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Friday, July 6, 2018

Hello, long time no see

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Pic by Josh Felise

I owe you guys an apology.

You all will have noticed that I’ve been away from FlatPress forums for quite a while.

And you’ll all have noticed that it’s been quite a while since the last FlatPress release.

So, sorry about that.

Reason I’m breaking the silence today is that, in the last few days, this server has been compromised. Now it should be back online, but I am taking this chance to to say what you all already know.

The FlatPress project is basically dead.

FlatPress was born, believe it or not, 12 years ago.

In 2006, PHP 4 and shared hosts roamed the Earth. Many of these free services did not provide a SQL installation, and even the PHP installs were extremely limited. I started blogging with SimplePHPBlog (another dead project), but at some point, together with some friends (drudo and hydra) from the Italian community, we started developing something more extensible. FlatPress was born there.

But times have changed. Nowadays, there are fewer blogs. People use Twitter, Facebook, and, often, for longer texts, Medium. WordPress is still present, both as a hosted platform, and as the usual self-hostable script. It’s changed a lot, too.

PHP itself has changed a lot. In 2006, I chose PHP for FlatPress because it was everywhere. But today, as a programmer, I can host a Jekyll/Hugo/Pelican (etc.) blog on GitHub.io in seconds. These static web site/blog generators are a breeze to use, and there are many for non-programmers, too. They all share the FlatPress spirit, of being simple, easy to customize, with a flat-file post format that can be easily edited in a plain text editor. And, what’s better, they don’t even require a scripting language on your server, because they’re pre-rendered before you upload them!

Comments, you ask? We don’t need to self-host those either: we have Disqus, Facebook comments and many more.

Static web site generators are now really practical, and in my view, almost the norm. So, if you loved FlatPress, that’s what you should try.

So, here’s the thing:

The FlatPress project has no reason to exist anymore

It’s been ages since I’ve touched a line of PHP code, anyway. And PHP has changed a lot too. Nowadays I’m mostly a backend guy and I work with a range of technologies that span from Java to Scala, to native. Hell, I don’t even recognize HTML and CSS anymore. And PHP? And JavaScript? They’re completely different languages now! Not to mention that I’m pretty sure the FlatPress code base is pretty much crap now :P (but hey, it was my first nontrivial project!)

I have finished my PhD in DSL and programming language development in 2015, I joined the R&D department at UniCredit Bank; and finally I have joined Red Hat this year. You can follow me on Twitter if you’d like to

What now?

Code will still be on GitHub. If anybody is interested, you can contact me, and I’ll give access to the theme archive. The website will be probably still available up to October 2018, then it’ll probably shut down.

As for migration for your old posts, I have tried more than once to create a “converter” script for FlatPress posts to markdown (most of these platform use Markdown), or at least HTML. Unfortunately I’ve never had the time. Hopefully, someone from the community will.

Thank you

So, I take the chance to say, today, on my 32nd birtday, thank you FlatPress, and thank you, FlatPress community, it’s been one hell of a ride.

Edoardo Vacchi a.k.a. the NoWhereMan

  1. Barbara Avatar for Barbara

    Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 02:10:05

    Happy to see you back after a long time. When you came back finally, we thought that your blog will be active as before. But it is very disappointing to hear that you are shutting it by October. It’s true that many new blogging platforms are introduced. But still you can improve your blog by incorporating new ideas. You are talented enough to give a brand new start to your blog. So don’t give up. We want to see you back with a successful blog. For more details Ref: https://triumphessays.com/

  2. Arvid Avatar for Arvid

    Sunday, July 29, 2018 - 14:02:44

    Edoardo, thanks for your work on FlatPress (oh, and congrats to the Ph.D. and the Red Hat gig)!

    I understand you do not have the time to maintain FlatPress anymore (I’ve been through this as well). But I disagree completely on “nobody needs a self-hosted blogging system anymore”: Using a foreign-hosted blogging service (and even worse, also outsource the comment section to services like Disqus) makes you completely dependent on that services. If it shuts down, your blog is gone. If they think you violate their ToS, your blog is gone. … - you get my point.
    So for the people out there not thinking Facebook is the right place to be present online, an independent self-hosted like FlatPress is still a great tool.

    It would be great if at least the forums and plugin/theme archive would be preserved and accessible, so people who run FlatPress would not be without any support suddenly, and the work of plugin and theme developers wouldn’t be gone.
    Is there a way to achieve that? (Drop me a line by email if you like to chat how it could be done.)

    Thanks for a great blogging tool and the years of effort evolving it!
    Regards from Germany, Arvid

  3. Stoyan Avatar for Stoyan

    Monday, August 6, 2018 - 08:55:02

    Congratulations on your life achievements and thank you for flatpress!

    I still use it and it is still quite ok for most of my needs. And yep, I use Hugo too exactly because it resembles flatpress a bit. Still I can’t but feel like we’re going backwards with these static site generators. And I really HATE using external services for comments, search and even fonts. I can’t image what a chore it would be if for example Font Awesome just decide to do what you did with flatpress.

    Here is the big difference. With flatpress I can continue to use it. I won’t loose any comments or post. It really bugs me when even pro developers like yourself are turning to closed private services for even most basic stuff.

    Anyway, thank you again for flatpress! Really hope that you will keep this site at least as an archive.

  4. Erik Avatar for Erik

    Thursday, August 9, 2018 - 13:10:28

    I have to agree with other comment posters. I don’t like to rely on 3rd party services. I want to be in control of all the data.

    People get tracked by big companies all over the web, the last thing we need is giving them more power by using their services for our own sites.

  5. NoWhereMan Avatar for NoWhereMan

    Friday, August 10, 2018 - 03:39:36

    Heh, I understand all of you guys, but at the same time I don’t have time to dedicate to FlatPress anymore. The code will stay there for anyone to grab, fork and whatever, but I wouldn’t really advise it: the code base really is old, coding style has changed a lot in the last decade.

    I don’t think we’re going backwards with static generators. Blogs are largely static, the only dynamic part really it’s comments. So, posts, you still 100% own that; on the other hand, indeed you’ll have to give up owning comments.

    I understand how one could see value in owning comment data. On the other hand, handling spam is such a chore! And, in my experience, many comment sections are often extremely low-value (of course, your mileage may vary).

    As for forums and wiki, we can see if we can manage to do something there

    @Arvid I’ll contact you.

  6. 192.168.0.1 Avatar for 192.168.0.1

    Monday, September 17, 2018 - 23:43:17

    PHP has changed a lot. I don’t even recognize HTML and CSS anymore!

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