WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Medium, Ghost. Posthaven, Svbtle, Write.as, Telegra.ph.
Blogging. The most elegant and natural process of idea diffusion on the web—since its infancy. Started barebones; developed massively; evolving continuously.
I'm excited about the next step. Lately, in my social bubble of technology and startups, I notice a revisited focus to simplicity and minimalism. It's probably part of a constant cycle, regardless, now it exists. In addition to that, there is a much wider, across the world, appreciation for controlling one's data.
Towards expressing this second part, it's great if a blogging platform is open source. It's also a good idea for a blogging web citizen to control their web estate: the blog domain. One can do that with a lot of blog platforms. To account for simplicity and minimalism, though, the most unwasteful and efficient way to run one's blog is to serve static HTML. That is, to utilise a static site generator, rather than running a backend, a database, and all that entails. It's a much simpler, more efficient, more elegant, and significantly faster way of web existence.
Self hosted blogs
How to empower people to create their own self-hosted blog? There are some ideas. Drew instated the Make a blog initiative. Stavros made the Quick Site guide. My idea was mataroa.blog, a blogging platform that makes it easy to get off it.
There is a certain difficulty in starting to blog. It is inspiration that lights the fire, and inspiration is not on tap. I remember when I wanted to start a blog or write an article, I would dive into all the technicalities (re-styling, updating, refactoring, etc) and eventually not write anything.
Mataroa.blog is designed for when inspiration comes. This is the time to just write, focus on the essence and get the words out. When done writing, there is lots of uninspired time to think about the best way to design, rework, speed up your blog. Mataroa enables one to do that by having export as a first-class feature. One can export into simple markdown text files, or Zola sources, or Hugo sources with a single click. One can also set a redirect domain, so that their mataroa blog automatically redirects to a new blog home.
The greatest benefit of blogging platforms is that you can start writing immediately. No domain decisions, no servers, no coding. This comes at a cost, though: potential lock-in.
To account for this and the aforementioned need for simplicity, the features I'd like to see in an ideal blog platform are:
- absolutely no vendor lock-in
- it even helps you get off it
- open source
- focus on the essence
- follow open standards such as RSS
Mataroa.blog is designed with all these in mind.
But, actually, I don't want to sell mataroa to you; as much as I want to convince you on the merits of self-hosted personal blogs.
The foundational platform of the web—the web itself—is more democratic than any medium (wink) has ever been—at least until now.
Let's build directly on it without intermediate layers.
Addendum on hosting
During the last 10 years of massive web centralisation, there have been instances when the internet giants fall. AWS, Google, Cloudflare—bad days exist for them too.