Moving to Statamic

After 16 years using Textpattern as my CMS, Hicksdesign has now moved over to Statamic.

I've been using Statamic on my client sites for about a year now, and I love the feeling that I can built anything I need: setup content with any type of data field, relate that data to other types of data and output it exactly how I want. When I built the Where we work map for Resolve to Save Lives this was key. (I have to work on a Wordpress site for the same client, which just makes me appreciate Statamic more).

Some of the other things I love about Statamic:

  • A logical, understandable templating system ('Antlers') that doesn't require knowledge of PHP. This is something I loved about Textpattern.
  • Develop locally in my text editor of choice (Panic's soon to be released app, Nova) and upload to my site when I'm done.
  • Write posts in the lovely Control Panel, with a live preview of exactly how it will look, as I type.
  • Keep all site files and content in a Git repo.
  • A clean, well designed Control Panel, the antithesis of WordPress with a bunch of plugins installed.

It's also the accumulation of lots of little details. Textpattern has served me very well, but I'm looking forward to building more on Hicksdesign with Statamic.

I wouldn't have considered the move if I wasn't able to migrate all the posts in my Textpattern database. This is where Erin Dalzell was key, in writing a script to automate converting 17 years worth of Textpattern entries written in Textile (900+ posts) into flat markdown formatted files for Statamic. Particularly key was converting the custom fields in to new fieldtypes.

Once that was done, I decided to check each post, doing a final manual cleanup. I might have also deleted some really excruciating cringey or irrelevant ones along the way (only a handful though).

I haven't updated the design or content yet, with the exception of the archive page. This now shows a Spotify playlist for each year, as well as the correct historical Hicksdesign logo, depending on what year you're looking at. It could do with smoother transitions, but it'll do the job for now. Next is to update my folio with recent work, as its three years out of date, and add a shop to sell The Icon Handbook.

Learning version 3

A this was my first experience with version 3, there a few changes to get used to. With v2, I could just download the Statamic folder, create a local URL for it in MAMP, and I was away. The only configuration was setting a few permissions, no farting around with database connections and config files. I loved how quick it was to get started.

Statamic has always used Laravel, but version 3 is now a 'Laravel App'. If you're a developer, and particularly one that uses Laravel, this seems to be a brilliant move that everyone is excited about. For people like me, who just want to use Statamic, this has introduced a new layer to learn:

  • Before anything can happen you need to install homebrew, before you can install composer, before you can install statamic, If you want an easy life later on with other sites, install it globally.
  • I came across a few oddities where the answer was "Oh that's a Laravel thing…" and off you go to another forum to find your answer. For example, the site is now served from a /public subfolder rather than the root folder or /public_html as it is on some web hosts (like mine). I spent a while trying to get this working with .htaccess redirects or renaming public_html to public, but none of these solutions worked perfectly. In the end I got my webhost to remove the public_html directory and create a symlink to /public.
  • I tried installing Laravel Valet to create the local server, but gave up and went back to MAMP (pointing the document root to public_html).

I'm over that learning hump now (thanks to the official statamic support and the Statamic channel on Discord), and I'm back to the fun part of working in Statamic.

One last little change - you're now viewing this on hicks.design, rather than hicksdesign.co.uk. I bought a new domain to celebrate 🎉

Contact

Call Jon Hicks on +44 (0)7917 391536
Email
Tweet @hicksdesign

Hicks Design
Wenrisc House
Meadow Court
Witney, OX28 6ER
United Kingdom