Published on August 26th, 2012
I have been on Wordpress since the very first blog post I ever wrote. In the very early days, it was just a hosted blog on wordpress.com but soon after, I set up my first web server and ran Wordpress from there for over five years. I really enjoyed the endless possibilities you have with running your own Wordpress installation. It is great to be able to change everything about it and to dig deep into the countless files that incorporate the whole package. But with depth comes confusion, at least on some part. And since I probably just touched the basics on how to actually work with Wordpress, it mostly felt like just taking care of how it looks to me and my visitors.
While the theme I am using right now is actually my second “major release” called Simplicity, I started working on the first theme Awesomeness back in 2009 and had little clue about the whole web design thing. It was a real learning-by-doing experience that took me years to get where I am today. And with my expertise growing, I changed the theme countless times, improved it, and customized it more and more to what I thought would fit my needs. And frankly that was mostly by cutting back things I would not need.
To put that in one word: It was all about simplification. The base that Wordpress provides is huge and while some features may seem very useful at first, most of the stuff is needless for my purposes and just bloats up the site. That’s why I took many features off of my theme and made it real simple.
As my desire for simplicity grew bigger over time, I started to feel uncomfortable with Wordpress. Sure, it never even got close to being simplistic, and I got along with that. Until now. Now I want to try something new, something with a very different approach. Something that would need to be discovered from the ground up, something that meets my level of curiosity. And most importantly something that is much more simple than Wordpress ever was or will be.
For quite a while I have been hearing about file system based CMSes and the simplistic approach of not using a database but a simple collection of folders to run and manage your site and its content. This really made me curios, and some days ago I learned about Kirby. The second I started reading more about Kirby, I was impressed and excited about it. It totally appealed to me, in its structure, in its native support of markdown, in its flexibility and everything and so I started running a test setup for some days. I imported my Wordpress posts as a content basis and played around with it a lot, to tried out how Kirby would fit my newly sharpened sense of simplicity.
Speaking of simplicity: As the release of the Simplicity theme has not been that long ago and it still embodies my idea of “my favorite kind of simple” , I wanted to stick with it a little while longer. So I completely rebuilt it for Kirby and actually this was the first time I really started the whole process from the ground up, since the work on Awesomeness was based on the original Classic theme for Wordpress and Simplicity for Wordpress was based on Awesomeness.
It was exciting to port my work and I really see some benefits in it. By rebuilding Simplicity from the ground up, I got rid of all the things I did not like about it, considering its back end. The basis of Awesomeness was already “contaminated” by the work of other people and even though I basically changed everything about the theme and its structure, it always kept some parts that messed it up, even if it’s just the name of a div tag I didn’t not care about so much. With the port to Kirby, the code is now very clean and structured and nothing about it is overloaded. I am really proud of it and like the way it turned out.
With everything being neat and clean and the site is also fast as hell. That is certainly one big benefit from using Kirby. The overhead that goes to the framework is significantly smaller than it was on Wordpress. And the coolest thing about it: Since Kirby is so lightweight and amazingly simple, for the first time ever I will not be cutting back features, but actually actively extend them.
And that is exactly what I was hoping for. It is much more fun to build a site from a very small basis and steadily extend it over time while simultaneously keeping the state of simplicity, rather than just cutting back to finally achieve the latter after a long time.