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13 Clean and Simple Open-Source Blogging Platforms for Your Developer Blog

Your blog should be built with one of these open-source platforms.

If you are recently starting to learn web development and would like to keep a blog to discuss your learning and career options, open-source is definitely for you. Many popular blogging platforms are not really a good fit for developers, because the platforms are cluttered with features that developers don't really want (or need). 

After searching the web for some common and not so common open-source blogging platforms, I have come up with this list. The ideal blogging platforms for coders of all levels are most certainly the open-source platforms. More preferably the totally free ones. 

1. Jekyll

This static site generator creates a website out of your markup files. It makes for a relatively fast and secure website. Many high traffic sites are built with Jekyll. Examples include Twitch Con, UN World Statistics, and Netflix Devices. The fastest way to get started with Jekyll is to check out the existing sites and then fork and contribute your own modifications. 

You will find other open source projects developed around Jekyll:

  • Exitwp: a tool to migrate your blog from WordPress to Jekyll. 
  • Octopress: to blog like a hacker. 
  • JekyllBootstrap: to host your blog for free using GitHub Pages.

Give Jekyll a try. 

2. Listed

This is a minimal, no-interface, open-source platform that allows for cryptocurrency tipping and paywall. To post your articles, Listed uses the Standard Notes writing app, which requires paid yearly subscriptions. The features include: CSS styling, mailing list option, email subscription, and cryptocurrency tipping. 

Give Listed a try. 

3. Ghost

Ghost is open-source and non-profit. The blogging platform is very focused on content. The company behind Ghost shares their revenue openly to the public, but the platform does not offer any free plan. It hosts approximately less than 1% of the web population.

Give Ghost a try. 

4. Hugo

Their website claims that Hugo is one of the most popular open-source static site generators. Going through the hundreds of available templates online, it practically has something for everything. Like other static site generators, Hugo translates your markup files and you’ll work with a command line interface. This open-source project is free and offers support from its community of developers. 

Give Hugo a try. 

5. Hexo

This open-source blogging platform is powered by Node.js. You’ll need to install Node.js and git first before installing Hexo. Most of the themes available are minimalist, simple and clean.

Most reviews claim that deployment with Hexo is fast and easy. It is a hacker-friendly platform that supports the following markup languages: HTML, Markdown, AsciiDoc, and Org-Mode. This open-source project provides ample support through its large community, but the majority of its users are not English speaking. 

Give Hexo a try.

6. Pelican

This one is written in Python, and requires no database or server-side logic. Your content can be written in reStructuredText, Markdown, or AsciiDoc. It supports multiple languages and allows you to import your content from Wordpress and other services. The themes are mainly minimalist, simple and intuitive in design. 

Give Pelican a try. 

7. Bolt

This is a free open-source lightweight content management system that uses Twig for its templates. The backend interface is responsive and mobile. To install, you will use either the command line or the FTP client. The architecture is clean and is relatively easy to learn. 

Give Bolt a try. 

8. Poet

This open-source platform is a blog generator in Node.js. The neat thing about Poet is that it lets you use whatever markup language you are comfortable with, Markdown, Jade, whatever you want. It lets you customize the routes for your blog posts and pages quite simply. 

Give Poet a try. 

9. Nikola

This is a free, open-source blogging platform that generates static websites. Your markup files can be in Markdown, IPython (Jupyter) Notebooks, HTML, reStructuredText, Markdown and HTML. Nikola is fast, because it only rebuilds the pages that need rebuilding to save CPU time and upload bandwidth. 

It will also help you switch from various other blogging platforms, such as Blogger, Wordpress, arbitrary webpage, Tumblr, Goodreads, feeds, and Twitpic. It provides multilingual supports in 40 languages and provide you the ability to have links between different versions of a post. The themes are aplenty and you can learn to create a theme using the Theming Tutorial and Theming Reference.

Give Nikola a try.  

10. toto

A site made with toto.

Designed for hackers, toto is a minimalist blogging platform that runs entirely on Git. You get to control the version of your content the way you control your code. Articles are stored in .txt files, and templating is done through ERB. Its readme file on GitHub defines toto as “the tiniest blogging engine in Oz!” Even more, its repo describes toto as "the 10 second blog-engine for hackers."

Give toto a try.

11. Anchor CMS

This is light content management system, with a source code that is only a little over 200 KB. Anchor supports Markdown syntax and allows for the idea of art-directed logging, which displays certain articles in custom artsy style—different from the parent site. Art-directed blogs and articles was a way to push the boundaries of layouts and design for content. 

Give Anchor CMS a try. 

12. Postleaf

Another free and open-source blogging platform built on Node.js. It offers a completely customizable post-centric content management system that works well with blogging and full websites. The platform uses the dynamic images approach, allowing to resize and adjust dimensions on-the-fly. Postleaf supports multi-user roles. 

Give Postleaf a try.

13. WordPress

Wordpress.org it turns out is also free and open-source. To run WordPress, the host should provide support for PHP 7.2 or greater, MySQL 5.6 and up, or MariaDB 10.0 and up, and HTTPS. 

Give WordPress a try. 

Why should you contribute to open-source projects?

By using an open-source blogging platform, you have the potential to contribute to the project and help develop it as you work on your own blogging plan. Contributing to an open-source project is a rewarding experience to learn and teach a particular subject. 

You'll improve your existing skills and meet people interested in similar things. Remember, you can contribute whatever skills you have by doing corresponding tasks. It doesn't have to be code. So get forking!

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