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Leaving Wordpress

This one's just about blogging software and my workflow. You probably know if you should just check out here, no worries. CMS sickos, stick around.

I set up my blog with Wordpress at some point in the mid-2010s and consolidated posts from a few different sources. I think that their editor had received a refresh; it was a pretty nice WYSIWYG editor in an era where those were starting to become possible and pretty good thanks to the maturation of the contentEditable attribute. I think they might have launched a pretty good revamp of their iOS client as well? At any rate, I bought in and rebranded and of course proceeded to post less than ever. I also enjoyed the freedom of using the one-click install on a budget web host that would handle auto-updating for me, which meant I had to worry just a little bit less about security issues (a constant concern for Wordpress, sadly).

At some point during the development of the "Gutenberg" editor that was built on "blocks" I checked it out and was like "hey this is pretty okay". BUT over the course of its development and thanks to that oh-so-essential auto-update process, I found myself liking it less and less! Every time I tried to do anything I felt like I was fighting with the editor to format my post the way I wanted it to; inevitably I'd find myself popping into the raw HTML editor and messing with stuff, then I'd go back to the WYSIWYG and it would freak out because things weren't exactly how it wanted them to be or whatever. I dunno. It sucked, I blogged less often and found myself on edge every time I did need to build a post for something I considered important enough to fight through.

In the intervening time I did some silly things: I stealth-launched an Eleventy-based blog on Netlify and Github Codespaces to learn how to use them. The workflow was nice and I wrote a dozen posts in a year, but also had very mixed feelings about sharing the project widely for whatever reason. Separately, I got very into Obsidian for journaling and note-taking, both to organize my life and also (in a separate "vault") my work thoughts and essential notes. I dabbled in trying out a "digital garden" tool, found it interesting, then also set up a third-party tool called Obsidian Share that made it easy to publish one-off posts on my vanity domain so that I can quickly share things like my Games Completed list on social media. Cool! But blogging... I remember blogging...

So I finally bit the bullet and spent an evening figuring out how to migrate from Wordpress to Eleventy. I used a tool to translate the Wordpress export XML into Markdown + download images, set up an Eleventy install using their base blog starter, then fiddled with the config a bunch to get it to act normal about all my images and used yq to manipulate the YAML frontmatter so that I could use my own directory structure and all the other picky stuff I wanted to do.

I also went back and inserted the blog posts from my secret 2022 blog. Bonus content! I'm even considering writing something to take the (public) entries from my Livejournal backups and format those, for completeness' sake.

For future posts, of which I'm sure there will be as many as 2 per year, I can now write (like I'm doing now) in Obsidian! I even set up a template to auto-insert the YAML frontmatter and plug in the date. The last step was to set up Obsidian's "Shell Commands" plugin to add two commands to Obsidian itself: one to build the 11ty site, and another to rsync the files from my computer to my web host. And that's it! I need to do a little layout styling to make the site my own, but my blog is now running on static content with a pretty nice workflow for updating it.