitter blog thing is still totally on the drawing board.