Last time I looked at Pico and Grav. I was going to look at Kirby CMS this time, but I encountered two things that stopped me before I even downloaded it.
First, upon perusing the cookbooks, you have to setup the same kind of one-directory-per-blog-post structure in Kirby that I didn’t like in Grav. Just for the record, contrary to Kirby’s tagline, that is not “adapting to your content,” it is, in fact, “forcing a strict ruleset upon your content.”
Second and perhaps even more importantly, Kirby actually costs money. $109 to be precise. You can download and try it for free, but apparently you have to buy a license to publish your site. In a world where anyone can name at least 10 different free web site publishing solutions off the top of their heads, that’s a puzzling business decision.
Granted I am working toward a very non-standard, custom situation here, the kind that could easily require paying professionals to implement. However in this specific case, I happen to have the skillset to do the work myself, if necessary.
But I don’t particularly want to, and it’s not necessary yet.
Finding Old Content
Despairing once again about finding a blogging platform that fits my requirements, I turned to a different project area to see if I could make any progress: Converting old WordPress posts into Markdown.
But first I started to look for backup copies of my old content. This led to a bit of a rabbit hole, and I got distracted from the task at hand.
I already have a nice directory of WordPress XML files for my content starting from 2003.
What I don’t have is any sort of structured backup of content prior to that. I would love to “reconstruct” my writings from before then, which would theoretically go back to around 1997, but it’s going to involve combing through backup CDs and the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
First, I found a backup from 2003 that contained pieces of old posts from 1999:
That is a plain old HTML file, called “news_old2.html,” created with Microsoft Frontpage and uploaded via. FTP to my web site. (Technically it’s a backup of the news.html file that was uploaded.) The underlying data looks like this:
HTML from FrontPage is technically structured data, but not that structured. I’ll either have to write a script to convert it or simply cut-and-paste the text of those posts into a new format (ie. Markdown), both of which sound equally time-consuming.
Last night I spent more time digging around the Internet for my oldest writings. I pulled some web pages off of the Wayback Machine from 1996-1997.
Then I found an obscure backup directory that contained almost all of my web site files from 1998, a previously lost year!
In a less obscure backup directory I found most all of my web site files from 1999 through 2001.
And I finally found my web site files from 2002 (which was an off year where I only posted exactly two updates). That filled in most of the gaps of missing content before 2003. Now have a copy of almost every piece of writing that I’ve put on the Internet from the year 1997 through today.
If only there was a way to find all the messages that I put on old dial-up BBSs forums prior to that. That stuff would probably stretch back to the 1980s.
Looking at all this old content is a bit overwhelming. How am I possibly going to get all of this stuff into a coherent archive, all in one data format? How am I going to control access to it?
That led to the topic of Overlapping Identities On The Internet. There have been a number of blog posts about it lately. I wrote a little bit about it myself. I saw that Naithan also wrote about it. Even the venerable Tobold recently chimed in with some thoughts on this.
I feel a very strong need to maintain a clear separation between my “professional image” and my “personal self.” Not just because it’s the professional thing to do, and the least likely to cause me to lose a potential future job, but also because there’s a certain level of personal anxiety that comes from mixing up identities.
For example, I goofed up a bit and left my name in my last post. I don’t mind associating my real name with Linux and web development (as that is a “professional” endeavor), but I’m not too keen about associating it with a games blog or fantasy and science fiction.
People my age do not play games, period, the end. They don’t read fantasy or science fiction, they don’t play Dungeons and Dragons, etc., etc. I would be mortified and ashamed and embarrassed beyond belief if anyone among my peers in a workplace were to ever discover that these are things I’m interested in. It was the same in middle school, and high school, and college, and every age since then. People my age in my area are taught to be interested in only these things: Family, Home Improvement, Retirement Plans. Acceptable hobbies include: Golf, Cooking, Hunting, Cars, Gardening. That’s about it.
(Yes, yes, I know I’m stereotyping, but Geekdom is extremely far outside the mainstream for my age group and locality. Certainly for people older than me, and one’s employers are usually older than you are.)
This all affects my theoretical blog design because I said I wanted to put all my content in one place so it’s easier for me to maintain and update. But that content overlaps several different hobbies, personal and professional topics. In the old days, pre-Facebook, there was safety in knowing that nobody in “real life” ever went on the Internet. Those days are long gone now.
To say nothing of all the personal writing and journaling I’ve done that I’ve never published on the Internet. What do I do with that?
That went off on a weird tangent there. It’s because I’m foundering a bit with my project and don’t quite know where to go next.
What Have We Learned?
Kirby CMS is a non-starter.
It’s really easy to fall down a rabbit hole of nostalgia.
I have a lot of content to figure out how to display and control access to, and it’s extremely overwhelming to think about converting it all.
One week ago I said I didn’t like to use headings in my posts, and then I started using headings in my posts. Humans are funny.
I don’t know. Once again, it seems like the “path of least resistance” is to write my own custom software. I suppose instead I’ll read up on some other blogging platforms. I found this nifty web site which has a list of flat-file CMS software.