Toward an indie web(site)

Roadmap (ish—I’m not a PM) of changes to make this site more IndieWeb

Just merged a change to automate posting bookmarks / links to this site.

It’s long-neglected, so you may not know it, but this site has a Links section. I first mentioned the links section (and my excitement over it) in 2018, and kept up with it for… about three months. Which is fine, life happens.

But, the thing is, I hadn’t stopped reading—or even annotating—links, in all that time!

I just didn’t have an elegant way to make the link posts. I’d set up Netlify CMS, which helped a bit, but it still felt too friction-y to do smoothly from my phone, which is where I do much of my link reading.

A few months ago, though, I learned about Git scraping with GitHub Actions from Simon Willison. This unlocked a flurry of excitement in my brain, as I started to recognize the potential of GitHub Actions for automating updates to a git repository. At first, this meant building scrapers for data of interest, but it’s more recently grown into, “Oh wait, I can keep my beloved flat-file website while also posting to it more or less automatically.”

Today’s change is my first step in that direction.

You see, I’d been saving and annotating links in Pinboard since (and long before, really) that 2018 addition of my Links section. Now, links I save there (with the tag to-link) will be automatically cross-posted here. I can also add an annotation (notes I add in Pinboard remain private by default; it’s only content within a special wrapper that gets copied here).

Next up for this:

This is just one example toward a more IndieWeb site, which has long been the dream. (My first bookmark tagged indie-web in Pinboard was saved in 2017—it’s been on my mind for a while.)

Other related dreams / ideas:

GitHub Actions can help with the stitching, as today’s change shows. I’m also keen to explore IndieKit, which seems a helpful bridge.

Most important to me, though, is to keep the site as a flat file site—it’s the easiest to backup, move, rebuild, and so on. Long live flat files. Long life, too, to an indie-er web.