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What I'm Looking For in a Publishing System

The characteristics of my ideal publishing system have been rattling around in my head since I heard the news about Posterous. I haven't really done very much housekeeping on my personal sites in a while and I wanted to reevaluate my current setup. Generally I don't want to spend a ton of time on maintenance and I want the templating language to be straightforward - i don't want to spend hours sifting through a wiki trying to figure out how to output thumbnails for the latest five entries from a particular category. If I'm not familiar with the template language, a good set of examples is a prerequisite. Nice looking templates that support responsive design and slideshows out of the box is a huge plus as is deploying through git.

Not all of the sites have to be hosted on the same system but I definitely want to keep the cost low. I'd like to stick with my current host so I don't have to migrate everything and I don't want to spend hours/days backing up and archiving data, and I've never had an issue with their service.

Most pressing, A Surlee Voyage and Angrywayne need new homes because Posterous is expiring. Surlee Voyage is definitely more of an archive and I don't see either of us updating content there any time soon, it just needs to live somewhere with permanent URLs. Wayne would probably write more often on Angrywayne/Emptyhighway if there was a system he enjoyed using.

I'm also looking to move Ambienttraffic (this site), Lonestar Taco and Emptyhighway (which should probably be merged with Angrywayne) off of Movable Type because, frankly, I hate the user experience of writing and maintaining content. I actively dislike the tiny editing window and uploading images one at a time to the point where I just don't want to write anything at all. Although I have a ridiculous amount of experience writing MT templates, they just get to be really tedious. On the plus side, MT generates flat pages so I don't worry too much about load.

I did like Posterous for the ability to email posts in as it was enormously convenient in China because  the site was blocked and we often didn't have internet. In the same way, I find that I'm inspired to write when I'm offline and I can focus.  I do a lot of writing on the train and offline on my iPhone/iPad in Markdown documents but a lot of it I've never published. If I could push those Markdown documents and photos/assets from Dropbox to some other system on the server that'd be ideal for Ambienttraffic. I'd like to migrate my content from MT into the new system but it's not a requirement. It's more important to be able to handle assets well and quickly so that I can update my portfolio more regularly.

For Lonestar Taco it's a bit different. Wayne writes for Lonestar and I anticipate once we've hired more staff they'll be using it too - and I can't estimate their level of "internet' yet, so it's got to be something that is friendly both to beginners and more advanced users. Migrating data into the system with the ability to adjust permalinks is a requirement. Sharing content automatically through Twitter and Facebook are important, but so are slideshows. Lots to think about!

Next up, a "Grand Tour" of publishing systems. 

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