03 February 2020
There is a movement to keep the web in the commons, where we each maintain our own little patch of the internet. I am working on this site to adopt these conventions.
When the Internet was reaching adolescence the Mosaic browser was released. At first we all had to create our web sites in HTML, which really was not a bad way to put together a website consisting of a few pages. I could write about almost anything that appealed to me at the time. My first site had around a dozen pages, it was served by a shared server that we put in the wiring closet at work.
The web advanced quickly after 1997. I went down the Java route, building websites with Java Server Pages, backed by a database to generate pages on the fly. Soon BlogSpot, now Blogger caught my attention. I did not have to maintain my own site and keep my theme up to date. Some of my friends were using PHP and Wordpress to publish on the web. Why not let someone else handle all of the day to day chores of running the infrastructure and just create content?
Some choices did not work out. My friends that chose GeoCities and other publishing platforms lost their content when the original company was sold and then shuttered. Today we have plenty of open source solutions for running a personal or group website. Hopefully we have the wisdom to avoid the convenience of Facebook, Instagram and other proprietary solutions, sometimes called the "walled gardens". I prefer to allow the edges of my garden to grow wild. Victorian walls are meant to keep some outside of the garden. We need something better for this garden, the soil is part of all of us.
IndieWeb really appeals to me. First by supporting homebrew groups. I started my computing journey in the hardware and software homebrew community. I am happy that the spirit is still alive. There is a lot to know to run your own web presence. Homebrew groups allow you to start out a little bit at a time.
IndieWeb is more than a group of people bringing new folks into the internet. You are part of the web, you can own and control the content that you provide to others. The only way that this is possible is to own the platform that is used to deliver your content. IndieWeb been creating standards for interacting with other people via markup standards and tools for communicating with each other in this digital ecosystem.
I personally use JBake which converts AsciiDoc and Markdown to HTML, using some formatting templates to produce the final HTML. I have found that HTML is great for computers, not so great for getting my thoughts into a document. I will also be adding ActivityPub features soon. Looks like I will be switching to Python for this effort. About time, I have been ignoring the powerhouse of Open Source for too long now.
Personal IndieAuth Server from Jamie Tanna. Links to his repository with example Java code.