I was intrigued to read that Basecamp’s (née 37 Signals) Signal v. Noise blog has moved to Medium. David Heinemeier Hansson argues that Medium is “just the right mix of flexibility and constraint,” celebrating its web-based editor, the network of users, Medium’s demonstration of concern for its customers, and Basecamp’s admirable desire to get out of the business of maintaining their own blog-hosting software.
Hansson lists the ability to use one’s own custom domain among the user-friendly changes Medium has made. “By offering custom domains, we’re ensured that no permalink ever has to break, even if we leave the platform.” Indeed, this is a valuable improvement. But it got me thinking: for a blog like Signal v. Noise, with hundreds of posts spanning more than a decade, how would Signal v. Noise’s existing permalinks be preserved? Does Medium offer some fancy permalink customization for imported posts? Is there some ability to upload static HTML content to reside alongside newer, Medium-native posts? Surely a company as obsessed with the web as Basecamp would be concerned about this. How did they solve it?
It took a little poking around and scratching my head to realize that solved the problem in a novel way that doesn’t exactly get them out of the blog-hosting business. Signal v. Noise is now hosted on two domains:
- https://signalvnoise.com/ – The previous home of the blog, hosted and managed by Basecamp themselves, continues to host the backlog of archived posts.
- https://m.signalvnoise.com/ – The new home, hosted by Medium.
So when any new Medium post is linked, it points directly to the “m.signalvnoise.com”, and is handled by Medium. When any older post is linked, it goes directly to “signalvnoise.com” and is handled the same as ever. The one change? When the main page at signalvnoise.com is visited, it redirects with a “302 Found” response to the Medium site, getting a casual visitor on track to viewing only the latest posts.
I continue to admire a lot of the work Medium is doing. I agree with the Basecamp that their web editor is among the best I’ve used. For my tastes, it can’t touch the experience of a native Mac app, but of course I’m biased. Hopefully Medium’s API will continue to evolve and make Medium a more viable platform for folks who share my preference for a desktop editor.