Using DEVONthink to generate a blog directly?

I have a dream of restarting a blog. The fact that DEVONthink now supports MathJax and citations/references (two critical features for an academic like me) leads to the idea of using DEVONthink as the blogging tool itself: I could organize and write postings in DEVONthink, and use FileExportas Website… to generate the pages of the blog.

I’m also sure I’m not the first person to think of doing this. Have others among you tried this? How are you doing it? Would you care to share your workflow and tips (and lessons about what not to do)?

I for one did never think about doing this :wink: But that might be due to a lack of imagination or some other limitation on my side.

I had a blog running on WordPress which made me feel uncomfortable (WordPress, that is). After I converted to Hugo (a static website generator), I never looked back. WP is an unwieldy beast with far too many dependencies (and in parts still using jQuery, which always made me shudder). Hugo is unfortunately suffering from a bad documentation and a community that is far less helpfull than the one here.

But it is fast, very easy to customize and make it do what you want. You have (or at least I seem to have) far more control over styles, JavaScript etc that with WP. I use Visual Studio Code to write my MD files, which allows me to integrate seamlessly with Github and work on the same stuff on different machines. Also, to update the site, I can run a git pull on the server followed by a call to hugo and am done. All that via ssh, so safe enough.

I apologize that this was no direct answer to your question but only another point of view. Just PM me if you want to know more about the details.

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Thanks for your reply and ideas. As it turns out, I have some experience with other options too. I currently use Hugo for a site that I created and maintain for a long-running project (complete with custom theme, custom Hugo shortcuts, custom icons, etc.). I also experimented with Pandoc for a simple note/blogging system that I developed; originally that was partly to create a site to summarize some research done at the time, and partly with an eye towards using it for personal blogging … which I never ended up doing. More recently, I started writing documentation for software projects using a framework developed by the Executable Book Project; this uses a Python-based document generator called Sphinx together with a Markdown flavor called MyST. I’ve found this to have an excellent combination of features, to the point where I’m basically trying to decide whether to use that or figure out a way to generate blog output directly from DEVONthink.

As I’m sure you know, a lot of the options have limitations that one doesn’t encounter until actually trying to use them for real. For instance, Hugo looks nice and powerful, but when you want to customize something, you discover it’s an upward battle to figure out how to do it. After creating Pangolin notebook, I decided in the end that my own simple pandoc-based system is too simple and needs more work to add features that other blogging frameworks provide already – and does the world really need another blogging framework? And finally, JupyterBooks+MyST looks great, but its Markdown syntax for citations and other things is different from the MultiMarkdown syntax that DEVONthink uses, so I can’t simply take documents I write in DEVONthink and use them without modification with MyST or vice versa.

Currently, I put all my notes in DEVONthink. I’d like to share some of what I learn and write, but also want to (1) avoid having to keep two versions of the same content and (2) make the process require as little of my time as possible. That led to the hope that I write everything only once, in DEVONthink, and use that to produce the blog output. After considerable exploration, I’ve narrowed my options to two main approaches:

  1. Use DEVONthink’s ability to convert/export to HTML (including its built-in ability to customize the website template it uses to do that), maybe post-process the results slightly, and use that as the final blog pages.

  2. Use Sphinx/MyST to generate the blog pages, but still keep the written text in DEVONthink by storing content in a folder that is indexed by DEVONthink. This presents two suboptions:

    a) Write in MultiMarkdown-flavored markdown and post-process those markdown files to convert them to MyST flavor.

    b) Write in MyST-flavored markdown directly, and accept that some constructs won’t be interpretable when viewed in DEVONthink.

Option #1 would produce a less feature-full blog, but would (maybe?) be fastest overall. I’m curious if anyone has tried that and what their experiences are.

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