Before I decided to build this website I had a Blog setup on the Blogger platform which I used almost as a Diary to record my thoughts but I kept it private so that only I could view it.
I wasn’t happy with the aesthetics of the Blog, and although Blogger is highly customisable, it didn’t support the level of customisation I wanted to achieve so I decided to look for a new platform that enabled me to maintain a technical blog, a personal blog and some information about me.
I looked at the following platforms
Orchard CMS is an open source ASP.NET MVC Content Management System that has input from Microsoft developers. I was very hopeful that Orchard would be a good choice of platform for an ASP.NET developer but after watching an Introduction to Orchard video on Pluralsight, I felt it was overly convoluted and complicated. I wanted to get my website up and running quickly, otherwise I’d have built it from scratch.
I’ve developed websites using Umbraco before for a work project and it does have some good qualities. It’s another ASP.NET open source CMS and it has a fairly large community but it’s also quite quirky. It supports MVC development, which is where I feel most at home but it’s not built from the ground up as an MVC platform, it’s very much bolted on the side and it’s more useful for small websites that don’t change very often rather than blogs.
Piranha CMS is a lightweight CMS framework built in ASP.NET MVC. It’s designed not to get in the way for developers so that they can just build .NET websites and exploit the framework for handling page management. It’s open source and the author is very keen on collaboration but as a one man platform, it’s lacking in features. There are no pre-built UI features so I’d have to build everything from scratch.
BlogEngine.NET is probably the strongest alternative blogging software platform to wordpress. It’s fully featured and has a community providing extensions and themes. It’s also extendable and I considered this strongly as a platform for my website. However, it’s based on the older Web Forms technology which gives developers less control over the markup generated by the framework and is generally a more convoluted way to build a website compared to the cleaner MVC platform.
Self Hosted WordPress
Self Hosted WordPress offers advantages over blogs hosted on the wordpress.com platform in that you are able to modify themes and plugins to meet your exact requirements rather than just accepting one of the available themes.
WordPress itself is a PHP based blogging platform that has been around for a long time and has a large developer community. I had previously worded with another PHP CMS called Drupal as part of my degree but hadn’t touched PHP since so to use WordPress would have been a risk, but it’s also the most feature rich platform available that would enable me to get the website up and running quickly.
In the end, I opted for WordPress. I have uses Openstrap as a base theme and customised it to my needs and I have used plugins to provide most of the additional functionality I needed. The site is still work in progress, I hope to add a Portfolio section soon and fine tune the templates but thus far I have been happy with my choice.