February 12, 2016

Migrating from Ghost to Blot

This week I migrated my perpetually semiabandoned blog from Ghost1 to Blot.

Any suggestion that my lack of writing is in any way related to any type of software should be swiftly dealt with by closing a MacBook lid on my hands. The truth is that I like Ghost. It’s very easy to use, fairly simple to maintain, and has one of the best markdown implementations. I was an original backer of the project, and think it has a lot of potential ahead.

If I have to deal with a server, I would choose it over Wordpress any day of the week. The thing is… I don’t want to deal with servers right now. The relatively low cost and time needed to maintain the Ghost –or anything else– installation is not something I’m inclined to afford with a newborn at home.

I barely have time to write something and save a text file to the desktop. Which is were Blot comes in.

Since first hearing about Blot last year, I’ve been intrigued. But the lack of a demo, and tangential similarity to scriptogr.am2 — small project by 1 developer — kept me on the sidelines. On Monday I went ahead and subscribed and immediately liked why I saw. And the feeling has been getting stronger as the week went by.

With Blot I feel a lot of the usual design decisions have been taken by someone for me 3 — someone with sense of pragmatic design I trust. But it’s not only design, but also functionality: posts are files in you Dropbox folder, you can preview how drafts will look (also works in iOS), great markdown support, it’s hosted at a very affordable $20/year and, it has search.

A small design detail the OCD in me appreciates: there’s no Powered by Blot™ or anything similar anywhere on the blog side. Probably no one will notices, but it does make me feel cooler than I am.

In the end, Blot feels to me like the lazy man Jekyll4:

  1. You can have your posts in your filesystem — and it’s very forgiving of how you organize within folders.
  2. Blog loads crazy fast in my tests.

But no SSH needed.

Moving post from Ghost to Blot

One thing that Blot doesn’t include is an import feature — which I can understand why: maintaining import compatibility with new and legacy blog systems is not what I wish the 1 developer of this project to spend his time on.

However, I would suggest to David that some level of format compatibility with Jekyll could be useful. This way Blot could piggyback on the extensive importers Jekyll has.

Update: As soon as I posted this, David mentioned he has some tools for this. So it was just a matter of asking next time.

https://twitter.com/lllIIlIlIl/status/698308318545051648

That said, the post formats are similar enough that with some hacking, existing export tools for Ghost can be modified.

In my case, I went ahead and butchered some export scripts and forked into a barely working version. You can check ghost-export-for-blot.im if you’re crazy enough.

When installed, running the command below should, maybe, kinda, work:

$ ghost-export --t /path/to/ghost/app /path/to/output

Hope this it’s useful to someone.


  1. Hosted in a $5 DigitalOcean Droplet.

  2. I’ve been hurt before.

  3. You can create a template if any of the 7 included don’t work for you.

  4. Long time sufferers of my blogging engine schizophrenia will remember the Jekyll episode.


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