This blog you’re reading right now exists since March 7, 2018. It is a hosted microblog on the micro.blog service run by Manton Reece. The service is a hybrid between blog (and podcast) hosting and a social network with a timeline. It launched on Kickstarter in January 2017 and opened doors later the same year. I supported the campaign with backer number #592.
I’ve blogged a bit, but I’m not a super active community member. Still, I enjoy listening to Micro Monday, the weekly podcast introducing people who blog on the site. Catching up on the two latest episodes this morning motivated me to write a bit about the history of my (micro)blog.
In my time online, I used to have a variety of different personal websites and blogs. Somehow I didn’t stick with most of it but started over a few times. Then, in 2012, a service called app.net was launched. It was what you could call a headless social network. The idea was that you had a centralized social graph and data storage, but you could use all sorts of apps and services to access it. It was an answer to the tendency of other social networks like Twitter restricting their APIs and driving people to their official apps. At the same time, I followed the IndieWeb movement, the idea of owning your content and primarily making it available on a domain name you control while also integrating with existing social networks. Eventually, I married both approaches and built an open-source software called phpADNSite. With phpADNSite, your content and interactions lived on app.net, but you could present them on your domain through a custom template. Your domain also connected app.net with the IndieWeb.
Unfortunately, app.net stopped further development in 2014. There was still an engaged community at the time trying to support the platform under the “ADNFuture” banner, but it didn’t help. In March 2017, the platform shut down for good. Luckily, I had already considered this scenario when building phpADNSite by implementing a backup feature that served my old app.net content as a static website after the shutdown. It just didn’t allow me to create and share anymore. So, for a while, I couldn’t publish new content.
Since I still liked the general idea of separating data storage and presentation, I considered a variety of different hosted DBaaS (database-as-a-service) or headless CMS (content management systems) as a replacement. Also, instead of a full application like phpADNSite, it could be served by a FaaS (function-as-a-service) serverless offering. In my mind, I dubbed this “cloud-native IndieWeb”. However, I couldn’t decide on one specific approach. I wanted to experiment with multiple, but I didn’t have the time. That’s when I concluded that, even though “selfdogfooding” is a central idea of the IndieWeb community, it didn’t make sense to have an outlet for writing the same place in which I would do coding experiments, as it made both activities dependent on each other.
One of the reasons why I signed up for the micro.blog crowdfunding in the first place was its unique, hybrid approach. It reminded me of my own. At the time of backing, I had no idea how I would use it. But eventually, I decided having a hosted blog on a service roughly following my ideals is a great approach. I don’t need to host my own and can still retain some control through my domain name.
I hope you enjoyed this little backstory of my blog, and I sincerely hope that I will find some more time to experiment more with IndieWeb technologies and the “cloud-native IndieWeb” approach.