10 Open Source Blogging Platforms for Developers

Apr 4 2014 by Jacob Gube | 8 Comments

Mainstream blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc. aren’t designed for hackers. They’re encumbered by features developers just don’t need or want.

And, out of the box, the popular blogging platforms certainly lack a lot things coders actually would want, such as code syntax highlighting, blog theming capabilities using a standardized templating engine, markup language support besides HTML, and integration with source code repositories, among other things.

If you’re looking for a blogging solution that’s programmer-friendly, you’ve come to the right place. The free and open source blogging platforms I’ll talk about are designed with the needs of developers in mind, and not their moms’ (unless she likes to code too).

Hexo

Hexo

Hexo is a blogging platform powered by Node.js (it says so right there in the site’s tagline).

Its hacker-friendly features include native support for GitHub Flavored Markdown (GMF) as well as templating and extensibility capabilities using EJS, Swig and Stylus.

Installing Hexo will take you but a few seconds, assuming you already have npm set up and ready to go. Boom:

$ npm install hexo -g

Fun tangential fact: "npm" doesn’t stand for Node packaged modules or Node Package Manager. It’s a recursive acronym like PHP. Or more accurately: "It’s a recursive bacronymic abbreviation because it stands for ‘npm is not an acronym’," as the author explains. [Source]

Jekyll

Jekyll

Jekyll is a static site generator that compiles your markup files into Web-ready HTML documents — that’s what all static site generators do, more or less — the value proposition being better Web performance and the option to ditch your databases and server-side scripts.

Jekyll has a steady-growing ecosystem, as evidenced by the other open source projects being developed for it:

  • Octopress – a blogging framework designed for hackers
  • JekyllBootstrap – makes it easier for you to use your GitHub Pages to host your blog for free
  • Exitwp – helps you move from WordPress to Jekyll

Jekyll can be installed as a Ruby Gem:

gem install jekyll

Anchor CMS

Anchor CMS

Anchor CMS is a featherweight; the project’s source code .zip archive is just a little over 200 KB.

Off the bat, Anchor supports Markdown syntax, which a lot of coders feel is easier and more natural for blog-writing and formatting. It also supports art-directed blogging, i.e., you can easily make each post look different.

Wheat

Wheat is truly cool: It pulls articles from your GitHub repo and then publishes it to your website. Imagine the possibilities! Like open source blogging where other hackers can issue pull requests for correcting and improving your blog posts.

Wheat is developed with Node.js and can be installed as a Node packaged module:

npm install wheat

Nikola

Nikola

Nikola, a static site generator, is strongly blog-oriented but it can also be used for any other type of website. Code wranglers will love the fact that it has a small codebase, which the creator of Nikola deems as an advantage because it means "programmers can understand all of Nikola core in a day."

Nikola supports a whole slew of markup languages: reStructuredText, Markdown, etc. And, of course, HTML will do just fine too if that’s how you roll.

toto

Stolen straight off its repo description: toto is "the 10 second blog-engine for hackers."

toto is a minimalist blogging engine that runs on Git, which means you can version-control your posts just like you would when you’re writing code.

Poet

Poet

Poet is another Node.js-powered blogging platform. What makes it unique is the project’s snooty character mascot. Just kidding.

What’s notable about Poet is it gives you the ability to write your blog posts using a markup language you’re comfortable in, whether it’s Markdown, Jade or whatever you want. Also, customizing routes for your blog posts and other pages is simple.

Dropplets

Dropplets is a minimalist Markdown blogging platform. Its purposefully limited feature set helps makes sure you spend more time writing and less time tinkering.

Pelican

Pelican

Pelican is another static site generator, but it’s written in Python. It supports reStructuredText, Markdown, or AsciiDoc markup. It has code syntax highlighting right out of the box, and an importing feature for data coming from other publishing platforms such WordPress. Theming can be done using Jinja2.

Wardrobe

Wardrobe

Wardrobe is a minimalist blogging platform with a simple UI that will help you focus on writing. Wardrobe is developed with PHP. It’s very similar to Anchor CMS.

Bolt

Bolt

Bolt is a full-on content management system, so you can use it for other purposes outside of blogging. It uses Twig for templating and comes with its own Symphony debug bar for tracing code issues. And, with absolutely no magic required, you actually get to choose which relational database management system to use for a change: SQLite, MySQL or PostgreSQL. Need more reasons? How about this: Bolt was built with the assumption that you might actually want to run unit tests on your CMS; it supports PHPUnit natively.

Shout out to the awesome Six Revisions readers who pointed me to some excellent open source blogging platforms via the comments of another related post.

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About the Author

Jacob Gube is the founder of Six Revisions. He’s a front-end web developer by profession. If you’d like to connect with him, head on over to the contact page or follow him on Twitter: @sixrevisions.

8 Comments

Emily Jean

April 4th, 2014

Thanks for this article Jacob!

I wanted to add to this list another great blogging platform I’ve been using. Hugo is a static site generator similar to Jekyll. I came across it when I was looking for an alternative to Jekyll on http://staticgen.com . It’s been great to work with. It is the easiest software to install I’ve ever used… literally download and run, I love that I don’t need to install an entire package manager just to use it. And don’t get me started on how fast it is.. it’s night and day faster compared to Jekyll. I used to take coffee breaks every time I had to generate my site, now it’s done before I can even refresh the browser. Hugo can be found at http://hugo.spf13.com

Andy Christian

April 5th, 2014

So, no mention of WordPress? It’s open source, and powers more than %20 of the web.

Jacob Gube

April 5th, 2014

@Andy Christian: “WordPress” is the 5th word of this post.

fred

April 7th, 2014

these are hipster platforms @Andy Christian if you want something that simply works, go somewhere else

Shalu Sharma

April 7th, 2014

Great list of blogging platforms for developers. Although I have not heard of many of them but I will be talking a look, some of them looks very promising. Bolt looks quite nice.

Shawn Rubel

April 8th, 2014

Hey Jacob,

that’s just the stuff we got to deal with right?

I’m finding the list to be fairly mainstream, and it does feel like half of the stuff is meant for those who work with Node.js, and lets be completely honest: it hardly represents the developer community. :)

Jekyll gets my vote, but Pelican is awesome!

- Shawn

hussian

April 9th, 2014

This is really informative to me because I never listen about the bolt CMS. I am going to learn this for my earning.

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