The CMS Quest

Why I will never use another off the shelf CMS

I built my own CMS' for years and was always happy with them; after all I made them specifically either for me or for clients. However one day I stopped wanting to build my own because I was perpetually never done.

So I started my CMS quest, and after roughly 4 years I can say I failed – none of them have stuck, they all sucked and they are all far to complicated – even the simple ones. It's rather ridiculous that in 2009 it takes so much effort to make a simple website with a basic hierarchical menu.

I had been toying with just writing this new site by hand, crafting each page with love and attention so each was different, and then I realized I am busy with real work and I have a life beyond my computer.

Then I discovered Nanoc, It's built on a really simple idea, everything is made from plain text files and templates which are compiled into a static site. I'm so much happier with this system, it allows me to make pages individually and tweak away without fear of breaking anything.

Couple this with Git for publishing and I'm a happy bunny. I now have a workflow where to make a new post, I make a new empty text file, put my content in it. Fill in a few tags, compile, commit and push. The rest just happens automagically with a few scripts. I even have it so it pushes published articles to twitter once I push them to the server.

On the server side I can just run Apache without any dependancies or major security risks, and when I want to archive it all at some point in the future, well it's already done – try doing that with Wordpress.

Suffice to say I am not only happy but actually able to spend my time thinking about content and making small changes now and then to the layout and scripts which will actually improve things around here, rather than constantly updating Wordpress. Ah Bliss.

The image is from the Nokia summer party in 2009.