January 11, 2016

Blot, a promising but almost invisible blogging platform

Why have a blog? I now have a landing page which I find very handy to link to my online accounts like google scholar, linkedin etc. Still, there are a few posts from my previous blogging antics which I would like to keep, and every now and again it is fun to write something. I have been through quite a few platforms from wordpress to posterous. For a while I was quite happy with pelican, then rolled my own on Linux. Now I am back on Windows and want to keep things as simple as possible and couldn’t be bothered getting those Linux things working again. So, what platform to choose?

Must have:

  • Uses markdown for minimalistic blogging
  • Auto sync with text files in a local folder and auto publishing e.g. with dropbox
  • Drafts
  • Nice templates with good typography
  • Tags
  • Search
  • Feeds
  • Fast, i.e. static

Nice to have:

  • Discus and Google Analytics
  • Footnotes
  • Open Source

Solution

After trying about five different markdown-with-Dropbox-or-github etc solutions, most of which either sucked, clunked or both, I stumbled upon Blot which you are reading right now. It ticks all of the above boxes except it isn’t open source (yet). As everything is plain text I could just dump all my old blog files from pelican straight into the Blot folder and almost everything would just work. However in fact I am going to clean out those archives before doing so as not to fill up again with cruft. It is 20USD/year - I am happy to pay a bit to hopefully get some support and perhaps a bit of longevity.

Nice additional Blot features

  • It makes posts out of your photos
  • It backs up remote images in case they disappear from the web
  • Delightful way of testing out draft posts
  • Zoom / lightbox for large images
  • You can sort your posts into subfolders but these aren’t used in the navigation, which is based on tags
  • Simplest possible metadata, i.e. nothing at all if you can’t be bothered or just things like Date: 2016-1-1”
  • Pleasant and minimalist web interface

Is Blot in stealth mode?

The weirdest thing is that Blot has been around for a while but is hard to find on the web. There isn’t a free version or even a trial version or example sites. You have to just trust and pony up your (refundable) 20 USD, which I did. So far, so good.

I just discovered that David, blot’s creator, actually has a blog page! That was pretty hard to find.


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