Welcome Hugo to the site

A couple of years ago when I started this blog I had a look at the different possibilities regarding hosting, technology and so on. Early in the processed decided that one of my main criteria was that post were written in Markdown. This format makes a lot of sense to me you don’t have to mock around with WYSIWYG editors that always end up – at best – generating some shady HTML.

When I then found Ghost, it looked like the perfect match for me. They themselves describe it as “… a powerful platform for creating an online blog or publication”. Markdown based editor, fairly simple with the right features, and open source. I decided to use the hosted version, GhostPro, because I didn’t feel comfortable hosting my site based on NodeJS based.

The why ditch Ghost?

I have been very satisfied with Ghost, I for my use it worked wonderfully. I only had a couple of smaller issues with it.

HTTPS

I would like to have HTTPS enabled – who today wants to have a HTTP only site? Not secure warning in crome In the near future Chrome will start shaming sites running HTTP with a “Not secure” banner before the URL. It has been this way for forms with password input for some time, and at some point in the not so distant future it will also do this for other sites. Ghost have a way to enable HTTPS, but only through Cloudflare, and I’m not sure I want to move my entire DNS setup to Cloudflare.

Price

Secondly, I find the hosting price, 228$ a year, a bit much for my use. I don’t have a lot of traffic, and I don’t blog that much.

Update 2017-08-29 - In all fairness to Ghost I just noticed I was not paying 228$, but only 96$ due to having an early adopter account. So, the price argument might not be completely valid.

Requirements a new system

I then started looking around for what might be possible. My requirements where something like this

  • Must support markdown
  • Must support SSL – Let’s encrypt would be ideal, but not a requirement
  • Must be flexible enough to let me change things
  • Should be a simple system – it only a blog!
  • Must be easy to post a new post
  • Should keep all my old URLs
  • Would be nice if it was .net based.
  • Would very much like NOT to host a database.
  • Would be nice if it was a bit less than 200$ a year

I then started looking again for options, and concluded that I would like something hosted in an Azure Web app. I already have some apps running for different testing purposes and I know how it works. This also helps with regards to the price tag, as I already pays for an instance in Azure, and I could just add my blog as a new Web app without extra cost.

Options

Ghost again - self hosted

Ghost The first option would be to host my own instance of ghost there, but didn’t want the hassle of getting to know how I worked and what is needed. And I’m don’t want to deal with a database.

.net CMS

ASP.NET I usually describes myself as a .net developer, and I feel very comfortable in that environment, therefore the next option would be to find a .net based CMS I could use. I considered some different options, but they were either way too complex for my needs, or old or dead projects. I also would prefer to use something base on .net core. It’s 2017 and if I in any way can help it I’ll not do another File => New Project for a classic ASP.net project. Also, I don’t want a database.

My own .net based site

.NET Core

A third option would be to roll my APS.net Core site. Not a full CMS in any way, but a simple system where I could write a post in Markdown, and then update the site. This option I quickly abandoned! It would be way too much work, and I just got tired of the thought of dealing with a lot of minute details.

Static Page Generators

Then I started considering Static Page Generators, and I really likes how the philosophy. A static page generator is simply - as the name suggests – a program that can combine html templates and content (often written in Markdown) and generate static files. There is no dynamic content, backend server og a database to serve the pages. Only HTML, CSS and maybe some JavaScript.

Enter Hugo

There are a lot of different generators, but I choose Hugo. It appears to suit my needs, and it’s still under very active development. In the next post will be Hugo So, after a couple of weeks, where I spend some hours here and there, I got this new site up and running. Everything should be where it was before, but if you find anything that does not work, then send me a mail og a message on Twitter.

More info to come

The plan is to write a small series of posts with some of the issues I ran into during the process. The next one will be on some of the things that convinced me Hugo was the way to go.

Michael Skarum avatar
About Michael Skarum
I'm Michael Skarum, an independent software developer, architect and consultant.