A New Year, a New CMS

You may notice that it looks a little different around here today.

As I mused on last week’s podcast, I did decide to move this site to Squarespace. For the past year, BirchTree has proudly run on Statamic. Oddly enough, I actually started using Statamic because Squarespace had driven me crazy. So why the move back?

In short, it’s the headaches. I love Statamic in many ways. I love that it’s very hands off with my content, so I get to decide how every last detail works. There’s no graphical interface at all (I disabled the dashboard, which doesn’t do all that much anyway), so all of my work on the site took place in text files and an FTP client. While this gave me freedom to design and write basically any site I wanted, it also meant that if I made a mistake, I could screw everything up.

My most memorable headache happened this summer when I uploaded a new post to the site right before going to work. When I was on my lunch, I visited my site and noticed that a very old post was at the top of the page. I scrolled down to find a long list of old posts from years ago at the top of my feed. Crap! It got worse when I saw that my RSS feed thought these were all new posts and my RSS subscribers were hit with 20 most recent years old articles. Then I realized that my IFTTT action had been posting all of these old links to Twitter throughout the morning. Fuuuuuuuu…

And why did this happen? I simply had a typo in the name of the Markdown file I uploaded that morning. This was before the awesome Transmit for iOS existed, so I was powerless to diagnose or fix this mistake until I got home hours later.

There were other smaller headaches that I dealt with, and over time, they began to wear on me. I started to play the field.

One headache that I’ve had to deal with since deciding to leave is getting my rather extensive content out of Statamic. The web is full of tutorials on how to migrste your blog to Statamic, but very few on getting it out. Text files are great for future-proofing your work, but theyre proving excessively difficult to migrate to another CMS. You’ll notice that not all of my old posts are here yet. I’m working on it. The last 3 months are here and some of my more popular older links are here as well. I’m using a depressingly manual method of getting the old stuff over here, so it will take a few days/weeks before everything is here. I could just leave it where it is (who reads the old stuff anyway?), but I want to have my full archive with me. It feels good to see all of that work still there.

I’ll write up some thoughts about Squarespace soon, but to quote the guys on Connected, I’ve been using Squarespace 7 for a couple weeks and I really like it!