Little bit of a histoy of my blog at various platforms.
This is my third attempt at blogging.
First one is still on hosted wordpress site. In a way, that is nice. Pretty much no administration needed. One can install the plugins that are tested by wordpress.com They also upgrade the platform for you. Great for testing the waters for the first time blogger. I think it is better than blogspot (I can't remember if I had one of those, and moved to wordpress)
But after a while one (at least, I) becomes ambitious. I had my own wordpress blog hosted on my own domain. It was a great experience. I got to try my hands at setting my blog just the way I want. But after initial excitement was over, it started to become burden. One had to spend a lot more time administering the blog (upgrade to latest version of wordpress, and the plugins) and less focus on writing. I never upgrade the blog to wordpress 3 (which by now is very mature) I always kept postponing it because upgrade might break things, so I would do it when I have enough time.
Unfortunately, after a while I wasn't writing much, and stopped paying attention to the blog. I had also used my non-standard email ID with the hosting provider.
The cascading effect was recently I lost access to my blog and the domain. It was completely my fault. My hosting provider did send multiple reminders for renewal, but I wasn't checking that account often enough, and when I finally did, they had probably given up. (I did contact them later, but they ignored my emails)
But I definitely learnt a lot.
Then while I still had my self-hosted wordpress blog, along came posterous. What I liked about them was I could post via email. I really liked the concept. They didn't great themes like wordpress, but if the focus was writing, then it shouldn't matter.
…. and then they were acquired by twitter. As everyone had predicted, twitter shut them down.
This was kinda the last straw. I had two blows back to back (One was my own fault, other not so much) But the result was in both cases, I had lost access to my blog.
Finally, Static website …
This was the time, static website generators were picking up. Over at HN I came across several options like Octopress, Jekyll, Pelican . (I chose Pelican because it is written in Python, language which I am comfortable with, as opposed to Jekyll and Octopress.)
It is easy to host the static website anywhere, include the Free Heroku plan (Which I might do in future) But hosting it on github seemed like an easy and popular choice.
BTW, I did get a backup of all my posterous posts, but they were in XML format. Format which was not useful to me as-it-is. There is a ruby script that “downloads” all your posterous posts and converts them to markdown. It was not without problems, but it worked. But it is a topic for another post.
Securing the source
Based on my recent experience, I am aware that github might one fine day decide to stop supporting this feature. But if they did, that is OK too, because I will still have access to my contents in the git repo in the form of “source code” With Pelican I can re-generate the pages, and host it someplace else (like Heroku)
What if github shuts down (or makes all accounts paid, or bought over my big company, and the parent company shuts it down, whatever..) I have already thought of contingency plan for that as well. I push the same “code” to bitbucket repo as well.
While I think chances of both github and bitbucket going away at the same time are slim to none, One can always have the copy of local git repo in the dropbox folder, for additional security, Can you not ? :)
Photo by Gareth Davis