Three Breaths

Musings on code, management, and life

We're Putting The Blog Back Together

Posted at — Oct 10, 2019

Wow, has it really been 4 years since I’ve blogged? Well, I’ve got some good news.

I started my blog on Wordpress. There’s nothing wrong with Wordpress, really. It let me easily generate content, and, at the time, my background in software was geared more toward laboratory automation, robotics, and medical device development. I was not a web developer.

But I always felt a little…dirty, for lack of a better word, about having my blog on Wordpress. It seems like a software engineer should be a bit more intentional about the tools they use.

Well after years of procrastinaton, I finally got around to moving my blog off of Wordpress. I hope this leads to a renewed interest in blogging, especially in some of the more managerial topics that excite me these days.

For those who are curious, this is how I went about porting my blog.

Picking the Tools

Site Generation

I just wanted a simple site for a blog, so a static site generator seemed to be the way to go. New tools and frameworks are always coming out, but the two primary tools I considered were Hugo and Jeckyll. Both have been around a while, have a lot of traction in the community, and both seemed easy to get started.

I’m Go-curious, and though you don’t need to know any Go to get up and running, I thought maybe using Hugo would be a bit of a gateway drug to Go. Also, though Jeckyll looks very feature-rich, Hugo struck me as a little leaner, with great docs. So after trying out the Hugo Quick Start, I decided to give it a go (no pun intended).

I wanted a lean, clean style, so I went with the ezhil theme.

Porting My Past Content

It was surprising to see that I started blogging in 2007. I’m not a prolific blogger, but it was a lot of fun to see how far the content went back, and I think it is all part of my story. I didn’t want to lose it.

It seems like some of the tools for porting Wordpress to other platforms maybe slightly favored Jeckyll, but I was able to port the content for Hugo.

After a few false starts with wordpress-to-hugo-exporter, I ended up having success with exitwp-for-hugo, which was just a simple python script that converted the exported XML file from Wordpress to a bunch of markdown files. That was good enough.

I had to do a little cleanup, fixing video embeds (Hugo’s shortcodes were really helpful here, especially for youtube and tweets). I needed to add some iframes to embed keynotes and slides from Slideshare. Code blocks had to be converted to standard Markdown format, but really, that was so much easier than managing code blocks in Wordpress.

I still have some media, mostly JPGs, that I need to port, but they work right now. A chore for another day


This is another area where I felt the Hugo docs shined. After reviewing the docs, I felt like one of two options would work best for me.

I felt like GitHub Pages would have worked for me, but in some ways it felt a little too easy and besides, when am I gonna get to use the custom domains I’ve purchased.

Netlify looked like a clean, easy to use solution, that was also free for my needs. Though there wasn’t a lot of setup, it was fun to confige DNS. Netlify’s docs on this were excellent, and it was pretty simple to set up a CNAME and and ALIAS to work with my DNSimple. Netlify made it really simple to set up HTTPS too.

Next Steps

So what remains now is to start writing. There are some recent twitter rants that I think will make some good posts.

Stay tuned.

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