The new blog, powered by App Engine, is now live! First post!
Awesome art by John!
Last week I snagged Nick Johnson's super light Bloggart blog engine, and worked on it until it supported all of the features we needed. I am still slowly contributing our changes back to the main project. I hope more people jump on board to help out the project as well!
The new blog should look pretty much identical to the old one, but under the hood it's totally different. Here's some of the advantages we've gained by switching to Google App Engine.
Basically, as more concurrent visitors hit the site, Google will seamlessly run the Wolfire blog on additional servers -- and Google has a ton of servers. The site will always be responsive and available even under ridiculously high traffic.
Our old WordPress blog didn't scale well. Even after installing "WP Super Cache" and following advice on tuning Apache, our server still slowed down unacceptably during periods where we are featured on Slashdot, Ars Technica, or other infamous WordPress killers.
I'm not a professional sysadmin and every once in a while, our dedicated server would die. It's usually fine after a reboot, but I would really rather not have this happen ever, and it's pretty much inevitable that the server will eventually explode. Thankfully, Google App Engine has near perfect uptime thanks to massive redundancy. I trust Google's massive legion of engineers much more than myself, and it's one more thing that I don't have to think about.
App Engine gives you roughly the first 5 million requests / month free. Needless to say, we're not very close to achieving that, so we are actually paying nothing for the blog, despite taking advantage of Google's infrastructure. Now we can safely scale down our dedicated server since the blog was using 99% of its resources and save a lot of money!
Probably WordPress' biggest flaw is that it has a terrible track record with security. It seems like there are new security vulnerabilities in WordPress all the time, and if you don't upgrade your installation within a small window of time (assuming the exploits are not in the wild) your blog will be hacked. Old school Wolfire fans may remember one time our blog was peddling various male enhancement products. Yeah -- that was WordPress, not a new business model.
To be honest, I'm not really sure how it's possible for it to be so insecure, but the new blog is pretty much foolproof. You can see by its app.yaml file. Basically, it's not possible to publish or edit a blog post outside of the admin area and this area is only accessible to certain Google accounts. End of story!
Being just a few hundred lines of code, versus ~50,000 lines probably helps a lot in the security department.
So I hope you guys like the speediness of the new blog! Please let me know if you notice any weirdness. Sorry about the blog posts getting marked as new if you are an RSS subscriber, FeedBurner got a little confused by the switch!