I’ve got blogs and I’ve got blogs.
That is to say, I’ve got three public facing blogs (this one, one on gaming and one general themed) and then I’ve got various things for my eyes only. Matt Mullenweg is quoted somewhere saying that he can with great certainty instantly recognise a WordPress site and I don’t think mine would be any exceptions. I have used WordPress for all my CMS needs so far but for various reasons – the most pressing of which was the need to run various services under the same shared https protected subdomain – I started looking elsewhere for some projects.
To cut a long story short I ended up choosing Bolt even though at first I had discarded it, basically for being just WordPress light. Because that’s what it is. PHP-heavy, MySQL-only database, extensions, themes, a very familiar-looking admin area, the works. Only on a much much smaller scale of course.
Partly I was curious to try out a different approach to the well-known one, partly I was hoping for something more minimalist and maybe even more portable. Pico and Anchor CMS were some of the candidates I was rooting for (just write your posts in markdown on a local filsystem and synchronise it with your server and they’re up!)
So why did I choose Bolt after all? The problem with the desire for minimalism is that you always discount your requirements from the minimalism. Minimalism means not having all the features you do not need. I wanted to make my site private. I wanted a decent online editor. I wanted tags and theming and categories. I wanted a CMS that knew what a blog post was.
So yes, Bolt was chosen because the other candidates fell by the wayside. But I have to say that it has grown on me. It feels quicker and more agile than WordPress. And it has introduced me to Twig. Twig is a way to create dynamical web content, much like PHP. In fact it’s just a slightly higher-level language than PHP and when twig is evaluated it spits out PHP code. So why not just write PHP? PHP might be really simple and straightforward, I’ve yet to find out. What I know is that in an evening I was introduced to twig and managed to convert a static html template into a fully functioning twig template ready for use in Bolt. It was really easy to pick up and I was using it productively in a matter of minutes.
Could you use this new novelty coding toy in WordPress? Of course, you could. There’s a plugin for that. But that’s not the point. I’m not sure what the point is. Maybe to ask youself if you actually need WordPress for everything?