Instant Blog

It seems more difficult than ever nowadays to choose a half-decent blogging platform. WordPress is still the king of the scene, it seems to me, but I've always found it clunky, slow, and overloaded. Granted, its plugin system works wonders for every single form of customisation, and the themes system is a brilliant way to pick and choose the design of your site without getting into the code, I've always appreciated the simplicity of things like Jekyll using markdown and git to make posts.

So, if I'm not choosing WordPress to house my site, why not Jekyll? Well, again, I've got a problem with it - there's too much effort involved to post a simple post. When I'm writing, I'm focused on the content of my post - I don't want to be distracted by having to faff around with the command line when I could just be typing in a syntax that works for me and pressing a button to get my thoughts out to the world.

The idea of using Git really struck me, though, and it's one of the reasons why my blog domain has sat vacant for so long. For a while, I planned to create my own system for blogging, which used flat files to produce posts, solving my one issue with Git-based blogging, that being that there is no automatic pagination and listing of posts on the homepage. However, that idea having sat on the shelf for a good amount of time, I eventually decided to make a compromise, and for me, that compromise was Anchor CMS.

Anchor is based on PHP, which, while being slightly detestable to me personally, means it's really quite straightforward to install. Although I had some hiccups during installation, most notably a recurring error involving SQLite databases, I found that making a MySQL database instead allowed the installation to go through smoothly. There's no denying that Anchor is far more barebones than WordPress, but to me, it's a charming system. The default admin theme, although light, is comforting to the eyes and minimally distracting, for one, and, although the actual site's theme would be well served to be replaced, I appreciate the simplicity and minimalism that comes with Anchor out of the box.

One thing that disappointed me was the issues with images - the team behind Anchor (it's open source, by the way) seem to be working on this actively - since they don't appear to be drag-and-droppable into posts right now. This was easy to overcome though - since I already have an image host, I simply uploaded the image, and took advantage of Anchor's brilliant support of custom HTML tags to pop in an image - although it'd be nice to integrate this into meta tags somehow.

I'm eager to explore Anchor, and see if it's the right fit for me. Still, for me at least, anything's better than WordPress.

- Jack

Jack Mawer

I'm a young student into programming, gaming, and really good films, from Hertfordshire, UK.