I love you Pelican, but I’m struggling.

Happy 2017 all!

A little over two years ago, the WordPress instance I had been “maintaining” to run my blog was hacked by a bunch
of script kiddies.

Not like I’m excusing them or anything, hacking someone’s hobby domain feels rather like walking into someone’s
yard and, if you’ll forgive me for being crass for a moment, smashing the garden statues and relieving yourself
in the pool, just because you can. However, I was doing a really crappy job of securing my site.

I had set it up several years before on a Linode. I wasn’t a “Devops” professional at that point, so I really
had no idea what I was doing, and I made every mistake in the book.2017

Static blogging was becoming all the rage, and my Podcast.init co-host was using
Pelican so that seemed like a good choice. It was very straight forward to set
up, and I could run it on a much simpler set of infrastructure. No database, no complex interactions between
web server and interpreter, just a simple instance running a webserver. That’s all. Super easy to lock down.

Being the major nerd that I am, I did automate the whole thing using Chef. You can find the recipes
on my github. I even had it set up so that chef would handle updating
the site when I checked a new post into git.

And, from an infrastructure perspective, it runs like clockwork.

More recently, i was able to even eliminate the instance and just serve my blog from
Amazon S3.

But there’s more to any system than the infrastructure that runs it. It has to be usable in a way that fits the
needs and workflow of its users.

Through no fault of its own, I am beginning to wonder if Pelican doesn’t fit my needs.

It’s a fantastic package for all the reasons I outlined above, but I’m just not posting like I used to. Why?

When I thought about it, I realized that I used to do a ton of blogging in the “in between times”. On the go, on
vacation, or in bed at night while my wife read. WordPress has some superlative tools for this. It has a really
nice web based authoring interface, complete with draft capabilities, rich markup, and the ability to effortlessly
integrate images and other media into my posts.

I’ve tried doing this with Pelican. either using Editorial – the incredie
programmable editor for IOS (You can write Python scripts to do text processing in IOS from your editor, how
cool is that? 🙂 or using Panic’s outstanding Prompt SSH client to connect to my
cloud based development box and do the editing and publishing from there.

And, it works. I have successfully done it. But I certainly wouldn’t call it convenient.

So, I’m looking into other options. At this point, I’m wondering if I’ve learned all I can from running my own
blog, and if maybe I mightn’t be better served moving to one of the hosted services like
WordPress.com.

I’m certainly open to other ideas though, I do enjoy the simplicity of static blogging, but making it harder than
it needs to be feels like shooting myself in the foot.

Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas? I’d love to hear from you if you do.


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