Goodbye micro.blog

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:

  1. Must use version control to store the site files.
  2. Must be able to update from the web.
  3. Should use only text files for content and configuration
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. forestry.io a CMS that works okay with the Jamstack. It’s not perfect on mobile, but it does work.
  3. GitLab to store the content. Able to edit other site configs and stuff through the web.
  4. Netlify pulls everything from GitLab on commit. Deploys without blinking.