Wandering Thoughts archives


A quiet shift in what tech people build for their blogs

Tech people have always had a certain attraction to building their own blogs instead of using a canned platform. Not every tech person, by any means (there are plenty of people who use readily available platforms because they have better things to spend time and energy on), but there's generally been enough tech people that there have been tendencies and trends. Back when I started Wandering Thoughts, the in thing to do was to build a dynamic blog engine. DWiki, the engine behind Wandering Thoughts was such a dynamic engine, and it was somewhat modeled on others that I saw at the time.

As anyone who's read people's entries on 'I built my own blog/blog engine' knows, things have shifted a lot since the old days of the mid 00s. For some time now, the in thing to build has been a static site or a static site generator (possibly using existing components with different connections; people don't often write new Markdown to HTML renderers from scratch). This has gone along with a general shift in the style of blogs that tech people build for themselves even if they don't write anything new. It at least feels as if a new tech blog is much more likely to be built with static site generation tools than it is to be an installation of Wordpress or another dynamic blogging platform.

(It's entirely possible that this (apparent) shift in general new tech blogs is an artifact of what sort of new tech blogs I wind up seeing, and that there's a great dark matter of such blogs where the authors go with Wordpress or something else simple. Certainly I think that non-tech people starting new blogs generally don't go with static site generators.)

I don't know if there are any particular strong technical reasons for the shift. If anything, it feels like it should have become easier to host a dynamic blog since the mid 00s, due to the vastly increased availability of dedicated (virtual) machine hosting. My perception is that it's basically a shift in the culture, although somewhat pushed by an increasing emphasis on website speed (both normally and under load), with the perception that static sites are faster and 'less wasteful'.

To the extent that I have feelings about this at all, I find it a little bit regretful that tech people have moved away from building dynamic blogs (and dynamic sites). Building Wandering Thoughts and DWiki has taught me a bunch more than I would have learned from writing a static site generator and then letting Apache (or something else) serve it for me.

(This entry was sparked by reading Cool Things People Do With Their Blogs (via) and seeing it call out 'write a custom dynamic blog engine from scratch'. Back in the mid 00s, it at least felt like that was a routine thing to do; nowadays, not so much. Also, see The Demise of the Mildly Dynamic Website (via).)

web/BuildingBlogFashionShifts written at 21:33:15; Add Comment

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