DIY Blog Using the Laravel Framework

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but at some point in the last year or two I became disenchanted with existing PHP blogging platforms. I think the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was the annoyance caused by having to upgrade Drupal core and various Drupal modules every few weeks, a task that is not entirely trivial unless you have a very basic installation.

Furthermore, there were no Drupal themes that really appealed to me and I didn't really want to migrate to Wordpress, as I suspect it requires just as much upkeep as Drupal these days. So I decided it was time for a change.

The first option I considered was a static HTML generator, as these seem to be all the rage at the moment. However, there are many options to choose from and they look non-trivial to set up, so even just evaluating them to figure out which one best suits your needs seems like a lot of work. Also, the ones I looked at seemed to be made up of many disparate modules from multiple sources and I got the impression that there would be a fair bit of work involved in setting up the process, so I bailed on this idea pretty quickly.

The next option I considered was a Laravel-based blogging app, such as Wardrobe CMS. There were a few other promising apps on github, but I didn’t spend much time on these before I discovered October CMS.

I got quite excited when I discovered October CMS, as it seemed like the perfect solution. A Laravel-based, SEO-friendly CMS with modules (eg. a blogging module), themes and other goodies. I worked with October CMS for a day or two and was very impressed with the functionality, but ultimately I decided against using it for my blog.

The solution that I ended up going with was to simply build the site by hand with Laravel. The main reason for this decision was that I already know Blade and given that 90% of the site is just a handful of view templates, I didn’t want to have to invest time in Twig, which I wouldn’t be using for any other project. I’ve heard lots of good things about Twig, but when you already have a 12 month plus investment in Blade and use it for several other apps, learning Twig for one small blogging app just doesn’t make sense.

All in all it took around three full days to create the site, which includes SEO-friendly meta-tags, sitemap, RSS feed, adaptive Bootstrap theme, Google Analytics, etc. This time also included migrating the old content out of Drupal along with sourcing new social icons and fiddling around with the cosmetics.

Comments will be migrated soon, probably using Disqus. Until then, if you like the new blog, feel free to give me a shout out on Twitter or Google Plus!

Yet Another Programming Blog

Where James Gordon rambles about PHP, Laravel and web development in general.

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