Communication

Exploring Sigle, a Decentalized and Open Source Blogging Platform

I am constantly on the lookout for great blogging platforms and tools. I’ve explored several WYSIWYG options such as WordPress.org (and WordPress.com), Tumblr, Squarespace, Blogger, Weebly, Webflow, and self-hosting various SSGs with editing tools like Publii and Forestry.io. Naturally, I was drawn to Sigle when it was described as a decentralized (Sigle uses Blockstack) version of WordPress (see this Forbes article).

How Similar are Sigle and WordPress

Text editor

The text editor in Sigle is similar to the pre-Gutenberg editor in WordPress. It has few options for customization (e.g., no drop caps; options for multiple columns; font color; font type). You’re limited to three levels for headings and you can bold, italicize, underline your text. I don’t have the option to underline my text in the WordPress editor but I can use strikethrough, subscripts, and superscripts. These options are not included in Sigle’s text editor. Both editors include the option for bulleted and numbered lists, inline code, and standard quotes. In WordPress you have the additional option to add pull quotes and block quotes. You also cannot alter the color of the background or font. The font type is also fixed.

Images and media files

You can only embed images in Sigle. I was able to upload a gif but it loaded as a single frame. Unlike WordPress, there are no options for resizing or justifying the image. You also cannot add a caption or embed a link.

When you embed a link into the text, it will automatically color the link a default pinkish color that you can’t change. There is no option for changing settings to open the link in another tab or tag the link as “nofollow” or sponsored.

Additional features to consider

There wasn’t an option for tables or formulas/equations. There are no extensions to supplement these standard features. Readers also cannot comment on your blog. You can, however, edit your meta title (not slug), add a meta description, and featured image. I wasn’t able to see the featured image after I published my post though.

The website states that you can add a custom domain (early access only) and that there is an RSS feed.

There are very few articles on Sigle. I couldn’t independently verify critical considerations like website speed and security. I also couldn’t test whether Sigle is mobile friendly because I couldn’t figure out how to share my test blog post. I’m fairly certain that this is the link to my post. However, when I tried accessing the link on different browsers (and the same browser after clearing my cache), I still couldn’t see the article. That means that I couldn’t test Sigle in different browsers either unless I wrote a new blog each time.

The difficulty in sharing the blog also revealed that caching is an issue. At one point, on Internet Explorer, my screen just showed me it was loading but it wasn’t actually doing anything.

Loading screen on Internet Explorer

The same thing happened in Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox when Sigle asked me to re-enter my key, only it was stuck on a different screen:

Sign in screen on Edge

One last quirk has to do with the header menu at the top of the blog–that you can’t edit. Here is what the blog looks like after you add some text:

Screenshot of my test blog post in Sigle

Not bad, until you scroll over the bulleted and numbered list:

Screenshot of Sigle’s logo over the numbered list.

Minor issue but that sort of thing really bugs me when I’m designing a blog. The header menu is sticky and isn’t transparent anywhere else except for these lists. It’s probably a really simple fix on their end.

The Takeaway

Sigle is more similar platforms like Medium and Revue than it is to WordPress. To be clear, Sigle didn’t advertise itself this way, Michael del Castillo, the author Forbes article implied it. Overall, it’s a simple blogging platform that enables you to focus on content without all the bells in whistles. I think it’s a cool concept even though I wasn’t able to share the blog post in the end. I’m interested to see how it evolves as they add more features.

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