In all reality this is my third or fourth crack at running a blog. Like each iteration before, I'm using a different system. Previously I have used Joomla! and Wordpress. Both systems are great for managing content, but I find them inadequate for creating content. They do well to try and make things simple for techie and non-techie alike. But, I have never found writing to be simple or easy.

Enter Second Crack

This version of Phanza is built on Marco Arment's Second Crack static-file blog engine. What is so wonderful and attractive about this system is it's use of Dropbox and Markdown. The system, once set up, is simple:

  1. Create a .txt file in your favorite text editor, WriteRoom.
  2. Write your content using Markdown format.
  3. Save file.

Once that is done, two scripts run on your server. The first syncs your Dropbox folder to the server. The second script takes file from the Dropbox folder and creates a HTML page.

Now, the process to get this system is certainly not for beginners. I barely qualify to setup this system myself. Marco is quick to point out on Second Crack's README that this system "should be considered an early alpha" and probably should not be used in live environments.

With that warning in mind, I decided to use Second Crack for its ease of use and programming challenge. It took a week's worth of free-time to get this up and running, plus two full weekends. I ran into problems and had to backtrack on many occasions. But in the end, I gleaned copious amounts of information and a great learning experience.

I'm very interested to see what happens with this go around of Phanza.

Update

Please note, Phanza no longer uses Second Crack.