Blogofile - rethinking simple websites

This website has gone through a number of different solutions over the years but during SiteSprint(II) I settled on a new site built with Mingus. Mingus offers a great feature set and is really well made (it makes use of many reusable apps that already exist). However, I was tired. Tired of blogging platforms, I needed to go back to basics.

So, step up Blogofile. Firstly, what is it? Essentially it is a static site generator. You get to use Python, a templating language and a fairly simple but standard MVC architecture. However, the net result isn't a WSGI Python app, but rather a static media. A whole set of HTML and your other files like HTML and CSS too. One clever trick it uses is to take advantage of folder structure and index.html files to create nice URL's.

As I use Disqus for all my comments the content of my blog rarely ever changes. I add or update a post now and then but on a day to day basis, it rarely changes. Rendering the page on each request is really inefficient and caching each page is overkill. My CV for example is stored as markdown on my site and rendered to html, a pdf or a doc as requested - now I only need to do this once.

For me, the main advantage comes from editing almost everything in vim. Now if I want to work on a post or do some maintenance I don't need to go through the Django admin and work in there. I can simply edit in vim and push back to the git repository. Which also means everything is version controlled and maintained in a sane way which fits into my workflow.

Hosting isn't really an issue for me with Django as with tools like Fabric, Chef and Gunicorn it doesn't need to be painful anymore. However, there is something to be said for the simplicity of deploying a completely static site. I don't need to worry about a wsgi server, a database or anything else and backing up isn't an issue.

I do have a few gripes with Blogfile though, they are fairly minor but nothin' is perfect. I'm not a fan of Mako, I'd much rather edit Jinja2 templates. I'm pondering adding this functionality and the nice thing about blogofile is that it should be fairly straightforward to do so. When working on your Blogofile site there is a handy server for testing locally but you need to rebuild manually to see the changes. This is a little annoying and I usually have two tabs open, one doing the rebuild every 10 seconds and one serving.

Incidentally, you can see the code for my Blogofile Blog on github.

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