A glimpse of the future: "Shadow blogs"

By Serdar Yegulalp | 2016/04/13 09:00

One of the features I have planned for much further down the road is something I call "shadow blogs", something that stems directly from my frustrations with blogging. The idea is that you can create a virtual clone of a blog that you use as a staging area for changes to a theme, so that such changes can be tried out in an interactive way and then applied all at once.

Here's how this would work:

  1. You create and work on your blog.
  2. When you want to start making major changes, like creating an entirely new theme, you create a shadow blog instance of that blog.
  3. All changes to posts, media, or other such things are applied to the original blog. All changes to the theme or the templates are applied only to the shadow blog.
  4. Pages from the shadow blog can be previewed in-place or built to a staging directory, and even served up from an alternate URL (e.g., a subdomain of your blog's main domain).
  5. When you're done making the changes, you can save the shadow blog's templates to a new theme, then apply that theme to your original blog.

One of the beauties of this approach is that you wouldn't have to actually copy anything to use live data on the new theme -- e.g., you don't have to make a clone of your blog, then manually sync changes to every post between them. The original blog remains live and accessible, and the new one simply uses the same data, save for its presentation.

The downside is that you'd need space to rebuilt a copy of the existing blog with the new theme, which I don't like. My plan is to eventually have it so that you'd be able to interactively explore the shadow blog with each page being built on the fly, as needed. Alternatively, you could build only the pages you needed to preview.

Either way, I think this would be a huge boon to those who want to revamp their blogs from the ground up, but find using live data for that process to be a terrible hassle.

Tags: features templates themes

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