In my last post, I've talked about several options for static blogging engine or service. But I just found out an amazing service farbox developed by a Chinese team, which turns your dropbox folder into blogs, image gallery, or any static website. What amazes me most is that farbox does all the heavy lifting behind the scene, and end users only need to focus on content writing. Farbox is also versitle, as it has fully customizable template , open API and cross-platform editor. I've switched from scriptogr.am to farbox and so far my experience is great.
I had my blog set up in farbox in just 10 seconds, literally. First, log in through dropbox at farbox.com. Create a folder in dropbox/Apps/Farbox. Then, drag your .md, .txt or even .docs files into that new foler. Then, you are all set. How long will that take? You don't need to go back to farbox to sync or something. Everything is synced automatically with dropbox sync. In 10 seconds, you have a blog at xxx.farbox.com.
If you copy photos into site folder, they will be displayed as photo gallery if the template you are using has "album" support. Farbox can read exif data from photos, resize when necessary. It even provides filters to process images. As I said, most of the work is already done on the server side, such as database, sync server, web server, etc, which makes end user experience smooth and simple.
Unlike service like scriptogr.am or calepin.io, you blog template is limited, farbox offers completely full control of template customization. Farbox uses jinja2 as templating language. You put templating file into "template" folder inside your site folder. Then farbox will pick up your template and serve it to your blog.
Another really cool thing is that you can easily "clone" other farbox blogs' template into your own blog without writing a single line of code. By change site configs, it's easy to create a beautiful blog with your own personality.
Farbox provide it's own markdown editors in windows and mac version. They are best used with farbox service since it provides some specific functions like sync template, domains binding. But you are not tied to using their software, you may as well use you favorite editor of choice (I use Mou in Mac)
To me, farbox offers a sophisticated blend of ease of use and functionality. Here are a few official blog posts that describe farbox design idea and technical basis. Even though right now, all the documentation are in Chinese, they do plan to roll out English version. For those who want to have a versatile static blog/website, and know Chinese already, check out farbox!