Migrating This Blog to Kirby


Yes, that's right dear reader, this site has gone through yet another change - it's now based on Kirby and I think I've finally found my blogging utopia.

Most regular readers will know that I struggle to stick with a single blogging platform. This is because I'm always on the hunt for something better, and I really enjoy learning new tools.

This time around, I've flipped from Blot to Kirby. I have to say, I've really enjoyed learning Kirby - don't get me wrong, it's been a challenge as I'm not a PHP developer, but it's been fun learning.

CMS? Git? Text editor?

I tend to flip-flop around different tools as none of them have a perfect workflow for me. For example, I love the WordPress CMS, but there's lots of features in WP that I don't use, so it would be good if I could edit the CMS UI to only display what I actually use.

I realise that the WP UI can be customised with plugins and code, but it's not really designed to do that. I want something native that I can use how I want.

I also really like the simplicity of a static site generator, like Jekyll or Blot, with a Git workflow that automatically publishes changes to the site.

Sometimes I wanna use a CMS that I can login to, other times I want to write something in my text editor and publish it via Git. It just depends on how I feel. Problem is, nothing I've tried in the past can easily do both.

But Kirby can...


Kirby comes with a fantastic CMS, dubbed the "Panel". Out of the box it's really bare bones, but it's designed to be customised to the site owner's needs. To do this, Kirby uses "blueprints" to customise pretty much every aspect of the Panel UI.

For example, here's a look at the homepage of my Panel. I've customised it so that blog posts and drafts take up the majority of the page, but I can also see the pages I have on the site, as well as a handy-dandy Git status for the site too:

My Kirby panel homepage

Then, when editing posts, like this very post, I have another blueprint. I don't need feature images, template selectors, SEO gubbins and all that other noise WordPress offers. But if I did, I could easily add those fields to my article blueprint. It's all just YAML.

My Kirby post editor

I can go one step further and setup blueprints for pretty much any aspect of the site. For example (with a lot of help from Manu Moreale) I was able to create a blueprint for all the watches in my collection:

Watches panel page
The main watches page
Single watch item editor page
An example of a single watch in my collection

This can be done for all kinds of thing. I have a blueprints for images, so whenever I click on an image in the panel, I can add custom attributes like alt, CSS class and lazy loading.

The Kirby Panel is ridiculously powerful - I've never known anything like it. Seriously, it's a joy to use.

Text files and Git?

But what if I want to use good old text files and Git to push changes to my site? You know, kinda like a static site generator. Well dear reader, Kirby has me covered again.

It's not quite the same as an SSG in that there's no frontmatter on Kirby, but there is something very similar. If I want to write a post manually, I'd just create a new sub-folder beneath my home page in the folder tree, then add a file called article.txt so Kirby knows to use my article template to display the page.

Then I just add the contents as follows:

Title: This is the post title
Description: This is the meta description for the post
Published: 2023-09-30 15:21
Tags: Opinion, Meta
Text: This is where the main content for the post goes. Just write some **markdown** here and Kirby will do the rest.

It really is as simple as that. You already saw that I have Git integrated into my Kirby Panel thanks to this plugin. So once I'm done, I just push the changes to Github, and Kirby will do the rest.

It's so simple, yet so flexible.

The negatives

The only negative I've really found with Kirby so far, is my lack of knowledge. It was really difficult for me to wrap my head around the various parts of Kirby, but things are starting to click into place and make sense now. It was the same when I started developing with WordPress.

I've already mentioned the huge amount of help I got from my friend Manu, but even if you don't have your very own Manu, like me, the Kirby forums are spectacularly good. The Kirby team have people on the payroll (I think) that assist in the forums. While I was setting up my Kirby site, I asked a lot of questions on the forum. Every single time I received a solution, and I never waited more than a couple of hours for a response.

I've never know anything like it. The Kirby forums are incredibly good.


Kirby isn't free. A license costs are around £100 for a site, which lasts for an entire major release. Kirby is about to hit version 4.0, so if you buy a license now, even though they're still on v3.x, the license will carry over to version 4, which I think is great.

Kirby 3.0 was released in 2019, so the £100 license lasts for multiple years.

I don't actually see this as a negative. Some people might, which is why I'm mentioning it, but I think it's very important to financial support these kind of indie projects. And by having a cost associated with all major releases, it means Kirby has an ongoing source of income.

It's also worth mentioning that you can download and use Kirby indefinitely on a local development environment, it's only when the site is published to the internet that a license is required. Again, I think this is a great as it allows people to try before they buy.

Final thoughts

I'm really happy with my new Kirby powered site. It's so damn flexible, yet powerful. At this point, with the blueprints I've setup, it feels like I have my own, custom-made CMS that's designed just for me.

That's bloody impressive!

You know me, dear reader, a year from now I could well be running something completely different to power this blog. But honestly, I really doubt it as this is the first platform I've used that legitimately ticks all my boxes.

If you're thinking about starting a new blog, or changing the platform your existing blog is based on, I'd strongly suggest you try Kirby.

Lastly, I'd like to thank both Manu Moreale and Sonja Broda. Manu went above and beyond with the help he gave me, and Sonja - who's on the Kirby team - was the person that most often replied to my noobish forum posts. She was always patient with me, and always gave me the solution I needed.

Once I become more comfortable with the inner workings of Kirby, I intend to float around the Kirby forums to try and give something back to the community.

