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


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.

Up next Crowd-sourced evaluation - why? Very often, evaluation TORs are so comprehensive that it is not really possible in the time available to do proper independent data gathering for Crowd sourced evaluation: did it work? This is a quick report of what happened when I tried to “crowd-source” a recent global evaluation I did for a UN agency. An ordinary evaluation
Latest posts causal-map Causal Map intro Causal Mapping - an earlier guide The walk to school in Sarajevo Glitches Draft blog post for AEA365 Theory Maker! Inventory & analysis of small conservation grants, C&W Africa - Powell & Mesbach! Lots of charts! Answering the “why” question: piecing together multiple pieces of causal information rbind.fill for 1-dimensional tables in r yED graph editor Examples of trivial graph format Using attr labels for ggplot An evaluation puzzle: “Talent show” An evaluation puzzle: “Mobile first” An evaluation puzzle: “Many hands” An evaluation puzzle: Loaves and fishes An evaluation puzzle: “Freak weather” An evaluation puzzle: “Billionaire” Publications Using Dropbox for syncing Shiny app data on Amazon EC2 Progress on the Causal Map app Articles and presentations related to Causal Maps and Theorymaker Better ways to present country-level data on a world map: equal-area cartograms A starter kit for reproducible research with R A reproducible workflow for evaluation reports Welcome to the Wiggle Room Realtime comments on a Theory of Change Responses to open questions shown as tooltips in a chart A panel on visualising Theories of Change for EES 2018? Peer mentoring for evaluators