Here we go, finally a real IndieWeb meta-blog post about the tools I’m using. Not quite, but that will come up at some point I’m sure.
I’d been kicking around the idea of doing an online-journal/blog/project notebook thing since at least January. Starting new habits on the first day of a month seems to work best for me, but I had a bunch of missed and false starts so far this year. I was having trouble finding a stack I could “live in” comfortably. The requirements are simple:
- Must use version control to store the site files.
- Must be able to update from the web.
- Should use only text files for content and configuration
- Should be able to update from a phone.
So I started writing my own little blog engine thing in PHP. It worked, but it would have to be hosted (not a deal-breaker), and it was already the 28th of March so an April 1st launch would have been a little too “well, it’s working” for me to want to show off.
That started me looking at the Jamstack. The first place I looked was Jekyll. It’s comfortable for me, I’ve used it before, liquid templates are clean and flexible, the whole stack can be thrown into a docker container for local builds, there are tons of themes available, and the content organization is simple to understand. Unfortunately, it also takes a ton of time to build in a deployment pipeline because of all of the dependencies it brings along. So using Netlify would mean waiting minutes for a tiny site to deploy. I’m generally patient, but long build/deploy times for sub-megabyte websites doesn’t seem very 2020.
So I signed up for micro.blog. There’s the potential for a built-in audience via the discover page (which updates just a hair too infrequently to be a real draw), and the community is interested in the whole IndieWeb thing.
There’s a lot of talk on there about “closing my social media accounts and moving everything over to micro.blog”. I understand the desire to own your platform, but that’s not it. It’s a half-measure at best. Moving from Twitter to micro.blog is like moving to the suburbs because you don’t like your upstairs neighbor. So I guess this is me saying, “The suburbs are boring and I’m going to live by myself in the woods.”
“The Stack” as it stands:
- Hugo took a minute to wrap my head around the content structure, but now I’m here. Lots of good things: small, fast, written in GoLang, no dependencies for builds means fast deployments.
- forestry.io a CMS that works okay with the Jamstack. It’s not perfect on mobile, but it does work.
- GitLab to store the content. Able to edit other site configs and stuff through the web.
- Netlify pulls everything from GitLab on commit. Deploys without blinking.