Anyone have a blogging workaround?


#1

I know Cory’s working on blogging functionality, but it’s the one thing keeping me from using Surreal for all of my client sites.

Does anyone have a static blog working on Surreal? I’d like to avoid the use of subdomains.


#2

A simple blog is easy to do. For example:
https://caminada.co.uk/photography-blog/
https://culture-crisis.net/blog.html

The first example doesn’t use Surreal, but the second one does.

The first example would be easy to repricate. The client creates a new page, for a new blog post. All the blog post pages include an ‘include’ listing all the blog posts. So all the client has to do is add in the new blog post to the ‘include’ list and all the blog pages will now be updated to include the link to the new blog post.


#3

Publii would probably be the best workaround for an external solution. It’s very similar to Surreal CMS as it publishes static HTML files. It claims to be a CMS although it is more suited to blogging from the looks of it.

It doesn’t have inline editing although the editing experience is nice.

You have to share FTP credentials and do some initial setup since it is a program that is installed on the client’s computer. I would recommend having the blog in a folder and creating a separate FTP account for the blog. This way the main website cannot be “accidentally” broken by that curious client that may or may not have done “web design” in the past. :wink:

I remember some subscription service advertising on the forum awhile back called DropInBlog. Their website is not loading at the moment for me but the I remember the pricing being fairly expensive considering it’s just another blogging platform.

Blogging functionality shouldn’t be too far off considering that Cory built version 7 in Node.js and also created Postleaf in Node.js. Hopefully some existing code can be reused to speed up development.


#4

Simple blogging has always been possible, but you won’t get advanced blogging features such as RSS, tags, pagination, etc. I’m managing Surreal’s blog (the whole website actually) with Surreal.

For this setup, I created a /blog folder, an index page (that lists all the posts), and a page template called “Blog Post.” To publish a post, I simply create a new page and then add it to the blog index. It’s a little extra copying, but it works for now.

They recently reached out to me. It’s a cool service, but I didn’t feel right promoting it when one blog costs as much (or more) than Surreal’s agency plan. If that’s not an issue, it might be a good fit for you.


Since we’re on the subject of blogging, what features are make or break for it? I’m obviously not trying to replicate WordPress, but it needs to be powerful enough for, say, 95% of users.

What do you want to see?


#5

Hi Cory, are you going to continue updating Postleaf? I just took another look at it.

What is the difference between Postleaf and Surreal in terms of the type of site you could build? Can Postleaf accomplish everything Surreal can?

The advantage of Surreal seems to be that not much coding ability/knowledge is required? But if you can code, what are the limits with Postleaf?


#6

One of the biggest reasons why Surreal CMS is such a good CMS is because it publishes static HTML files and doesn’t require you to maintain and host the CMS yourself.

Postleaf requires Node.js which means your limited to web hosting providers that have Node.js installed. It also hasn’t been getting many updates lately.

Surreal CMS allows you to lock down editing to specific regions. I don’t think Postleaf has that functionality.

The ability to display a list of posts on a page. For example, show the latest three posts on the home page. I think profile pages should be possible as well considering Surreal CMS now has profiles for users. JSON Feed and RSS would be good.


#7

I took a bet on Node.js for Postleaf and, unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to make things easy for folks, installing it seemed to be a roadblock. It really hindered adoption, and I wasn’t able to pick up much traction with it (nor monetize it).

I’ve shelved further development for now to focus on Surreal 7, but I’d like to revisit it at some point. There are a lot of ideas I came up with in Postleaf that you’ll see coming to Surreal later on. :slight_smile:

They’re really two different things.

Surreal is easier to integrate with existing websites and it doesn’t care about the template/theme you’re using. At the end of the day, it reads and writes static pages to and from your server so you can create whatever type of website you want with it.

Your website is also completely independent from Surreal. You can disconnect it, move it elsewhere, even delete your account and the website will still work.

The flexibility here is actually pretty incredible.

Postleaf, on the other hand, has to be installed and running at all times. Imagine it like an engine that passes data through a series of templates and gives you a way to edit it. The pro is that templates are dynamic and content is structured in a very specific way, but the con is that it’s less flexible and not a great choice for arbitrary webpages.

