27 April 2018
By: Tomas Malmsten

Moving from Wordpress to Cryogen

I've been quite for a long time now. I've had to much work to do for my own good. What time I've got beyond that I want to spend with my loved ones. Times are similar now as then, so I'm probably not coming back to blogging much going forward.

Having said that, I'd still like to write a little something about why I've chosen to change the whole site. This is since I think there is some good experiences to draw from it, not just for a simple blog but also for a lot more business critical situations.

I started my blog over at what was formerly known as blogspot.com (now apparently blogger.com). This was sometime back in 2006/2007. I quite liked it. But then I wanted to have my on URL and that became more complicated. So I switched to my own installation of WordPress. Quite a bit of setup and work, but kinda cool to have done it all my self. And I must say, it was a nifty piece of software for someone who didn't really care to set their theme on it. And there were a lot of good plugins that did all sorts of stuff, more or less useful.

I checked back quite often. It was a nice kick to see the page views go up. Tickled my ego in a nice way. Set up Google Analytics to see who, from where and so forth. Used Jetpack to get similar functions.

Then life caught up, I started to realise I was spending my time with all the wrong things. Work at work, work at home, work on blog posts to share what I learnt at work with others so they could use it in their work. All to make the bosses richer whilst I loose important time with those I really care about.

Oh well, such is life. We get caught up in things and we understand it's the wrong things and we learn and we do better.

But that's just all the reasons to way I don't write that much on the blog anymore. I think it's a brilliant way to share stuff, but I'd rather it came out of work time, or out of time when I work less. Not out of that other time.

Now to the more technical lessons learned. As a matter of fact I also noticed something else that was wrong with the blog I have. Even though I don't come back and write anything I still need to maintain it. It's a CMS. It's got a database, dynamic content, stuff that can break and be cracked. I need to update it and look after it. Now that's not a good place to be when you just want it to rest until you have more time to use it again.

So I pondered this for a while. How could I get rid of maintenance but keep the site. Hmm, I could replace my self-installed blog with a provided blog. But honestly, the move from blogspot to WordPress had been work enough, so no. Should I write my own? No, that's way to much effort.

Then, earlier this year, I stumbled on something that pointed me to this (at least for me) new thing - static page generators. I started to look into it and found out there's a whole bunch of them. So I've picked one, Cryogen and ported all content worth keeping.

Now my whole blog is just static HTML. No login, no dynamic content, no database. Hassle free and easy to maintain.

So, what can I learn from this? Well, as I've discover a (for me) new technology it is something I can take with me in my toolbox. Which I have. Not long after I found out about static site generator a request for a new product site was made at work. The request was for a CMS. After some conversations it became clear that it's not a CMS they need. But a site generator and an easy way for the marketing people to update content. This simplified the whole thing immensely. It also makes the architecture and makes it easier to extend it with an automation tool suite to push out technical documentation and content. All this with increased security.

Last, but not least, I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to Carmen La who has built Cryogen and made this possible. And also to all the people who have the tooling that made Cryogen possible. It's written in Clojure and builds on the great ecosystem that exists in this community.

Tags: Architecture