It was 2006.
I still remember the day when I decided to try Wordpress, the alternative to Blogspot. Blogspot was probably the best thing to have happened to me. I could never imagine why I would want to ditch Blogspot for Wordpress.
Then I used Wordpress and though there was an initial learning curve, I found myself enjoying the blogging experience a couple of posts down the line. I never looked back at Blogspot.
The Wordpress journey was amazing. It was beautiful in a 2006 kind of beautiful. It was lightweight and there were a number of themes and plugins available. I would go on to start an online magazine in 2007 (when online magazines were mainstream in the west, but not so in India) called Rock and Raga built on Wordpress which became quite popular in the South Indian indie music scene. Life was great.
Then came a number of rapid improvements in Wordpress. It was getting easier and easier to use Wordpress by the day. Anybody with a basic knowledge of the internet could install Wordpress in minutes, slap a beautiful theme, configure a couple of professional plugins and get blogging. Wonderful, right?
With great power, comes great bloat.
Wordpress had become the iTunes of the blogging world. Something that you cannot live without, but is something you have grown to hate. There was too much bloat and sometimes I would just spend time worrying about configuring the various options rather than just write.
And then I heard good friend, Vinoth Shankaran make a very powerful statement.
"Every piece of content deserves its own design."
Wow. Those words were so powerful that I hardly slept that night.
I decided to go the art directed blogging way. I know the term is quite old, and it is probably past its prime now. But much of the content I generate most usually deserves its own design. It might take longer for me to create each content, maybe a couple of weeks instead of a couple of hours, but I think it is totally going to be worth it. For content that doesn't require unique design, I would stick to a theme.
I spent the next few days testing out various lightweight CMS, static website generators and techniques that would let me write markdown - Anchor, Ghost, Jekyll, Piecrust, Dropbox+Markdown etc. I loved the simplicity of the markdown static site generators like piecrust and jekyll, but I wasn't sure if I was ready to kiss databases goodbye. Ghost wasn't exactly suitable for art direction. I will still need a good old regular theme for my regular posts.
And anchor was/is awesome.
So here is my redesigned website, running Anchor.
My old blog is still running Wordpress which I will be gradually importing into Anchor. The goal is to be Wordpress-free by summer.
And if you are new to markdown publishing, you should check it out. It's fun.
HTML+CSS only makes it funner!