Postleaf is also much harder to integrate with an existing website. You’d have to code every possible template you’re going to use, and you might end up hard-coding certain things that don’t fit into the title + content data structure. For a bespoke design, it’s very tedious. It makes more sense for a blog, of course.

The next question is probably, “why not use Surreal + Postleaf?”

I guess you could, but you’d have two different logins, two different dashboards, and you’d need to run Postleaf on a subdomain (or do some crazy reverse proxy-fu with nginx).

The overall experience will be much better when blogging [finally] lands in Surreal.


#8

Thanks. I love the Postleaf interface, but yeah, probably too many downsides to use it at this point.


#9

Have you tried Surreal 7 yet? The UI was inspired by my work on Postleaf.


#10

No. I was looking for more blogging features.


#11

Hi Folks… Jesse here from DropInBlog.

My ears were ringing so I thought I would stop by :slight_smile:

Thanks for the shout out Cory. :raised_hands: Yes our product is not for everyone, but we provide a lot of value and solve a major pain point (as this thread is a testament to) in a very elegant and flexible way.
It’s actually a perfect fit for Surreal sites. We’re actively running the two platforms side-by-side on a bunch of sites.

We also offer a white-label option for anyone who might be interested.

Jeremy - we have this and a few other widgets you can pop around as needed with a couple lines of code.

While DropInBlog inherits all your css and uses standard elements. It puts unique classes on everything so you can style to your liking:

<p class="dib-post-author-photo"><img src="/andera.jpg" /></p>
<p class="dib-post-author"><a class="dib-post-author-link" href="/blog/author/andrea">Andrea</a></p>
<p class="dib-post-date">May 10th, 2019</p>
<div class="dib-post-content"><p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Maximas vero virtutes iacere omnis necesse est voluptate dominante. Sed quoniam et advesperascit et mihi ad villam revertendum est, nunc quidem hactenus; Quid de Pythagora? Nam, ut sint illa vendibiliora, haec uberiora certe sunt.</p>

We’re also working on some fancy templates if you want something a bit more stylish without the work (and you can still add your own style tweaks on top):


#12

Jesse, I’d love to try out your service but unfortunately the pricing is too steep for my clients.


#13

Fair enough. We understand it’s not for everyone. That said, we have kinda found that anyone who is creating content and can’t generated enough extra revenue to justify the price, probably should be focusing their marketing efforts elsewhere.


#14

Explaining this to a client that “wants” a blog is going to be difficult. DropInBlog looks like such a cool product. Do let me know if your pricing changes.


#15

Hey Garret,

Not sure if this option has bent mentioned as yet:

Demo blog: https://demo.htmly.com/

https://www.htmly.com/

Its a Flat-File Blog and Flat-File CMS - no database.

Its runs on a html bootstrap themes which, you could just modify to work for your clients current website by adding the same navigation etc.

Cheers
Van


#16

I have no need for anything fancy. I only need a way for my clients to operate a simple blog by creating a page with a template (“Blog Post”), and have it automatically update the blog index to include the new post or a link to it.


#17

Categories and/or tags, Way to create a list of post links in a sidebar based on category/tag, most recent, also be able to incorporate recent links and/or posts on another page, like the home page, or maybe checkboxes to feature posts on home page regardless of date. Featured post image that can be displayed along with post title/intro text in the lists


#18

The repository hasn’t been updated in awhile and there is an open issue about a security problem in the CMS. I would probably keep searching if I was you.


#20

I have no need for anything fancy. I only need a way for my clients to operate a simple blog by creating a page with a template (“Blog Post”), and have it automatically update the blog index to include the new post or a link to it.

This can be done in Surreal now. Create a ‘Blog Post’ template new page. And an ‘include’ file, to act as the blog index. The client will need to manually update the include file / add the latest blog post to it and the approrpiate link.


#21

If web hooks was here, someone (perhaps me) could write a PHP script that automatically updates the blog index. I have so many ideas that could extend Surreal CMS but there needs to be an API.