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How I Publish – Back to the Future

Printer working an early Gutenberg letterpress from the 15th century

In How I Publish – Version 3.0, I gave a short sketch of my online publishing efforts. In a nutshell, I started my blogging life on WordPress. When I embarked on the 100daystooffload challenge I used WriteAs. When seeking a more feature rich platform I tried GhostPro. But today is back to the future as I return to WordPress.

Why The Platform Hopping?

Part of the reason, as I outlined in Confessions of a Platform Junkie is that I love technology. ‘New,’ be it a return to something I have used or trying something I haven’t, exerts a consistent pull. But the grass is not always greener. Something which can lead to disappointment. Not because the platforms I try are rubbish, but because their marketing promise exceeds their tech delivery.

Examples of this are platforms who say there is no need for plugins, everything is baked in. Only to find that ‘everything’ needs manual coding or a third party subscription to make the ‘baked in’ functionality work. Call me pedantic, but if you sell software with a comments system or paid subscriptions it should come with it. If it doesn’t, then its ‘point of difference’ over other platforms becomes mere marketing hype.

But there is more to it than that. There is also the issue of administration. Not in a ‘red tape is fun‘ sense, but in a maintenance of a growing archive sense.

I am old fashioned, preferring code I can see and files I can organise. I also have a citation and cross reference fetish. An uploaded image should be available from a central archive for multiple articles.

Logical layout of code, which is fully annotated, is a must. FTP access is preferred. I enjoy a service which runs out of the box on any hosting option. Be it a dedicated root access server or cheap shared hosting. I don’t like software which needs specialist hosting and a highly trained systems admin just to spin up the service.

In short, I like DIY which is genuinely plug-and-play. Not just for the initial install but also for ongoing customization.

Version 4.0

The latest iteration of how I publish has gone back to the future. In part motivated by Kev Quirk who made The Case For WordPress. Marko Saric’s How to speed up WordPress for a faster, greener and eco-friendly site added the notion of site sustainability. Something which I had not considered before when thinking about my websites.

This notion of sustainability led me to the work of Jack Lenox, the Planet Friendly Web Guide and Tim Frick, to name a few. Work which brought into focus the importance of a green web host and an optimized site.

I have used Infomaniak for several years and their Environmental Commitments are very much in tune with notions of sustainable hosting. On top of this base, I have installed the Susty theme (Github as modified by Kev Quirk (Github). Rounding out the look is the Nord Theme colour palette.

While I have made a number of my own tweaks, I am conscious the site would not be possible without the work of others. To them I am indebted and extend my thanks.

Continuous Evolution

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

Winston S. Churchill

In the spirit of change, I suspect this won’t be the last time I write about how I publish. And though I will continue to tinker, being back on WordPress has a homely feeling. Which means in the immediate future I can spend less time obsessing over technical details and more time on my research.

Goodnight and good luck.


William Caxton showing specimens of his printing to King Edward IV and his Queen is is liscensed under Public Domain.


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