A brief introduction to MiniBlog

Ah, the joys of blogging. Blogging in our industry is vital and, thankfully, these days there are many tools and frameworks that can help us with this task:

The above are some of the most known ones. Most of them can host your blog for you ("on the cloud") and some allow you to deploy the blog engine to your own servers. My preference is to own both the engine and content. The important thing, however, is that blogging is easy!

On the other hand, as easy as it is to get started, things get tricky once you reach the point that the blog stops meeting your requirments. If you want to tweak your blog to make it look slightly different from the default/applied template, then prepare to world that you don't want to know. Wordpress is built on PHP and some of the code behind it is horendous, so I don't event want to go there. Ghost is build on Node.js which is fine(?) but again, I'm not comfortable messing with Node on Azure (or better, I don't know how to do this well yet). The pattern continues with Github pages, Blogger etc.

My point is, if I am going to run a blog site, I want to be able to manage every little aspect of it and know exactly what's happening and where things are. CSS, code, files, images etc. Full control. I want to own the blog engine and the content and be able to change it as I see fit.

Disclosure: This is not what the average Joe needs and most people will be content using the built in features of Wordpress etc, but for me it wasn't enough.

This is where Mads Kristensen's MiniBlog comes. MiniBlog is a very lightweight blog engine built with ASP.NET MVC. It uses the latest technology (as of 2014) and doesn't require a database. You can even use Windows Live Writer to create or edit your content. What's not to like there? The site's asthetics and layout are driven by Bootstrap so there are theme options if you don't like the default look and feel. But for me, the ability to fully customize the blog, extend it and fix it knowing exactly what I'm doing, is what really counts. I am currently in the process of redesigning my whole blog around MiniBlog and I have to admit that it's a really exciting (mini) project. If you are looking for a powerful yet lightweight blog, then I would highly recommend you give it a try.

Finally, if you are worried about migrating to a new platform, rest assured that MiniBlog also comes with a crud but functional import tool, with support for WordPress, DasBlog, BlogEngine.NET and, as of yesterday, Ghost!

What technology do you use for blogging? How do you feel about it?

P.S Make sure you follow me on Twitter @christosmatskas for more up-to-date news, articles and tips.

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