After more than ten years of using my beloved Textpattern for this blog, I have now migrated everything to 11ty.


To make a long story short. I fell in love with 11ty!

But it's not that simple. I'm still in love with Textpattern. And for a really long time I used CodeKit's Kit language as a sort of static site generator. It's also a very lovely tool that works really well most of the time, but I often hit the wall of what you can do with it (it's not meant to be a full-blown static site generator, but it's totally awesome for replacing grunt or others as your build environment).

Anyway, my main concern was always that I had to keep my markup and styling synchronised in two places. My static site and the textpattern blog. And since the site is mostly a playground for me, there are often changes to be made there.

Why use an SSG at all?

Over the last few years I have moved away from the idea of having your whole site in a CMS. I often found that my clients were overwhelmed by the complexity. In particular, the power that comes with a CMS can be intimidating for some. They end up in constant fear of breaking their whole site when all they wanted to do was post a new job offer, for example. So I ended up building most of the sites static, and only offering the CMS for certain parts, such as job offers, testimonials or other dynamic content. This removes the complexity (and risk of misuse), but static sites have another huge advantage. They are lightning fast! This not only makes site visitors happy, but can also be a huge boost in Google site rankings.

On the other hand, a CMS is also a time saver for many development tasks. Templating allows you to change your navigation, or your footer, or whatever global element, without having to go into every single page to make that change. That's where the SSG (Static Site Generator) comes in, because it also offers templating.

But a blog is dynamic. So that stays in Textpattern?

Of course a blog would be something I would build in a CMS for a customer. But for me it's perfectly feasible, maybe even easier, to write my blog articles in Markdown and publish them via FTP upload. But as I said, I'm also kind of in love with Textpattern, and at DEHN my co-workers and I are currently trying to turn the CMS we're using into a kind of headless CMS until we find and install a real headless one. So I came up with a plan to turn my Textpattern installation into a headless CMS and feed it into 11ty.

Adobe Firefly's imagination of a abstract house rebuild

The result

Although Textpattern is probably one of the best candidates for such a headless tweak, I was unable to get it up and running in the time available. I gave up and simply moved the posts to 11ty. With only 11 posts, this was a much faster task to accomplish.

Still, I didn't want to create dead links, so it was kind of a prerequisite to have the same urls for the old posts. But this was not difficult to solve with the incredibly versatile 11ty. The same goes for setting up an RSS feed. There's an 11ty plugin for this, but as with the old site, I just wanted it for the blog and didn't want to fiddle with the plugin (I generally tend to write my own code, not just copy and paste from Stack Overflow), so I set it up manually and that worked really well too.

Now all the posts are migrated and can be found at the same urls as before. It's now much easier for me to roll out design changes. So expect some in the near future (I've already changed the font(s) and made some minor changes to the margins).

Comments are no longer possible, and that's something that's not easy to set up in this new environment. But I never got many of them, so you probably won't miss them. You can also comment by mentioning me on Mastodon Post your questions and feedback there and I will get back to you.