Hi, I'm the co-founder and CEO of Stackbit. We're working on making it easy for developers to build modern websites in minutes. With all the recent interest in getting off Medium, especially within the tech community, I figured it's worth touching on some of the relevant shifts that are happening in the world of content editing and publishing. I also want to share some details on an experiment we're working on with the DEV community, to empower you to own your content and publish it where you'd like.
Generally speaking, content, in our context mainly blog posts, used to be created, edited and presented in the same monolithic system. Wordpress is a great example and it's likely that many of you had a Wordpress blog at some point. Editing in Wordpress was a pretty decent experience for some time but it quickly became clear that it didn't do a great job in presenting your content. The main issue was page load times, but even just having editing and rendering on the same codebase created a massive security risk which the hackers of the world took advantage of at scale and continue doing so.
If we look at Medium we can see another example of how initially the platform worked well but then showed cracks of a different kind. Medium offers a great editing experience which people value greatly and they even delivered on the promise of traffic up to a certain point in time. The challenge emerged though when it became evident that Medium's interests as a publishing platform may not be aligned with those of the majority of the users writing on the platform. This started with eliminating the option of tying your own domain to your blog, continued with big DoNotTrack popups and some would say ended with the choking of the traffic firehose. The various Medium debacles also highlighted the value of having some ownership of where your content is published (e.g. by publishing to a website on your own domain) or at the very least having enough control over your data so that you can do different things with it.
You can see the disadvantages of assuming that the best place to create your content is also the best place/way to publish it. Let's look at some of the modern alternatives that have developed in recent years.
Interestingly enough we've been witnessing the emergence of the Headless CMS, a category of OSS & SaaS products that focus purely on offering a CMS without much care or limitations on what you do with the content. Use it to statically generate a site with your content or drive content changes in a mobile app - it's all the same to the CMS. One of the greatest benefits of this unbundling is that the CMS stops being a security issue, you're much closer to owning your content and you can publish your content in one or more places of your liking.
Headless CMS come in two main flavor - those that store your content in a git repo as Markdown files and those that work more like a database with an API. If data ownership is extremely important you can even self-host an OS CMS. Learn about the top Headless CMS here - https://headlesscms.org/
If you aren't already familiar with Static Site Generators those are the tools we use to combine content from a source like a Headless CMS, with templates and generate a static copy of a website which you can then deploy to a service like Netlify. You may also want to read up on the JAMstack which is the architecture used to build these sites.
You can start seeing how these new workflows can enable you to publish your content how and where you like while creating it in a completely different environment.
Stackbit makes it extremely easy to create modern websites powered by a variety of data sources such as Headless CMS. Together with the fine folks at DEV we wanted to experiment with a couple of interesting workflows that give you more options with regards to how and where you edit and publish your content. The two approaches we're looking at are:
DEV as a Headless CMS
The DEV editor is awesome and we love it, plus a lot of you already use it to write content and publish on DEV. We want to enable you to have a personal website which is powered by your DEV content, or in other words think of DEV as Headless CMS where you mange the content you publish to your own site as well as to DEV.
Automated cross-posting to DEV from your personal blog
You can easily use Stackbit to kickstart your own personal blog powered by modern technologies and the CMS of your choice. We want to make it easy for you to automatically cross-post your content to DEV whenever you create or modify content via your CMS.
We're excited about both of these approaches and would love to hear feedback and thoughts from the community about the kind of workflows you've perhaps setup for yourself or would love to see materialize. You can expect updates from the DEV and Stackbit teams over the next couple of weeks as we zero-in on the best approaches and build out these workflows. Our goal is to enable you to have more flexibility with where your content gets created and/or published.
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