A few months ago, I stopped using Asteroid. It was a long time coming: asteroid is the first real piece of software I programmed. the first lines of code date back to 2011, when I didn’t know PHP. It was big, unmaintainable, bloated with features I barely used. I could not run it easily on my laptop. So when I cleaned the theme of the blog to something simpler, I decided it was time to swap the backend too.
Saturn is everything Asteroid should have been. It’s small (three files), can be called from either a webpage or the command line, and I know exactly how it works. In the transition, I lost the post preview feature —Asteroid could generate a temporary post visible online— but since I now have a local mirror of the blog, it doesn’t matter much.
Saturn is also modular: auxiliary functions, content modifiers and other “plug-ins” are kept in a file, and can be added and removed as desired. On this blog, I have four: Markdown, Smartypants, reading time —these are included by default— and one that creates embedded Youtube and Vimeo videos from simple short codes.
Even though it’s not needed, I’ve also written a small API, completely optional this time. But in the four months I’ve been running the blog with Saturn, I’ve not felt the need to use it once.
If you need a simple, small blog engine that can run on most shared hosting, Saturn’s source is available on GitHub. I would not call it a release version, but I’ve been using it since October and haven’t had one crash since.