A tiny slice of history
I’ve used a ton of blogging software over the years: WordPress.com, self-hosted WordPress, Ghost, Jekyll, Eleventy, gpg encrypted files written with vim, Hugo… I can’t even recall what else. There’s probably a bit more.
The one thing that’s given me no pain is this: file-based storage; specifically Markdown files.
They just work.
Where I find myself today
I’m working on a private-first, personal blog with Eleventy and a minimal number of dependencies — some toots on my public Fosstodon profile might have hinted towards this. And so, I’m looking at this WordPress XML export from years ago… it’s a mess, you know? Manually copying the title, converting the date format, copying the body, removing the HTML that WordPress wrote down for me… oof.
You know what’s causing me no trouble at all?
Moving files over from any system that used Markdown. There was a time Ghost was Markdown-first too, and that works well, as you can imagine.
Those SQL exports that I had made from phpMyAdmin for WordPress? Too… opaque. Yeah, you could browse it and do stuff if you really wanted with more tools, but the Markdown files? They just work. The XMP export is still sort-of usable… I’ll take it.
Well… Markdown is amazing.
Let’s talk some more Markdown goodies.
You want to “export” your content? Just copy the files. I shy away from using the just/easy/simple language, but this warrants an exception.
You made changes? Track them in git. Get nice diffs too!
You want to import? Copy the files over, and optionally, work with the frontmatter — you’re good.
You want someone else to read it? It works without any software at all, and you have the option to present a nicely formatted output if you wanted.
Today’s just a note to myself, and hopefully you: use Markdown. It aged like wine for me. I’ll keep using it for the foreseeable future. It transparently lends itself to the author, the reader, the preserver.