I have had multiple websites for myself created in various ways; static HTML files, number of WordPress sites with dozens of different themes, flat-file CMS’s like Kirby and Grav

The flat-file approach is very tempting because of the “simplicity” of it, and I really love testing new things out to know what kind of products are in the open-source market (tho Kirby is not open-source, it has a free trial version).

Publishing posts with just uploading one markdown file, serving static files without the need for the database, improved page speed and load time, ease of making custom themes, no real need to worry about updates and maintaining the site… This all sounds good. Almost too good.

My previous site was built with Grav and making a custom theme wasn’t really an easy job. Grav uses the Twig template engine which has its own quirks and tricks. While some like it being simpler than writing a PHP, I find it being a un-necessary layer of abstraction. See, I really love working with pure PHP – that way I always know what is happening with the code I use and under the hood.

Oh and the “just upload one markdown file to publish content” promise. At least for me, it didn’t work, because I needed to check the CMS specific header markup every time when publishing a new post. There goes the ease of publishing. This might not be a problem for someone who posts on a regular basis and remembers the markup.

So, it’s time to return to something familiar and safe.

Hello WordPress.

I use WordPress every day at my job. I’m highly involved with the WordPress community. I know exactly how WordPress works, all the bells and whistles, tips and trick, quirks and quarks that are useful if there’s need to do some highly advanced stuff.

Publishing is easier than ever with the new Gutenberg editor, which is much more than your regular wysiwyg editor.

Updates and maintenance are easy thanks to automatic background updates and new built-in site health feature.

Good page load time can be achieved with hosting that enables caching on server-side, utilizing lazyload, inlining CSS and javascript, compressing the images… There’s a ton of ways and things to do. For average users, it’s enough to choose proper hosting, maybe install some plugin for caching like WP Super Cache and another plugin like Autoptimize for further optimization.

Making a custom theme is easy, there’s plenty of well-made and ready-to-use themes in WordPress.org repository or you can modify existing theme by using a child theme. There’s also option to do like I did; use a theme that supports Gutenberg, build a site with it and add few lines of custom CSS.

Personally, I do find the WordPress’s default theme Twenty Nineteen suitable for this kind of use. It’s the theme used on this very site, with about 100 lines of custom CSS. Almost all the content is built using Gutenberg and blocks existing in the WordPress core, with a few small plugins I wrote for Last.fm, Pocketcasts, and Instagram integrations. The site was built and old markdown formatted content (did you know that Gutenberg supports markdown out of the box!) imported in one evening .

I must say that the end result is very nice and looks much like my previous site built with Grav – which was the intention. And using Gutenberg is really intuitive, writing experience with “Top Toolbar”, “Spotlight” and “Fullscreen” -modes on is pure joy.

Yes – there are still issues with Gutenberg, from which some being small things and some being more serious affecting many users and even making the Gutenberg un-usable for some. But I trust that the Gutenberg team and awesome contributors to WordPress core will solve the things at some point – there is a good steady drive to improve Gutenberg.

WordPress is what I love to do, the foundation I like to use on the Internet and what I feel most comfortable using. Welcome to my new home.

Cover photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

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