What’s happening with The Morning Paper?

I hope things have been going well for you during the various stages of covid-19 lockdowns. In the UK where I am things are just starting to ease, although it looks like I’ll still be working remotely for a considerable time to come.

Lockdown so far has been bittersweet for me. Two deaths in my extended family, neither covid related, but both with funerals impacted, and one life-threatening incident in my immediate family (all ok now thank goodness, but it was very stressful at the time!). At the same time it’s been a wonderful opportunity to spend more quality time with my family and I’m grateful for that.

Covid-19, the lack of in-person schooling for children, and fully remote working have interrupted my routines just like they have for many others. I’ve still been studying pretty hard (it’s almost a form of relaxation and retreat for me), but in a different subject area. My current intention is to pick up The Morning Paper again for the new academic term, starting in September. I’ll no doubt have a huge backlog of interesting papers to look at by then – if you’ve encountered any on your travels that you think I ought to be reading, please do let me know.

The Morning Paper is now strattically rendered.

There is one exciting thing that’s happened with The Morning Paper during this lockdown period though, but you’ll need to look closely to spot it! Last year I spent some time looking at the JAM Stack and became enthused by the benefits of statically rendered sites. So when I saw Strattic it immediately resonated with me. Strattic take a WordPress site and convert it into a static site. Visitors to the site get a super-fast browsing experience, publishers continue to be able to use the WordPress authoring experience and plug-in ecosystem, and attackers have next to no surface area to attack (WP has always been a key target due to its popularity and large surface area) because the only public-facing resources are static pages. I’m pleased to say that Accel invested!

For historical reasons, The Morning Paper has always been hosted on WordPress (at WordPress.com, which I was very happy with, not wanting to maintain my own WordPress installation). Over the last few weeks though, The Morning Paper has moved over to Strattic. What you should mostly see is much faster page-loads. The commenting system has also changed (as it can no longer rely on server-side WordPress components), but all existing comments have been imported. I do lose the site analytics (number of visitors etc.) that came for free with WordPress.com. There are JAMStack options for restoring that, but I prefer not to track visitors at all. One nice side-benefit to this is that I can finally get more control over the rendering of math in posts (which should also work better for those of you using screen-reading devices). I do need to go back over old posts and update them to replace the WordPress $latex math prefix with the straightforward and more conventional plain $ delimiting, and I’ll be working my way through them over the next couple of weeks.

A huge thank you to the team at Strattic for helping me with the migration. If like many companies you’re powering a website or blog with WordPress, it’s well worth checking them out!