Bye, Bye Koken. Hello Publii.

It's done.

Finally I got rid of Koken as content management system for this Blog. While Koken was absolutely great and simple to use for a photography blog, Koken was no longer maintained soon after it was acquired by Net Objects. Instead of releasing it as open source, Net Objects just decided to let it die silently.

So it was overdue to get rid of Koken, which turned into a ticking time bomb after its end of support.

Searching for a new software turned out to be more complex than I thought. There are many hosted services for photo portfolio web sites. However most of them did not fulfill my desire to mix a portfolio with a blog. And the few remaining alternatives turned out to be pretty expensive for a hobby project.

I even took a look at Word Press, which I ditched several years ago, but that is just a monster with it's complicated plugins, very frequent security flaws, and finding a suitable theme among all these "free" themes, which quickly turn out to be not so free once you want to use the advertised features.

And then I did not want to get into the same dependency as with Koken, where you put all your eggs in one basket and loose everything, if the software runs out of support, or when a hosted provider closes its business.

One option that always had my interest was a static site generator that generates just plain HTML: no PHP, no database, no added potential security issues, no incompatibilities with the next PHP release. However I always considered options like Hugo as too hacky to set them up and most where designed for pure blogging, but not suitable for a photo portfolio.

Finally I got a tip to try Publii. And well, that is now the software that has generated my new website as you can see it here.

Publii is a very user friendly desktop application. So you can do all your changes offline on your desktop and preview the results locally. Once you are satisfied, you tell Publii to sync the generated files with your server and that's it. And don't worry - the first upload takes a while of course, but after that Publii is clever enough to just upload what has changed.

Of course not everything is perfect as it is not dedicated for a photo portfolio like Koken, but rather for general purpose blogging. You will have to find your way how to organize and setup the structure. But in the end that's applies to almost any content management system.

There is a fairly good amount of themes available, which you can use as starting point. Some are free, some are paid. Unfortunately there is no way to try a paid theme before you buy it. However one of the best things of Publii is that it is fairly easy to customize using theme overrides, if you know a bit of CSS and HTML. And if you need to do something a bit more advanced it is very well documented. Just pick a theme, that is the closest to what you want to achieve, and then customize it to your needs.

So in the end the most work was spent on migrating the content from Koken manually. However the built-in editor works very well - much better than the Koken text editor. As Publii is a native application it blends in very well with the desktop and allows stuff like drag and drop of files directly into the editor.

The migration working consisted then of re-uploading the images and quite some simple copy and paste for the existing blog posts.

I am happy and I hope you like the result as well.