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:
- figure out a way to encode the “via” data I sometimes add (see, e.g., a link from early 2021)
- re-template the Links section to elegantly handle links without annotations (and update the script to actually post those—currently they’re saved as
- fix up the Links section a bit, inspired by bookmarkers like Jeremy Keith, Andy Baio, Simon Willison, and more
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:
- tweets live here first, then get syndicated (POSSE-style) to Twitter (Paul Robert Lloyd is a good example)
- book data moves here from Goodreads
- photos move here from Instagram
- maybe I start sharing interesting walks (using fitness tracker data, ish)
- open this site to webmentions and so on
- finish last year’s move from Jekyll to Eleventy, for speedier builds (and a more sensible file structure)
- various other ideas tracked as
indie-webin my site’s repository
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.