When I first thought about my new blog, the only options for me were: WordPress, Tumblr, maybe posterous. That was until Iven told me about ‘baked blogs’. What? - Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.
Let me explain: In this analogy, the previously mentioned platforms ‘fry’ the blog in the second one requests them from the web server. They generate every page in the blog via PHP, I believe. Blogs served that way are ‘fried blogs’.
Guess what: The server doesn’t have to generate static files. So your blog has a fighting chance of staying online, even when it gets fireballed. Of course one can cache the fried files so they can be served more efficiently, and you lose the advantages of hosted platforms, i.e. blogging from on the road.
But in which universe does that bother me? Most certainly, my blog will never get fireballed or sweat a tear under heavy load of hundreds of thousands of visitors. I’m not that into web server stuff that I could’t bear with what some people may call an unsophisticated solution. So?
What made me consider a baked blog more seriously was that with wordpress, I always had the feeling to utilize something I didn’t understand entirely. Using wordpress is simple, but to customize it is much harder. Therefore it’s likely you just use it in a very standard way. That’s ok for most people, I would suggest that for nearly everyone who’s inclined to dive into the world of blogging. Which I strongly suggest, too.
I, for my part, knew that I would be able to teach myself (or: remind) enough HTML and CSS to code something suitable for a static file generator (that’s how you call the things that bake your blog). I knew that the second I heard of baked blogs, even thought I didn’t realize it immediately.
Now, my blog only contains code I wrote myself or ripped off somebody else’s git repository, knowing what it does and where to put it. To me, that’s very appealing.
Why did I chose Jekyll? At first I didn’t want to. After Iven told me about baked blogs, I listened to an episode of Build & Analyze (this one, but the following ones also fit the topic) in which Marco Arment (the Instapaper guy) talked about his plans to release his self-written static site generator, ‘Second Crack’ on github. I also am a coffee nut, so its name (a specific point of time in the roasting process of coffee) made me want to use it. In the end, the idea that I was using this as an excuse to put the whole project off became a certainty, so I chose Jekyll, and here I am.
To be acurate: If you’re interested in this topic, you propably want to read Brent Simmons’ piece on it: A plea for baked weblogs