HTML Blog White Paper

A proposal to get anyone up and running with a website they coded quickly and efficiently

📅 21 Dec 2021

Since I haven’t yet found the solution I am proposing, I figured I would put together a short white paper of sorts for helping anyone create a website from scratch.

So here goes.

The Problem

Not enough people are interested in FOSS, web freedom, privacy, and owning their own corner of the web. Tools and websites exist that sort of let you have your own website, but it doesn’t feel like it’s yours and a lot of it is cookie-cutter. Sure you can make style changes and mess with the underlying code if you really want to, but that’s viewed as unnecessarily complicated when you can just press a button.

My proposed solution

Create a handful of HTML templates with in-line styling people can download, alter, and push to netlify or a similar free static site hosting. Ideally these would be personal blogs only and the number of templates would be limited to 3-5.

This achieves several things.

  1. This is a website that you feel much more ownership over. I know this from first-hand experience. Sure, Netlify or something similar is still hosting and unless you pay them their name is still in your domain, but it gets you most of the way there.
  2. It encourages you to do more! I’m not sure anyone will be able to use one of these templates and not change anything. In fact, by design, you’ll have to change a few things, i.e. name, site title, etc. This will encourage growth and learning.
  3. This will continue the process of trying to save the web. This has been discussed ad naseaum so I won’t do it here. Increasingly however, the web is dominated by big players with content geared towards algorithms and attracting eyes instead of user experience and enjoyment. By having your own site one is fighting back against that trend.

Great documentation is a must. Almost anyone who wants to create a blog should be able to create one. Obviously there are some limitations to this but as close to anyone as possible.

This is not a perfect solution. While following a guide and using something like jekyll might theoretically be easier with someone with a little computer knowledge, they are not my target. And using jekyll requires a whole lot more than just coding up some html (ruby, other languages, mediocre terminal knowledge, etc.) My target is someone I can teach how to set up Github, Netlify, and then use them to push their site out to the world.

There is no guarantee that I will be able to see this project through to the end. It seems each day is busier and busier for me. But sometimes, just stumbling your way through a project, whether you finish it or not, is immensely fun and forces you to learn a lot.

I welcome feedback on this. Seriously. If you feel there is a better solution out there or someone has already done something similar, let me know. You can email me with feedback here or you can connect with me on Fosstodon.

Thanks for reading. Cheers!

Day 85: #100DaysToOffload

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