I try not to post too many metablogging posts. Other people do it better and I’m trying to focus on journalling what I learn as a software engineer and manager, not what tools I use for blogging. However after losing another post to WordPress’s built-in editor I decided Something Must Be Done. I think this is only the second post I lost, but it’s a fairly regular occurrence for a journalist friend of mine and I really don’t have that much time to retype blog entries that ended up in Bit Nirvana.

My first attempt was to resurrect the weblogger-mode setup I used to have a while ago but after switching the admin interface on my WordPress install to https, I couldn’t quite get it to work again. Plus it was a bit of a half hearted attempt as I never quite warmed to this mode in the first place. It’s actually quite odd as I tend to use gnus semi-regularly and the interface is very similar, but it never quite clicked for me for writing blog posts.

If I would exclusively blog on Windows, I’d just use Windows Live Writer, but as I switch between Windows, OS X, Linux and FreeBSD depending on which machine I’m on, Windows only software just isn’t going to cut it.

As everybody raves about org-mode (which I admittedly have never used) I decided to give org2blog a chance. It’s probably not the smartest idea to try to learn too many new tools at the same time but at least Emacs doesn’t occasionally eat my scribblings. Plus, I’ve started using Jekyll for another one of my experimental blogs, so using org mode and having they ability to publish to a Jekyll blog is also very useful.

So far I’ve got the basics up and running and the main blog configured. I’m using visual-line-mode to do automatic line wrapping and now will have to set up flyspell on the machines that haven’t got it installed yet so I can have basic spell checking.

So far, the basic workflow I’m planning is:

  • Sketch the post(s) and write the drafts in Emacs in the comforts of my local machine
  • Publish them as drafts to my standalone WordPress install
  • Do the final editing and spill chucking in WordPress
  • Ignore or heed the recommendations from the WordPress SEO plugin. That’ll be mostly ignore, then
  • Schedule the final publishing on the WordPress admin console

Hopefully that should work better than the “log into WordPress and start typing” approach I’ve used so far.

4 thoughts on “Improving my blogging workflow using Emacs (of course)”

  1. I use emacs to manage my blog posts, too (only one of which is a WordPress blog). I write them all up in an org mode master file and then export to HTML (which automatically opens in a browser). Then I just copy-paste from the viewing browser into the WordPress edit-box. There are probably faster ways to do it but this was natural and I haven’t needed to bother with more. Plus, I’ve customized orgmode to format code blocks and keystrokes for my tech blog, which works nicely.

    I’ve been intrigued by Jekyll, though, so I might have to look in to that one.

    1. I haven’t actually got around to setting up the org2blog export for Jekyll yet but if/when I get around to that I’ll probably blog about it :).

      One reason I like the org2blog workflow for WordPress is that it allows me to do all editing other than the final edit/SEO tweaks inside Emacs as it’ll happily save drafts to WordPress and then pick up and edit them again later. That’s a big bonus for me as it helps me avoid the “WordPress ate my blog post” situation that I originally tried to fix by switching to org2blog.

Leave a Reply