Dropbox Paper for blogging

I love Dropbox Paper. It’s such an excellent tool for writing and collaboration. In this post, let me share my experience of setting up personal blogging with Dropbox Paper.

Why Dropbox Paper

When it comes to a blog, I have these needs:
  • Easy to record ideas and update post. No matter on the train, at home, or in the office, I keep coming up with ideas all the time. I need an easy way to record these fragile ideas. After the blog gets posted, I need an easy way to keep reviewing and updating it.
  • Easy to share. Reading, writing and sharing, that’s a positive loop of learning. So I need an easy way to share my posts.
  • Easy to implement. I have basic front-end skills, but I’m not a pro. With the tight schedule I have, I don’t want to spend too much time learning to code. Also, I want to integrate it into my existing website, so that I don’t have to rebuild the whole site.
After doing some research, I choose Dropbox paper over other options:
  • Ghost and Wordpress are too professional and complicated. It requires somewhat efforts to learn and set up. Also, they’re challenging to integrate into my website, and I have to start everything from scratch.
  • Medium is a great blog platform for reading and sharing, and it provides API for developers. But there’s so much content in the platform which makes people hard to immerse in writing. It also lacks basic capabilities to manage docs, it’s important when you have hundreds of ones.
  • Dropbox Paper is born for writing. It has almost everything I need:
  • Simple text editor, no complicated and unnecessary features.
  • Both desktop site and mobile app are available. I can write whenever I have ideas.
  • Easy to manage docs. I can keep my notes, drafts, posts all in one place.
  • API provided. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, to rebuild a text editor for writing. Only need to focus on the “View” and “Controller”.

How to set it up

There’s a handy tool to explore the APIs provided by Dropbox - Dropbox API Explorer.
I only use 2 APIs: “docs/list” to get the id of all the docs under my blog account. “docs/download” to get post’s HTML by its id.
The APIs are basic, I have to find a few workarounds to meet some specific needs:
  • Drafts and posts control. “docs/list” returns the id of all the docs under one account. Since it doesn’t support to get specific docs, I have to create another account to split posts and drafts. Once the blog is ready to post, I only need to share it with the blog account. It would be accessible from my website immediately.
  • Tags. There’s no direct way to add tags in Dropbox Paper. I create tags in specific paragraphs,  then I can split and handle it by javascript. I use this way to add the date and intro as well.

Basic, but enough

I have to admit the blog is very basic, but it’s enough for me. I'm a total pragmatist. I fancy the efficiency of writing, posting and updating more than powerful but unnecessary features.
For people only need simple blogging, I would definitely recommend trying Dropbox Paper.