Pelican at Captiva Island

About a month ago I decided to move this site from Squarespace to Amazon S3. I have used Squarespace for about a year and a half and it’s been a great experience overall. Their support service is outstanding, up times are acceptable and they can handle peaks in traffic very well. They really make it easy to get your site up and running in a matter of hours (if not minutes) with a tasteful and fully responsive design. I may have spent more time building mine, but that’s just because I wanted to tinker more than normal.

So, why move?. I was on the cheaper program and to have access to more advanced features, I had to move to the next tier. Even if I had done so, I wouldn’t have had the flexibility I’m looking for:

  • Writing posts in markdown.
  • Ability to write and post from the iPad in a fluid way (Squarespace has an iOS App, but it’s not a frictionless experience).
  • Static website (quicker and easier to maintain).
  • Complete control over CSS, HTML and template.
  • Portability and non-proprietary platform, so that I can move my data/content to another service if I wanted to.

I decided to go with Amazon S3 which offers outstanding performance at a fair price. For generating the site, I went with Pelican which meets every single requirement. It’s built in Python and uses Python files for its configuration (which I feel relatively comfortable with).

So far, I’m very impressed with Pelican capabilities. Generating a website from scratch it’s fairly simple. However, transferring an existing one ended up being a bit of a challenge.

Although Squarespace allows to export the site content to Wordpress XML (only option at the time of this writing), the migration tools from this format to Pelican just didn’t work for me. Luckily, I had all posts in markdown format and; although I had to do some data massaging, I was able to import everything into the new system.

There are still some rough edges I need to work out, but the site was completely migrated, it is very responsive and uploading content is just a breeze (I’m working on some geeky workflows to do so while on the road).