My workflow for publishing on this site

I wanted a blog and I wanted it to be fast, without unnecessary stuff like trackers and cookies and with as little moving pieces as possible. Introducing the website you are reading right now, static pages written in and generated by Publii SSG, hosted by NeoCities and updated via webdav connection.

Piece #1 - Publii SSG

Publii is an SSG (Static Site Generator) with an easy to use graphical interface. After the initial setup, all you have to do is to click the "Add new post" button and start typing. It offers 3 different editors:

  1. Markdown editor : for people who just want to type without needing to move their hands to mouse. There is a little learning curve if you never wrote in markdown before.
  2. Block editor : offers everything in Markdown editor but requires clicking on options with mouse. It is my recommendation for people who are not comfortable with the Markdown's syntax yet.
  3. WYSIWYG editor : What You See Is What You Get editor is a rich text editor very similar to word processors. It is the easiest to get started with. But I wouldn't recommend it to people who care about HTML semantics.

It also has support for enabling and disabling cookies, GDPR warning, built-in search etc, but as long as you don't enable a fancy feature, Publii is cookie free. I like being able to have a pretty site without ugly banners and pop-ups. 

Piece #2 - Noecities for hosting

I wanted a simple hosting provider which supports custom domains, auto renews HTTPS certificates and offers and easy way to upload static site files. I didn't really worry about the storage size or the bandwidth given that this is a static site. Neocities got me by surprise when I found out that they offer what I wanted and 50GB storage and 3TB bandwidth for $5/month. Guess who is paying neocities and very happy about it.

Piece #3 - NOT auto uploading via WebDAV

I initially accepted manually uploading the files using the web UI. But when I saw the Mount your site as a drive on your computer link in the dashboard page, I knew I at the very least had to try it. After installing davfs2 package on Pop_OS! and following a guide on How to mount a WebDAV Share, I wish I could say Publii can auto upload newly generated pages to Neocities via WebDAV, but that is not the case.

In fact, Publii emptied the WebDAV directory first and then failed to upload anything. This seems to be a common behaviour among SSGs. They will replace everything in their target directory before generating the pages.

Well, I won't need to open a browser tab every time I need to make changes. Manual copy-paste from Publii's export directory to WebDAV directory works for now. I believe I would have better luck if Neocities supported SFTP, but that might be asking for too much. Don't get me wrong, I am not unhappy. It is not the end of the world if I have to hand crank that 1 gear.


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