3 min

Static Blog Site

Testing the concept

When I started blogging in 2001, I used a web app called Greymatter. It managed a static setup, producing HTML files. But creating and updating content and managing the layout of the site were all done by using HTML textarea boxes within the web app. Simple. No database. I used it on a free hosting site that only provided FTP access.

For this site, I created a small API-based app that takes Textile or Markdown markup and converts it into HTML. Currently, I'm creating markup files on the web server by using the Vim editor.

Anyway, the API app returns the information in JSON format. The client code inserts the JSON info into a template. For this site, my client app is a simple command prompt script that outputs HTML.

I may expand this into something where I can create and edit posts from the browser, which would still allow me to use "my" JavaScript editor, and I would be able to do all of this from the phone, like with my other publishing apps.

For search, I would try to employ DuckDuckGo.com.

I would try to use Nginx's caching system.

For tags, I would maintain tag pages. It would take more work, but this kind of design setup would force me to slow down and post when I truly have something to write about, instead of saving a bunch of links and providing quick mini notes at JotHut.com.

Basically, I have successfully designed JotHut to be so easy to use, that I use it too much, and I may be spending more time saving links and micro thoughts that I have not learning and making new things.

Sometimes, designing something that is "harder" to use is actually a better design. Example: new users adding comments at ToledoTalk.com versus a blog or forum that allows anyone to post a comment immediately.

At TT, I created a few barriers to entry for new users:

  • New user account requires a valid email address.
  • A new account starts as pending. The code emails an activation link to the address provided at sign-up.
  • A new user must click the activation link to change the account from pending to active.
  • A new user can now log into Toledo Talk.
  • But TT requires a new user to wait 48 hours to post a comment and 72 hours to start a new thread.

I implemented that last item in 2010, I think. And that last item did more than anything else that I tried over the years to slow down spammers, trolls, and drive-by flamers.

And at TT, non-locally-focused political threads are moved off the front page, but this forum can be accessed by visiting http://toledotalk.com/p

Even though non-locally-focused political threads are permitted at TT, that forum is rarely used because my design pattern has made the subject practically invisible, and therefore harder to use. I intentionally made it harder to post about political issues that were not unique to the Toledo area. I didn't probhit them though.

Barriers or "difficulty" can be good design patters. Making something super easy is not always good design.

I think that I need to apply the slow-food concept to my web posting. Spend more time creating fewer but hopefully better quality posts.

published: Fri, 26 Feb 2016 - 19:28:26 Z
at static article test site


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