Acrylamid: a first evaluation

About a month ago I officially migrated this weblog to Acrylamid. This is a first evaluation.

On the one hand, a month may not seem like a long time. So why evaluate Acrylamid now? Well, for one thing, I started working with it a bit earlier than October 1st since I had to migrate existing content and develop this site. Another reason is that during the Plone Conference 2012 I published more articles about those three days than I normally do in a whole year.

Writing articles

During the conference I was not able to publish all articles immediately after the talk was over. So I got into the habit of writing my notes in a drafts folder. When I started making the notes ready for publication, I would move the file to the normal directory. (Alternatively I could have added a draft field, but this way it was easier to see which articles were not published yet.)

Although the Wi-Fi at the conference was almost perfect and the hotel also offered free Wi-Fi, there were a couple of times where I did not have a connection to the Internet while I did want to edit my articles. But since I could do the writing on my own laptop, that hardly mattered. The biggest issues were that I could not look up things easily (I had to use my phone) and that the pages were not rendered with the right fonts (since I use Typekit).

Another thing I liked was my tool set. I am still really happy with Emacs as an editor. I love that I am able to hit C-x C-s as often as I need—no matter the network state. That beats having to edit articles online using e.g. TinyMCE. Not that the latter is a bad thing by the way, I just prefer my good old Emacs.

As for marking up the articles: Markdown also proved to be a good syntax to do so. Only once was I not able to get the result that I was after. I wanted to have a code block inside an unordered list. I an pretty sure it is possible, I just did not know how exactly and rewrote the article a little bit. Lets chalk this up to me being too lazy and inexperienced with Markdown.

Output

One of the things I am currently still struggling with is my URL structure. Years ago I used URLs like /weblog/title-of-the-article/. I switched to URLs with dates (/weblog/2012/02/04/title-of-the-article) when I switched to Django. In Django it was very easy to write a view that redirected the old URLs to the new ones. But now I only added some of the 2008–2010 URLs to my .htaccess files. But since cool URIs don’t change I have to list all the old URLs in that .htaccess file or else I have to find a more generic solution—for instance by writing a custom view for Acrylamid that uses a <meta> element or JavaScript to redirect visitors to the new URL. In the mean while: to mitigate the problem for visitors, I am using Google to make my 404 pages more useful. Most of the times, the search does return the page the visitor was after.

Another thing that bothers me is that I do not (yet) have views that show the articles for a year/month/day. For instance /weblog/2012/10/10/ to see all articles for the first day of the Plone conference.

Conclusion

I am quite happy with the current setup. I am not completely done yet, but for me it is a huge improvement over the Django (and Plone) setups I had earlier. I find it a really nice lightweight blogging system.