Kev Quirk

30 Sep 2023 at 16:40

Stuck in the Chicken Coop 😂

 This evening, while my wife was putting the kids to bed, she asked me if I'd go and check on the chickens as it was getting dark. Being the dutiful husband that I am, I trotted off up the field to make sure they were all settled down for the evening and that they were safe.

While I was checking on them, the door to the coop blew shut and inadvertently dropped one of the bolts that locks the door...those bolts are on the outside of the coop. I was on the inside of it.

Luckily for me, I had my phone with me, so was able to phone my wife for help. She came and set me free...eventually.

Since I had my phone with me, and I was waiting for my wife to (eventually) save me, I decided to shoot a little video of the situation. Here's that video... 😂

Kev Quirk

28 Sep 2023 at 19:55

“Thing” Is the Worst Word in the English Language


I absolutely hate the word "thing". Like, seriously, what value does that word have? It adds nothing to a conversation and should be erased from the dictionary.

Picture the scene, dear reader; I'm in one room, and my kids are in another. Then, out of nowhere, one of them shouts:

Daaaaaaaaad, what's this thing here?

To which I usually respond with something like "what thing? use your bloody words!" And to my great annoyance, their response is usually something like:

This little thing by my bed.

How the fuck am I supposed to know what that "little thing" is next to your bed? I'm in another bloody room!

I don't use words like "fuck" in front of my kids. I'm just saying this for effect, chill your boots.

Then, a few minutes later I'll be met with a similar comment from my wife...

Kev, why has the light gone off on that thing in the bedroom?

I get even more annoyed at my wife when she does this as she should know better.


My wife usually gets annoyed at me at this point - understandably since I just swore at her - but in my defence, she is a grown fucking woman...and a teaching assistant at that. If there's anyone who should know how to use proper words, it's her!

The response I get back is often something like:

Ok, moody-arse...I'm talking about the round, white internet thing that's under the chair in the bedroom. Why is the light off?"

"THANK YOU! I can work with that...that's the access point and the lights go off in the evening so they don't annoy us in bed."

Like, was it really that hard to form that sentence? I don't think so.

Please stop using "thing"

I'd like to start a petition, dear reader. The next time you hear someone describing an object as "that thing" you have my permission to slap their face.

"Thing" is an atrocious word that has no place being used as an adjective. It's a useless supplement for the tens of thousands of wonderful words we have in the English language.

Please, stop doing this thing.

Kev Quirk

27 Sep 2023 at 17:55



Outland book cover

✍️ Written by: Dennis E Taylor
🏷 Genre: Sci-fi / fantasy
🗓 Published: 01 January 2015
📄 Pages: 360
🧐 My rating: ★★★★★ / 5 stars

When an experiment to study quantum uncertainty goes spectacularly wrong, physics student Richard and his friends find that they have accidentally created an inter-dimensional portal. They connect to an alternate Earth with identical geology, but where humans never evolved. They go panning for gold and become millionaires overnight, while fantasizing about Nobel Prizes and patents.

Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts on Earth in an explosion large enough to destroy civilization and kill half the planet. Richard and his friends have less than an afternoon to get as many people as possible across to Outland before Nebraska is covered in a lethal cloud of ash.

Now Richard finds himself in charge of a disorganized and frightened band of reluctant pioneers, on a world with none of the modern infrastructure that people have come to depend on. Richard has been a loner all his life, and has always wanted to be part of something bigger– but this is far more than he bargained for. If he doesn’t get this right, it’s not just the lives of the people in his care that could be lost– it may very well be the end of human civilization.

Buy on Amazon

In stark contrast to the last book I read, I absolutely loved Outland. This came as a recommendation on Mastodon, and I'm really glad I took the advice.

It's a short book, at only 300 or so pages, but it's such an interesting read. I like the way Taylor focusses on the challenges the students have as they are responsible for hundreds of refugees all of a sudden. They're basically making it up as they go along, and having to constantly think outside the box. These aren't heroes, they're just kids trying to do the best they can, and everyone loves an underdog, right?

I can't wait to get started on the second book.

Kev Quirk

26 Sep 2023 at 10:15

Metro 2034


Metro 2034 book cover

✍️ Written by: Dmitry Glukhovsky
🏷 Genre: Sci-fi / fantasy
🗓 Published: 16 March 2009
📄 Pages: 526
🧐 My rating: ★☆☆☆☆ / 1 star

The basis of two bestselling computer games Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light, the Metro books have put Dmitry Glukhovsky in the vanguard of Russian speculative fiction alongside the creator of Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko.

A year after the events of METRO 2033 the last few survivors of the apocalypse, surrounded by mutants and monsters, face a terrifying new danger as they hang on for survival in the tunnels of the Moscow Metro.

Featuring blistering action, vivid and tough characters, claustrophobic tension and dark satire the Metro books have become bestsellers across Europe.

Buy on Amazon      Buy on Kobo

I was really disappointed with this book, so much so that I think this is the first 1 star rating I've given.

After the first book, I was excited to get going on number 2, but the story just felt more of the same and offered nothing new.

The characters were crap, the story was crap (as nothing really happened) and the ending was really crap. I've already bought the 3rd book in the series, but I'm regretting that now as I doubt I'll read it.

Kev Quirk

25 Sep 2023 at 13:30

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