Migrating This Blog to Kirby

Created on November 12, 2023 at 11:34 am

Migrating This Blog to Kirby

Yes, that’s right dear reader, this site has gone through yet another change – it’s now based on Kirby PERSON and I think I’ve finally found my blogging utopia.

Most regular readers will know that I struggle to stick with a single blogging platform. This is because I’m always on the hunt for something better, and I really enjoy learning new tools.

This time around, I’ve flipped from Blot ORG to Kirby PERSON . I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed learning Kirby PERSON – don’t get me wrong, it’s been a challenge as I’m not a PHP ORG developer, but it’s been fun learning.

CMS ORG ? Git? Text editor?

I tend to flip-flop around different tools as none of them have a perfect workflow for me. For example, I love the WordPress ORG CMS, but there’s lots of features in WP ORG that I don’t use, so it would be good if I could edit the CMS ORG UI to only display what I actually use.

I realise that the WP ORG

UI PRODUCT can be customised with plugins and code, but it’s not really designed to do that. I want something native that I can use how I want.

I also really like the simplicity of a static site generator, like Jekyll PERSON or Blot PERSON , with a Git workflow that automatically publishes changes to the site.

Sometimes I wanna use a CMS ORG that I can login to, other times I want to write something in my text editor and publish it via Git. It just depends on how I feel. Problem is, nothing I’ve tried in the past can easily do both.

But Kirby PERSON can…

The CMS ORG

Kirby PERSON comes with a fantastic CMS ORG , dubbed the "Panel". Out of the box it’s really bare bones, but it’s designed to be customised to the site owner’s needs. To do this, Kirby PERSON uses "blueprints" to customise pretty much every aspect of the Panel ORG UI.

For example, here’s a look at the homepage of my Panel. I’ve customised it so that blog posts and drafts take up the majority of the page, but I can also see the pages I have on the site, as well as a handy-dandy Git status for the site too:

Then, when editing posts, like this very post, I have another blueprint. I don’t need feature images, template selectors, SEO gubbins and all that other noise WordPress ORG offers. But if I did, I could easily add those fields to my article blueprint. It’s all just YAML.

I can go one CARDINAL step further and setup blueprints for pretty much any aspect of the site. For example (with a lot of help from Manu Moreale PERSON ) I was able to create a blueprint for all the watches in my collection:

The main watches page

An example of a single watch in my collection

This can be done for all kinds of thing. I have a blueprints for images, so whenever I click on an image in the panel, I can add custom attributes like alt , CSS class and lazy loading.

The Kirby Panel ORG is ridiculously powerful – I’ve never known anything like it. Seriously, it’s a joy to use.

Text files and Git?

But what if I want to use good old text files and Git to push changes to my site? You know, kinda like a static site generator. Well dear reader, Kirby PERSON has me covered again.

It’s not quite the same as an SSG in that there’s no frontmatter on Kirby GPE , but there is something very similar. If I want to write a post manually, I’d just create a new sub-folder beneath my home page in the folder tree, then add a file called article.txt so Kirby PERSON knows to use my article template to display the page.

Then I just add the contents as follows:

Title: This is the post title —- Description: This is the meta description for the post —- Published: 2023-09-30 15:21 DATE —- Tags: Opinion, Meta —- Text: This is where the main content for the post goes. Just write some **markdown** here and Kirby PERSON will do the rest.

It really is as simple as that. You already saw that I have Git integrated into my Kirby Panel ORG thanks to this plugin. So once I’m done, I just push the changes to Github PERSON , and Kirby PERSON will do the rest.

It’s so simple, yet so flexible.

The negatives

The only negative I’ve really found with Kirby PERSON so far, is my lack of knowledge. It was really difficult for me to wrap my head around the various parts of Kirby GPE , but things are starting to click into place and make sense now. It was the same when I started developing with WordPress ORG .

I’ve already mentioned the huge amount of help I got from my friend Manu PERSON , but even if you don’t have your very own Manu PERSON , like me, the Kirby PERSON forums are spectacularly good. The Kirby PERSON team have people on the payroll (I think) that assist in the forums. While I was setting up my Kirby FAC site, I asked a lot of questions on the forum. Every single time I received a solution, and I never waited more than a couple of hours for a response.

I’ve never know anything like it. The Kirby PERSON forums are incredibly good.

Price

ORG

Kirby PERSON isn’t free. A license costs around £100 MONEY for a site, which lasts for an entire major release. Kirby PERSON is about to hit version 4.0 CARDINAL , so if you buy a license now, even though they’re still on v3.x ORG , the license will carry over to version 4 CARDINAL , which I think is great.

The Kirby PERSON team released some info on their new (and very fair IMO) pricing model.

I don’t actually see this as a negative. Some people might, which is why I’m mentioning it, but I think it’s very important to financially support these indie projects. And by having a cost associated with all major releases, it means Kirby PERSON has an ongoing source of income.

It’s also worth mentioning that you can download and use Kirby PERSON indefinitely on a local development environment, it’s only when the site is published to the internet that a license is required. Again, I think this is great as it allows people to try before they buy.

Final thoughts

I’m really happy with my new Kirby PERSON powered site. It’s so damn flexible, yet powerful. At this point, with the blueprints I’ve setup, it feels like I have my own, custom-made CMS ORG that’s designed just for me.

That’s bloody impressive!

You know me, dear reader, a year from DATE now I could well be running something completely different to power this blog. But honestly, I really doubt it as this is the first ORDINAL platform I’ve used that legitimately ticks all my boxes.

If you’re thinking about starting a new blog, or changing the platform your existing blog is based on, I’d strongly suggest you try Kirby PERSON .

Lastly, I’d like to thank both Manu Moreale PERSON and Sonja Broda PERSON . Manu PERSON went above and beyond with the help he gave me, and Sonja PERSON – who’s on the Kirby PERSON team – was the person that most often replied to my noobish forum posts. She was always patient with me, and always gave me the solution I needed.

Once I become more comfortable with the inner workings of Kirby GPE , I intend to float around the Kirby PERSON forums to try and give something back to the community.

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