Learning Blot.im the hard way (#blot #selfhosting)

So I started another experiment involving Blot.im. For those who don’t know Blot.im, it is a static web site generator that seems popular among the crowd here. On paper, the process of publishing is very simple: you drag and drop files on a specific folder on your computer and they get instantly published on the web. Sound great, right? That’s what I thought.

My goal with Blot.im is to do some “meta blogging”; a place where I could write about the tools, services and my blogger workflow. So I registered a new domain with GoDaddy: numericcitizen.io. Then, I opened my Blot.im account and stated experimenting. The initial setup is pretty simple. And then challenges pretty quickly started to emerge.

First, I wanted my new domain to point my Blot.im domain. Tried to follow the Blot.im instructions to make it work but all attempts failed. GoDaddy doesn’t support ALIAS DNS records as Blot.im ask me to create. I asked for help from Blot.im support. Still a work in progress.

Second, I chose to use Git as the “client” to push content on the service because I don’t want to use Dropbox, a service I despise. By using Git, I need a Git client on my Mac. I’m tentatively settled on Nova. So far so good. After cloning the Git repo from Blot.im to my local machine, I can then use Ulysses to write my posts and push them with Nova. The workflow is very geeky: create .MD file in Ulysses, “commit” within Nova then hit “push” to publish. Not as seamless as I would like. But here another issue: inserting images with a Markdown file is not as easy as it seems. Again, trying to figure out instructions on Blot.im site doesn’t work. The other thing is that if you drop an image within a folder, it will trigger Blot.im to create its own blog post, something that I don’t want. Not cool. Again, I’m asking support to help me here with this supposedly trivial task.

Third, I would like to use Github as the source of truth. Setting up a new repo is simple and cloning it to my local machine too. But, now, how do I make Blot.im to use the Github repo as the source of content? Again, trying to figure out Blot.im instructions but failing to make it work. Still trying to figure that out.

Fourth, tweaking the visual appearance is not as easy as I would have liked. There is a theme editor and I still need to be pretty knowledgeable in HTML and CSS. I did fork one of the theme to make it mine and started to do some tweak but it is a painful trial-and-error process.

All in all, I’m far from positive about Blot.im right now. I spent way too much time on these issues. I’m not sure where this is all going. If you are using Blot.im, please, do me a favour and chime in!