Migrating my site from Jekyll to Ghost

I've migrated my site from Jekyll to Ghost.

Dave Brock
Dave Brock

You may have noticed things are looking a little different around here. I've completely redesigned my website and even moved to a new platform, Ghost Pro (hosted). I was previously using Jekyll over GitHub Pages. It took a little bit of work, but I found a great theme (yes, I know, I'm famous for switching themes all the time), found out how not to break existing RSS feeds, and learned how not to break my links. I'm happy with how it turned out.

Jekyll was great. So why did I switch?

Over the last 18 months, I've gone from being a typical "I should blog more" developer to pushing out content consistently twice a week. It's been quite the experience: like working with code over time, some pieces I'm proud of, some make me cringe, but I'm happy with my progress.

I love serving the community, but it can be time-consuming (like most community members, most of my work is on my own time on top of a busy family life and a day job). I easily spend a few hours a month (if not more) on maintaining various aspects of my Jekyll site. As I'm trying to serve the developer community in different ways, I've lost the passion for maintaining my site myself. These days, I want to open a browser and write. (I did try various Jekyll CMS's, but none were a good fit.) I want to be as productive as I can and am OK with not having complete control over every part of my site. It's your textbook IaaS vs. PaaS vs SaaS argument: do you want convenience or control?

That's not to say the time spent maintaining my site was wasted. I enjoyed learning about static site generators and the Ruby ecosystem. It's just not something I want to invest time in anymore. I'm also very happy with Ghost as a CMS. From a pure writing and publishing perspective, I think it's a better and more productive experience for me.

After taking a fresh look at my site, it was a good opportunity to find a decent commenting system.

Scrapping Disqus

Some time ago, I scrapped comments altogether on my site. Comments are a great way to engage (and learn, improve, and exchange ideas with my readers) but I couldn't handle Disqus, the most popular (and free) commenting system. It's bloated, has a sketchy tracking history, and a suspect advertising engine. In terms of performance, I shouldn't have to read articles on lazy-loading Disqus comments just to make its performance acceptable. So, I scrapped Disqus until I could find a better alternative.

I've decided to use Commento, a commenting system that is focused on privacy and performance. I see a lot of folks I trust are using it, and I like what I see so far. It does come with a cost, but it's minimal (and is covered my generous GitHub sponsors, Niels Swimberghe and Thomas Ardal). I'm more than happy to support good software.

I hope you enjoy the new site. If you don't (or you do), please let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!