Building Swordsman Library on ClassicPress

I’ve had this dream for several years now — my own personal online library of Christian literature. And it’s not only because fulfilling this dream will give me great pleasure; it’s also because this library will serve as a strong foundation for my works for God, esp. my writing. This project will have the name of Swordsman Library, and it will be part of Swordsman of the Word.

For now, my plan is to publish a small number of public-domain Bibles (like WEB, ASV, & KJV), and a select collection of public-domain, conservative, and mostly-Reformed Christian writings (like the books and sermons of John Calvin and Charles Spurgeon). And because many of these materials have audio versions courtesy of LibriVox, I’m also planning to self-host those MP3 files and embed them in the pages of their corresponding text.

Over the years I’ve tried working on this project a number of times: First, as a hosted site in WordPress.com; second, as a self-hosted WordPress site; third, as a static website created by Hugo; and fourth, as a collection of HTML pages created by Pandoc. Not one of these possible choices had seemed suitable enough for my purposes, but all the experience I’ve gained in trying them out has helped me with my final choice of platform — ClassicPress — a WordPress fork without the (hated) Gutenberg editor, a self-hosted CMS that is dedicated to long-term stability.

A static website, compared to a dynamic, database-driven website (the kind of site produced by WordPress and ClassicPress), is generally much faster and costs much less because there are no PHP processing and database queries. This should be the ideal kind of site for Swordsman Library, because it will have a vast amount of static content. However, because I also want to embed audio files in many or most of the pages, a static website becomes impractical in the long run. I will need to maintain myself the scripts used in the audio players, and that is difficult to do in a website that will eventually have thousands of pages. A better choice then is to use a content management system (CMS) that has a native audio player for embedded audio files, and that CMS is ClassicPress. By using a CMS, I don’t need to worry about the technology behind it, and the only maintenance I need to do is to secure the installation and make regular updates of the software.

Note: The one concern that I had about using a dynamic website is the future performance of the database. Can it handle the vast amount of content I’m planning to publish? I was assured in the ClassicPress community forums that it can, and that database size is never an issue in a CMS. And so ClassicPress can definitely handle this library of my dream.

As you all know, my works for Swordsman of the Word are shelved — I’m not writing any essays, musings, or journal entries, and all that you are getting from me are these news and updates. But still, I’ve promised to continually build the ministry behind the scenes, and this plan that I have for Swordsman Library is part of the fulfillment of that promise. Yes, because I am presently walking on a different path, working on this library project won’t be a priority for me, but it won’t be a forgotten work either.