Alright, so Tumblr.
I’ve been working on finding a new platform for my website. I’ve built the current one in Jekyll which I thought was very clever, because I could just use git to publish new articles (which I had intended to write frequently). The combined effort of remembering the header information jekyll uses to know where to organize your post into, writing things that weren’t walls-of-text in markdown, and pushing up a file, kept me from writing as regularly as I’d have wanted. When posting an article is like making a new page, each one feels like it needs to be complete, extensive, and worth the effort.
Sometimes I don’t have much to say, sometimes I’m not writing an entire treatise on rollover states. Who’s going to put in the time when the markup for the post is more for the content?
I like the design of the site, for the most part, but I just can’t quite figure out how I’d like to run it on the back end. Here’s what I want to be able to do:
1. Design the thing myself — This sounds weird, and it sounds like a pretty weak thing for a web developer to say, but dammit if I don’t hate taking apart Wordpress themes. I don’t even want to dedicate myself to really knowing one CMS because then you’re a “Wordpress Guy” or you’re a “Expression Engine Developer,” neither of which I’m interested in being.
2. IFTTT Integration — IFTTT is the greatest thing I’ve found on the internet in a while. On a developer level, it basically abstracts out how the APIs for most of the webs services work onto a UI level where the user can match them up to make them work with each other. Example, you can tweet your pinboard posts. Sure, you could sit down and write a little node thing that looks for recent pinboard posts and tweets them—each service has an easily understandable API, and it’s a simple enough thing to do, but IFTTT makes it like three steps, and has TONS of services. I dig it.
My dream for a website is a place I can curate resources I find online, from any variety of places, on any variety of topics. Right now I’ve got an internal thing going on with Pinboard and Evernote where I’m basically just stalked via my pins, tweets, reddit saved posts, instapaper saves, etc. Ubiquitous capture. Everything into my combined Evernote/Pinboard brain. Tagged, sorted, organized.
I’ve written a prototype that scrapes my Pinboard account, and looks for tags prefixed with a period, like .development, or .design. Those tags are turned into categories on a tabbed list on a page, and each list has the links tagged as such. The title I save the bookmark as becomes the name of the link, and I can write a little description that’ll get pulled into the website as well.
Relying on Pinboard’s infrastructure works in my favor particularly for capture, as there are plenty of ways between browser plugins and apps to add to that service. Best not to reinvent the wheel, right?
But writing content still sticks out as an issue. I want a rich text editor that I can drop images into without having to host each one individually. My intent is to write tutorials, and tutorials are undeniably better with photos and screenshots. I’d do video tutorials if I were any good at video editing, but alas.
For hosted images in a post, you need a database (unless you’re nuts), and now we’re in the land of services and CMSes. My options are as follows:
1. Write my own CMS in a language I’m familar with — I love RoR, and while I do know how to get things done in PHP, I feel like I’m using a Windows computer when I work in PHP. It’s just not exciting. I know there are RoR CMSes, none of them have the benefit of the IFTTT integration I want to use. Sure, I could just write in the functionality IFTTT gives me, since I said it was easy to do earlier, but it goes agains the spirit of the project.
3. A real CMS — Fine. Fine! Whatever. If I have to, I will, but I’m not happy about it.