I am disappointed in the way the web has been evolving. It is not that I dislike web video or social media sites like Facebook; I use and enjoy both. But the web is becoming a fragmented and less interesting place, increasingly a one-way conversation driven by the needs of advertisers packaging up small crumbs of user generated content rather than a forum for the exchange of more complex ideas.
There is a place for pithy wit and dank memes but I prefer the longer argument. I am making a stand! I am going to (re)start my blog!
Are you impressed yet?
What about if I mention a manifesto?
My manifesto, a collection of attributes that I think more webpages should have:
- Text based. This blog will be mainly documents, with minimal fancy-pants animations or distractions.
- Pleasant to read and uncluttered, without clashing or (worse) non-contrasting color schemes.
- No references to third-party servers. No Google Fonts or Facebook Like buttons that slow down page loads benefit these companies more than either the authors or readers.
- No external ads. I am not against advertising in general but the way advertising works on most websites is both dangerous and stupidly wasteful.
- Reasonably simple structure, relying only on the core html functionality. The days of hand-written html are more-or-less behind us but there is no reason to go overboard with divs and shadow-dom tricks for what could be written out long-hand on a piece of paper.
- HTTPS is desirable.
- Use new technologies where appropriate. HiDPI images, better web fonts, and easier layout methods are all widely supported and useful.
- Easy to administer without additional software. I used to run a small WordPress blog and while I generally enjoyed using WordPress, I found the interface cumbersome and the constant security patches trying.
This website tries to embody these principles as much as possible. Nice, simple html pages without clutter or distractions. On the server side, everything is just plain files generated by a python program from easy to author markdown source.
I will make the scripts available once I have finished adding features and this site will become a showcase and manual for their use. I don't claim that they will change the world but maybe someone else will find them useful.
For the general look-and-feel of the pages I decided on using the Tufte CSS project because I like the general philosophy behind itPlus I enjoy writing asides. My scripts are general enough to make changing the theme easy so I may change things up if I get bored.
All this is work in progress and I don't know exactly where this project will end up. I imagine it will be one of the hundreds of thousands of ignored projects on github. But the getting there is the fun part.