Why leave Wordpress behind for Nikola ?

In my previous post I announced my website's migration from Wordpress to Nikola.

Still, with Wordpress having been my site's engine for so many years, I feel that I owe a few explanations to the community.

In this post I'll enumerate what stands out in my (very good !) experience with Wordpress, plus a few words about zenPhoto and what makes the difference between those two and Nikola.

It could have been due to the maintenance burden

But it clearly wasn't !

Wordpress's community did a great job to ensure the software would not break easily, making it update itself automatically (without a glitch !) even when one doesn't even look at it for several months or years.

Quite importantly this allows to benefit to the best security possible for the website.


Good catch Wordpress/Jetpack !

And in the rare cases when the software was a bit broken, the content always was safe and often still accessible by readers coming by.

All of this for free code manually downloaded on a shared server, I'd says that this is a huge achievement !

Despite all this goodness though, having such an application running continuously on one's website forces to think about potential security holes since it's just another door that, even if well defended, could eventually be opened by an ill-inspired pirate.

It could also be because of the user experience

But it's not that either !

I won't have the occasion to try Gutenberg, the latest big change but the previous evolutions did build a really good user experience IMHO.

That said, many components of the interface, even if they didn't bothered me at all, actually were not really useful either. And more generally a lot, if not most, of Wordpress's feature were irrelevant for my humble needs.

But then why take the plunge ?

Eventually, it was more because of the troubled life of the qtranslate plugin that I was using to write posts in two languages and that has been abandonned then revived and again multiple times since I started using it.

That's how, a month ago, I decided to write a new post and quickly realised that the n-th re-incarnation of qtranslate was again abandonned and that the latest version was incompatible with the latest one from Wordpress in such a way that I couldn't even write on my blog.

I could have looked for a replacement as I did at least twice before, but a third time in the loop was too much for me I guess.

So why Nikola ?

Nikola is a static site generator, geared toward blogs. It solves all the small "yes but"'s that I listed above about Wordpress.

What's more, Nikola is written in Python and I'm much more comfortable to play with its code if needed.

It's also build around plugins and for this it uses Yapsy, my DYI plugin library. That's actually how I've first heard about it. And I must confess this is also why I didn't spend much time looking for alternatives ;)

But the top feature that convinced me to move away from Wordpress to Nikola is definitely that Nikola's design is built upon the idea that a post or a page can be written in several languages. This simply ensures me that my use case will be supported on a longer term than it ever was with Wordpress

And what about zenPhoto ?

zenPhoto in its most trimmed down version (ie without blogging), is really close to perfection, shining by its simplicity and visual elegance when generating and displaying photo albums.

But using it sill brings up the same small "yes but"'s as when using Wordpress. And from the moment when I decided to move my blog, it was just simpler for me to generate the whole site with Nikola which can also handle photo galleries (even if with a less elegant default display).